Home » ESG Mena at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week – Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum

ESG Mena at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week – Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum

by Mohammad Ghazal

This year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum (ADSFF), organised by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), is in its fifth edition, and focused on charting the path towards COP28. Attended by approximately 1000 attendees, including speakers and participants, it brought together global institutional investors, government leaders, regulators, and financial institutions for various sessions and panel discussions to explore everything from carbon credits to the role of banks in financing net zero efforts and initiatives.

One of the highlights of the event was the session on the Green Falcon Economy by Issam Abousleiman, GCC Director, World Bank, which discussed the ‘Green Growth Strategy’ in the GCC. The forum also saw 37 new signatories to ADGM’s Sustainable Finance Declaration, while Masdar announced its intention to issue its first-ever green bond in 2023. Further to this, the UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority announced that it was in talks with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and other stakeholders to develop a carbon-trading mechanism.

Speaking about the event, Emmanuel Givanakis, CEO of ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) at ADGM said: “The fifth edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum is a vital step in 2023 as we align our strategies with the goals of COP28 to be held in the UAE this year. It is an ideal platform to gather both regional and global industry experts and thought leaders to pave the path leading to COP28, helping to unleash the trillions of dollars in private finance that are needed to power us towards net zero by the middle of the century.”

ESG Mena attended the event on the ground and had the opportunity to speak with a number of influential figures from the finance arena to gain insight into the evolving state of sustainable finance.

Expansion plans announced for Aspiration

Aspiration, a climate action fin-tech company, announced its expansion plans at the event. The company, backed by Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr and Oaktree Capital Management, outlined that it is setting up offices at Abu Dhabi Global Markets.

It shared that it aims to serve as a sustainability partner for the UAE ahead of Abu Dhabi hosting COP28 this November.

GCC banks’ support of the energy transition market and the private sector’s role

In one of the panel discussions at ADSFF, Zoe Knight, Group Head, HSBC Centre for Sustainable Finance, and Climate Change, MENAT, HSBC, outlined that banks in the GCC region must prioritise having the right assessments of climate risk and ensure that they are listening to client’s energy transition needs. Further to this, she emphasised the importance of sharing knowledge and having open discussions with other regions to ensure that we collectively succeed in financing energy transition.

Elsewhere, at another panel discussion titled ‘Unleashing Private-Sector Investment in Energy Transition’ that took place on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023, the importance of private sector involvement to sustain the UAE’s $43bn investment in clean energy was highlighted.

ESG Mena in conversation with Shargiil Bashir EVP & Chief Sustainability Officer, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)

ESG Mena’s Chief Editor, Fozia Yassmina met with Shargiil Bashir EVP & Chief Sustainability Officer, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) to learn more about the bank’s stance on sustainability and the increasing focus on this within finance. Bashir explained that in the MENA region, banks are increasingly understanding the importance of ESG and sustainability and that all entities need to take responsibility when it comes to mitigating climate change.

Further to this, Bashir said that banks and the wider financial industry are now looking at how they can support clients, partners and stakeholders. Likewise, with regard to the current barriers preventing the wider implementation of ESG practices, he outlined that more awareness about sustainability and its importance is required. He also said that talent is a key issue, and that more people with sustainability expertise are highly in demand. Finally, he explained that it’s important that companies understand their own journey toward decarbonisation.

That said, Bashir said we need to change the narrative and view these challenges as opportunities. With such a huge reallocation of capital ($3 – 5 trillion) required to mitigate climate change, he said there is a lot of room for innovation. Bashir praised the UAE and its leadership for the way it has reframed such challenges as opportunities and focusing on action. This, he said, needs to be replicated on a global scale.

When discussing the unified laws on ESG, Bashir welcomed the announcement, stating that regulation is important, and that a level playing field is required, where everyone is making decisions based on the same guidelines. Further to this, he emphasised the importance of global alignment on regulation and applauded the efforts of the UAE’s SCA with regard to mandatory ESG disclosure for listed companies and said that more of that would be beneficial.

Stay tuned for more ESG Mena ADSW coverage 

ESG Mena’s attendance at this year’s Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum (ADSFF) saw the team involved in a day full of productive discussions and insights from finance leaders and sustainability innovators. However, our coverage of ADSW will continue, and if you’re interested in hearing more from those pathing the path to a more sustainable future, make sure to tune in.

Some of our upcoming interviews include our conversation with Emmanuel Givanakis, the Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and Mercedes Vela Monserrate, Head of Sustainable Finance, at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

You may also like  | About Us | Careers | Privacy & Policy

 © 2024 ESG Mena