Ethical Fiance ASEAN 2024: Our Finalised Agenda

We are delighted to share more detail on the themes that will be covered by our expert speakers, joining us virtually for Ethical Finance ASEAN 2024 on Wednesday 8th May 2024.

This year’s virtual Summit, delivered in partnership with the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers and UNEP FI, will evaluate the current position and urgent need for scaling up sustainable finance in the ASEAN region. Click here for further information and to register and read on to find out more about the topical themes we will be covering on the day.  

SCALING UP SUSTAINABLE FINANCE IN ASEAN

The opening keynote, entitled Scaling Sustainable Finance in ASEAN, will be delivered by Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof (Chairman, Energy Commission Malaysia). Tuan Rashdan will provide an overview of the current state of sustainable finance in the ASEAN region, highlighting some of the challenges and opportunities in scaling up sustainable finance in the region and outlining the role of financial institutions and regulators can play in promoting sustainable finance.

Aries Poon (Director, Head of Asia-Pacific Insights and Analysis, S&P Global Market Intelligence) will further set the scene by presenting an Economic Outlook for the ASEAN region.

FINANCING THE ENERGY TRANSITION

Christopher de Vere Walker (Head of Power, and Utilities at Carbon Tracker Initiative) will share some data and analysis on the extent to which the power sectors in Indonesia and Vietnam align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, highlighting the risks and opportunities associated with the transition.

The Financing the Energy Transition panel will then consider the progress made to unlock investment and mobilise the funding required to successfully transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. The panel will be moderated by Dame Susan Rice (Chair, GEFI) and feature Amanah Aboobucker, CB (Chief Sustainability Officer, AmBank Group), Muhammad Rizal Azmi (Assistant Vice President, Business Development and Sales, Carbon Market, Bursa Malaysia Berhad), Martijn Hoogerwerf (Head of Sustainable Finance APAC, ING), and Helga Birgden (Global Head of Responsible Investment, Partner, Mercer).

A SPOTLIGHT ON COP

UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, will provide a summary of finance-related outcomes from COP28 and outline what financial institutions in ASEAN can do to support the transition. This will be followed by a Fireside Chat between Sagarika Chatterjee (Department Director, Climate Finance, UN Climate Champions), Azreen Idayu Zainal (General Manager, Sustainability, Securities Commission Malaysia) and John Murton (Senior Advisor, Standard Chartered) who will look at the key COP28 outcomes for ASEAN  from a climate finance perspective and expectations for COP29 in Baku.

An update on UNEP FI’s initiatives will then be delivered by Membership and Regional Co-ordination Manager, Maria Eugenia Sosa Taborda.

SUPPORTING SMEs ON THEIR JOURNEY TO NET ZERO

The Fireside looking at Greening Finance and Developing SME Resilience will be moderated by Carl Chan (Director, Accuracy) and include perspectives from Nurul Syaheedah Jes Izman (COO, Pantas Climate Solutions), Moreen Joseph (Chief Sustainability Officer, UOBM, JC3), and Datin Dorph Peng, Deputy President (SME Association of Malaysia). The speakers will discuss the extent to which SMEs are incorporating ESG principles in their business operations and highlight some practical actions are being taken by regulators, financial institutions and data providers to support SMEs on their journey’s to net zero

BEST PRACTICE APPROACHES TO FINANCING NATURE

To set the scene, Nicole Kozlowski (Head of Engagement, Planet Tracker) will introduce Planet Tracker’s Nature Scorecard and shine a light on the performance of ASEAN corporates

The Unlocking Finance for Nature-Based Solutions panel will then reflect on the risks that nature and biodiversity loss pose to ASEAN economies, before hearing about global / ASEAN best practice approaches to investing in nature and the latest developments in measurement and reporting.  The panel will be moderated by Laura Canas da Costa (APAC Policy Lead, UNEP FI) with insights shared by Satya Tripathi (President, Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet),  Andy Turnbull (Senior Investment Manager, Natural Capital, Federated Hermes), Datuk Jeffri Abd Rasid (Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Forest Fund), and Jurgita Balaisyte (Vice President, APAC ESG & Climate Research, MSCI).

OPPORTUNITIES IN ISLAMIC FINANCE

We will have two deep dive fireside chats on Islamic finance. The first, entitled Moving from Halal to Tayyib, will hear from Omar Shaikh (Managing Director, GEFI), Shereen Osman (Senior Manager – Islamic Finance, PwC Middle East) and Salman Siddiqui (Investment Manager – Global Emerging Market Equities, Jupiter Asset Management) on the fast emerging Islamic sustainable finance movement.

