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Southeast Asia’s Green Economy 2023 Report

Southeast Asia has a critical role to play in global climate as regional leaders seek to balance the competing tensions of economic growth, rising primary energy demand, a just transition, and climate action at scale. While regional attention and commitments are on the rise, greater action is necessary to ensure the region achieves its goal of reducing emissions by approximately 33% by 2030.

Written in collaboration with

Written in collaboration with


The past years have witnessed a significant rise in climate commitments. Four governments have strengthened their climate targets, and seven are now considering implementing carbon pricing mechanisms. Leading corporations in Southeast Asia are setting science-based targets and collaborating across value chains to pave the way for a future green economy. Furthermore, bilateral agreements and emerging infrastructure are establishing the initial foundations for globally and regionally aligned carbon markets, aiming to protect and restore the region's ecosystems.

However, despite the efforts of governments, corporations, and investors to reinforce their climate commitments, it has not been sufficient to keep Southeast Asia on track. Achieving its reduction targets will require over $1.5 trillion in cumulative investment by 2030 versus the mere $5.2 billion in green capital flows observed in 2022. Although investment commitments have increased, actual deployment of green capital has declined by 7% since 2021. Investors highlight multiple challenges, from high capital costs to constraints on market access, as well as insufficient investment returns and uncertainty about policy direction.

The region has abundant technical potential to scale renewable energy to better meet its rapidly growing energy demand, but this potential is not evenly distributed. Governments need to both accelerate development of local markets and upgrade grids and collaborate across Southeast Asia countries to connect power demand and investment in capacity. In tandem, Southeast Asia needs to expedite its efforts to make the protection and restoration of nature economically competitive with exploitation and use market-based measures to put a price on nature and its carbon potential.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the state of the Southeast Asia green economy. It delves into the key challenges and proposes mechanisms to accelerate climate progress in two crucial areas on the road to delivering 2030 ambitions: energy and nature.

To fulfill its commitments, Southeast Asia must focus on four priority actions:

  1. Develop comprehensive plans at both industry and national levels.
  2. Scale up proven solutions while investing in future-oriented approaches.
  3. Optimize the use of capital for high-impact solutions.
  4. Recognize that collaboration among Southeast Asia countries is vital for delivering effective solutions.

The potential rewards are immense. Taking action today can pave the way for a green future in Southeast Asia, attracting over $2 trillion in new investments, ensuring that over a quarter of energy comes from renewables, achieving 100% access to electricity, and creating over 5 million new jobs.

About Temasek

Temasek is a global investment company with a net portfolio value of S$382 billion (US$287b) as at 31 March 2023.  Its Purpose “So Every Generation Prospers” guides it to make a difference for today’s and future generations.  As an active investor, forward looking institution and trusted steward, it is committed to deliver sustainable value over the long term. Temasek has overall corporate credit ratings of Aaa/AAA by rating agencies Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings respectively.  Headquartered in Singapore, it has 13 offices in 9 countries around the world: Beijing, Hanoi, Mumbai, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Singapore in Asia; and London, Brussels, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Mexico City outside Asia.  

About GenZero

GenZero is an investment platform company focused on accelerating decarbonisation globally. Founded by Temasek, we seek to deliver positive climate impact alongside long-term sustainable financial returns by investing in opportunities with the potential to be nurtured into impactful and scalable solutions. Driven by a common purpose to decarbonise for future generations, we recognise the need for a holistic and integrated approach to achieve a net zero world. At GenZero, we adopt a flexible investment approach across three focus areas to drive climate impact: (i) nature-based solutions that help protect and restore our natural ecosystems while benefiting local communities and biodiversity; (ii) technology-based solutions that deliver deep decarbonisation impact; and (iii) carbon ecosystem enablers which refer to companies and solutions that support the development of an effective, efficient, and credible carbon ecosystem. For more information on GenZero, visit www.genzero.co. 

About Amazon Web Services

Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud. AWS has been continually expanding its services to support virtually any workload, and it now has more than 200 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 99 Availability Zones within 31 geographic regions, with announced plans for 15 more Availability Zones and five more AWS Regions in Canada, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Thailand. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.


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