UAE financial sector reaffirms commitment to sustainability
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UAE financial sector reaffirms commitment to sustainability

UAE financial sector reaffirms commitment to sustainability

The round table discussion hosted by Century Financial showcased new sustainability initiatives and partnerships aimed at promoting investments

Sustainability roundtable Century Finacial

Century Financial said the UAE financial sector is committed to strengthening sustainability through the adoption of innovative and responsible business practices. The investment services company said through collaboration, the sector can drive positive change and create a more sustainable future.

“We believe that the financial sector has a critical role to play in addressing global sustainability challenges, and we look forward to exploring innovative solutions and strategies for driving change,” said Bal Krishen, chairman and CEO, of Century Financial.

Pressure is mounting on the Middle East finance sector to play its rightful role by innovating and deploying initiatives and partnerships aimed at achieving environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives as global efforts to tackle climate change gather momentum.

Ahead of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the UAE later this year, Century Financial hosted a high-powered round table discussion to explore how the region’s financial services sector can strengthen its commitment to sustainability.

The forum is part of Century Financials’ broader strategy to promote sustainability, address climate change and mainstream the key challenges facing the sector as it transitions to a low-carbon economy.

Some of the key takeaways from the roundtable include: Encouraging the adoption of ESG principles and incentivising companies, developing green financing mechanisms, supporting green startups by providing funding, mentorship and access to networks, encouraging sustainability education and training, forging partnerships with international organisations and fostering collaboration between stakeholders.

The financial services sector has a crucial role to play in creating responsible financial frameworks that enable a sustainable future.

“By integrating ESG considerations into their decision-making processes, financial institutions can contribute to the transition towards a low-carbon, sustainable economy,” Sameera Fernandes, director of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability at Century Financial said while noting that this is not only a moral imperative but a business opportunity.

Insights shared by some of the panelists

On his part, Raji Hattar, chief sustainability officer at Aramex said, “Investors are demanding more than just profits, they are seeking sustainable and responsible investments. ESG accountability is now a crucial aspect of investment evaluation, highlighting the increasing significance of ethical and environmental considerations. Clarity on ESG performance, benchmarking against peers, alignment with the ESG frameworks, improved stakeholder communication and risk management can help companies transition to a more sustainable business.”

Maali Khader, CEO of the Middle East Institute of Directors said “I think the financial sector is rigid and one of the first tasks is to migrate away from that rigidity and elevate focus towards impact. The financial sector should also look into their embedded emissions and how they are supporting and minimizing these emissions. They also have the responsibility to encourage green finance, green products and more”.

The round table discussion showcased the emergence of new initiatives and partnerships aimed at promoting sustainable investments.

UAE financial sector drives sustainability

In other news, the global financial sector has an important commitment to make in supporting ESG adoption across the supply chain by developing financial solutions that help businesses achieve their objectives.

Read: UAE’s Mashreq finances sustainable investments worth $15.5bn

Mashreq Bank financed sustainable and adaptation-linked investments worth $15.5bn since January 2021 as businesses and governments globally are increasingly recognizing that ESG risks and opportunities are fundamental to guarantee long-term success.

First Abu Dhabi Bank also facilitated more than $9bn worth of sustainable projects last year as part of its target to disburse $75bn by 2030. The Abu Dhabi-based bank revealed that more than half of its bond issuances in 2022 were in a ‘green’ format. It has also grown its range of sustainable accounts, loans and finance offerings to support customers to achieve their sustainability goals.

Read: UAE’s FAB facilitated over $9bn in sustainable projects in 2022

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