This will be followed by a second fireside, involving in Stella Cox CBE (Managing Director, DDCAP Group), Shrey Kohli (Head of Debt Capital Markets, London Stock Exchange Group), and Raja Amir Shah Raja Azwa (CEO, HSBC Amanah), who will discuss the role of Green Sukuk for Climate Action. This will include an update on the International Capital Market Association’s practitioner guidelines on green and sustainable sukuk as announced at COP28.

The Summit will conclude with a Closing Keynote from Dr Zamir Iqbal (Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer, Islamic Development Bank), looking at the role Islamic finance can play to help drive green economic growth in the ASEAN region.

This summit promises to be an insightful and thought-provoking event that will delve into the most pressing sustainability challenges facing the ASEAN region and the world at large.


The SDG Hive at COP28: a platform for high-impact discussions

December 6th and 7th, GEFI hosted two full days of technical, insightful, inspiring SDG Hive sessions at the DIFC Academy in Dubai.

With over 500 engaged stakeholders joining us, we heard from high-level technical experts and practitioners on a range of topics including the Just Transition, Financial Inclusion, SDG Investing, and Green Finance Centres. Speakers included Lord Mayor of the City of London Michael Mainelli, former Assistant-Secretary General of the UN Satya Tripathi, Founders, CEOs, and CSOs.

 

Day One of the SDG Hive was opened the morning of December 6th with remarks from David Pitt-Watson, who welcomed participants and introduced Richard Mattison, Vice Chair of S&P Global. Richard set the tone with a memorable quote, “we cannot reach net zero without being nature-positive,” before introducing the 695th City of London and the first American to hold the post, Lord Mayor Michael Mainelli for an encouraging keynote.

The Financing the Just Transition session was comprised of two panels, starting with Transition Finance and Driving a Sustainable Economy in partnership with OMFIF. Emma McGarthy (OMFIF), Anita Wieja-Caruba (DFSA), Mona Naqvi (S&P Global), and Sanjeev Gupta (Africa Finance Corporation) delved into the challenges and opportunities for MDBs, policy maker, and the private sector in driving transition finance.

This was followed by The Energy Transition: Supply, Demand, and the Investor Perspective in partnership with CarbonTracker and PRI. Mark Campanale (CarbonTracker) led a discussion against the backdrop of an escalating climate crisis focused on the need to accelerate an energy transition, alongside Robert Spruijt (ING), Will Wollerton (Phoenix Group), and Rob Turner (PwC).

Dame Susan Rice then led a discussion on Climate Leadership: The Power of Leadership and Culture to Navigate Climate Change in partnership with CBI, DIFC Academy, and CISI. Simon Thompson (CBI), Peter Smith 9CISI), Jonas Persson (Lloyd’s Banking Group), and David Carlin (UNEP FI) shared insights into the unique challenges of leading organizations during times of transition and the lessons learned in innovating for the Just Transition.

In two parts, the Financing Nature session started with The Climate-Nature Nexus: Aligning Capital Markets with Planetary Boundaries in partnership with PlanetTracker. John Willis (PlanetTracker), James d’Ath (TNFD), and Imane Kabbaj (Man Group) had a lively debate on the data and guiding principles needed to meet industry-specific needs, while ensuring adaptability and reactivity to technological innovation.

The second part of this session, Nature and Biodiversity: Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in partnership with Mercer, balanced viewpoints of investors and practitioners as Omar Shaikh (GEFI) engaged with Kamal Bhatia (Principal Global Investors), Cara Williams (Mercer), Mike Vermeij (Safe Haven Solutions), and Muhammad El Demerdash (Engazaat).  

 

Day Two of the SDG Hive, December 7th, started off strong with a presentation by Sohail Zubairi (Islamic Finance Specialist) on The SDGs and Islamic Finance, followed by a panel on SDG Investing: Innovation and Opportunity in partnership with MSCI. Rumi Mahmood (MSCI) led David Tait (DFSA), Eva Cairns (abrdn), and Leon Kamhi (Federated Hermes) in an engaging discussion on the critical role of investment in financing a fairer future and meeting global climate goals. Kimberley Abbot (Vested Impact) closed with a focus on data, while centering the knowledge that these discussions are intrinsially about people.

Green Finance Centres: Empowering Financial Centres to Drive Sustainable Finance in partnership with WAIFC and TheCityUK brought together Mourad Fathallah (Casablanca Finance City), Hubertus Väth (Frankfurt Main Finance e.V.), Dr Soongoo Ahn (Busan Finance Centre), Hortense Mudenge (Kigali International Finance Centre), and Christian Kunz (Dubai International Finance Centre), in a session moderated by Chika Muorah (TheCityUK) to address the impacts of financial centres as catalysts for SDG alignment.

The afternoon session, Africa: Climate Resilience, Financial Inclusion, and Achieving the SDGs started off with Financial Inclusion: Long Term Solutions to Addressing Climate Challenges, with Sudeshna Raychaudhuri (PRI) joined by Modupe Ladipo (Prosperar Development Consulting), Dr Remi Abere (RoebiGlobal), Naveen Raza (HSBC), and Rachael Antwi (EcoBank) to explore the opportunities that exist within financial inclusion, particularly in building resilience and economic growth.

Following this was In Conversation with Satya Tripathi in partnership with GASP, wherein Randa Mounir (UNFCCC) and Satya Tripathi (GASP) delved into best practice approaches and innovations, as well as challegnes facing financial flows.

In Bridging the Divide: Chanelling Finance to Africa, Ben Scott (CarbonTracker) presented on the impact of internal combustion engine vehicles and electric vehicles in Africa, followed by a panel discussion led by Dr Erika Anderson (GEFI) with Imran Farooqui (NuQi Capital) and Boitumelo Sethlatswe (Standard Bank) on the unique investment opportunities and existing challenges of investing in Africa.


Highlights from Path to COP28 Unlocking Islamic Finance Summit

As COP28 arrived in Dubai, with all eyes on the Islamic finance industry. Interest-free, Shariah compliant finance remains a largely untapped pool of capital for sustainability. This event explored how the two value-driven forms of finance can be aligned through new standards and improved practices.

Shereen Osman, PwC, who anchored the summit welcomed delegates and introduced Dr Akram Laldin, International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) Consulting, who delivered a Quran recitation. Christian Kunz, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) then shared his welcome remarks on behalf of the DIFC. Omar Shaikh also welcomed delegates on behalf of UKIFC and GEFI. Finally, Baroness Vere who was recently appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary at His Majesty’s Treasury gave her opening remarks on behalf of the UK government where she underlined the importance of mobilizing all financial resources to achieve a sustainable transformation.

The Opening Keynotes were delivered by Dr Zamir Iqbal, Islamic Development Bank who spoke about unlocking Islamic finance to achieve COP28 objectives and Boby Hernawan, Ministry of Finance, Republic of Indonesia who evaluated the role of Islamic finance in supporting the climate transition in Indonesia.

The first session was a fireside chat on the State of the Industry – Letter or Spirit of the Law with Naveen Raza, HSBC, who discussed with Dr Iqbal Khan, Fajr Capital, whether the current state sufficiently address the needs of the people that Islamic finance is meant to serve ,and how the industry can successfully move from Halal to Tayyib.

This discussion set up the next panel discussion on Sustainable Islamic Finance Investing which gathered leading asset managers together to discuss moving from Halal to Tayyib. Muneer Khan, Simmons & Simmons moderated the session with Salman Siddiqui, Jupiter Asset Management, Shereen Osman, PwC, Christian Gueckel, SEDCO Capital, and David Sheasby, Martin Currie, covering how the Islamic finance industry has historically approached sustainability, and the key challenges in maintaining authenticity and credibility.

After 12 months of extensive research, the Secretariat for Tayyib Inspired was launched by Dame Susan Rice, GEFI, and Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, MIFC who called for the global ESG market to include the voice of Islamic finance, and pointed to the importance and opportunity for the global Islamic finance sector to positively engage with sustainability.

The Summit also saw the launch of the Global Taskforce for Islamic Finance and the SDGs’ Key Outputs Report by Mustafa Adil, London Stock Exchange Group, as well as the High-Level Working Group on Green and Sustainable Sukuk’s Financing a Sustainable Future Report by Chris Tait, UKIFC.

In this Regulator Fireside chat, Shrey Kohli, London Stock Exchange Group is joined by representatives from the regulators of two of the world’s largest Islamic finance markets, Sharifatul Hanizah, Securities Commission Malaysia and Basheer Ahmad, Dubai Financial Services Authority. The audience heard insights on how they understand and navigate the overlap, convergence of Islamic finance with mainstream green and sustainability frameworks, and whether Islamic finance should have its own approach to sustainability.

Sharing an update on Ummah For Earth Islamic Finance Work on Climate Urgency, Nouhad Awwad, Greenpeace, reminded the audience that despite not being the largest contributor, Muslim communities are among the most affected communities around the world.

David Testa, DDCAP, moderated the final panel on Green and Sustainable Islamic Finance Products, where he welcomed to the stage Charles Haresnape, Gatehouse Bank, Dr Mohamed Damak, S&P Global, and Rob Ansari, Mercer to share the key challenges in creating green and sustainable Islamic products, and the perceived lag of Islamic finance in the global sustainability movement.

In a fascinating final session of the summit, Debashis Dey, White & Case, was in conversation with Shariah Scholar, Dr Akram Laldin, ISRA, where he asked whether Shariah governance models sufficiently addressed climate and nature, and if Shariah scholars are sufficiently well versed on the science and technical components related to climate.

Rafe Haneef, MBSB delivered the summit’s Closing Keynote where he gave an honest reflection of how we got to where we have and what needs to change in both mindset as well as products to unlock Islamic finance for climate and sustainability.


Highlights from Path to COP28 Climate Finance Summit: Financing Survival

On Finance Day at COP28, GEFI was proud to convene over 300 delegates at its Path to COP28 Climate Finance Summit that took place in the DIFC Atrium on Monday 4th December 2023.

The summit was kicked off by Alya Al Zarouni, who welcomed delegates on behalf of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority, that earlier launched its Sustainable Finance Catalyst, a key part of the DIFC’s COP28 legacy that aims to grow sustainable finance flows from Dubai to $100 billion by 2030. GEFI’s Managing Director Omar Shaikh also welcomed delegates and reflected on the progress and success of the Path to COP28 campaign since its launch with the DIFC 14 months earlier.

Delegates heard powerful and inspiring Opening Keynotes from GEFI’s Chair, Dame Susan Rice on reframing the narrative toward financing our survival which was followed by Steven van Rijswijk, CEO of ING, Europe’s leading green bank who spoke about leading the transition by putting sustainability at the heart of banking. The final keynote was delivered by Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf who told an inspiring story of innovation, opportunity, and acknowledging the accomplishments and challenges of financing a just transition.

Jacinda Njike, Climate Champion Africa Finance Lead, moderated the opening panel on Transforming Finance at Pace and Scale, and was joined by Saker Nusseibeh, Federated Hermes, Sonja Gibbs, Institute of International Finance, and Mark Pieter de Boer, ING to discuss the current global outlook for climate finance and how institutions are steering financing towards Net Zero goals to expedite the energy transition.

The summit also included the aptly timed launch of Carbon Tracker Initiative’s updated report on Beyond Petrostates, which was presented by its Head of Oil, Gas and Mining, Mike Coffin who delivered a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of petrostates, highlighting the need for international support in diversifying economies. The findings and recommendations of the report were all the more important to comprehend in the turbulent negotiations that followed the summit.

Chris Hayward, City of London Corporation was joined by former Assistant Secretary-General of UN, Satya Tripathi and Lamia Merzouki, Casablanca Finance City, for a fireside chat on Climate Finance for the Global South, where they delved into the trust needed in the system to unlock the $100 billion annually towards developing countries and the extent to which green finance is scaling up within the global south.

The preceding presentation on Petrostates teed-up the penultimate panel on Advancing the Transition to Net Zero for Real Economy which saw London School of Economics’ Nick Robins moderate a discussion with Cara Williams, Mercer, Miles Celic, TheCityUK, Mona Naqvi, S&P Global, and Rasmus Bessing, PFA. Here, global institutions shared insights on investor actions to mitigate risks and seize opportunities associated with the climate transition, and what governments can do to provide long-term certainty for investors to help drive the net-zero transition.

The final panel of the summit focussed on Catalysing Finance for Climate Solutions where Accuracy’s David Chollet led a practical discussion with Naomi English, MSCI, Bruno Gardner, Phoenix Group, Eva Cairns, abrdn, and Maria Carvalho, NatWest. The audience heard perspectives from panellists representing different areas of the financial services sector on how innovative instruments can enhance risk-sharing through public-private partnerships and maximize the impact of scarce public funds, and what is being done to develop climate solutions to deploy capital across asset classes.

The summit’s Closing Keynote was delivered by Chartered Banker Institute’s CEO, Simon Thompson, who provided some thought-provoking remarks around engaging with all stakeholders and the importance of maintaining hope, which would be necessary for many later in the week.


New Tayyib Initiative Launches to Unlock $500 billion Opportunity for Islamic Finance

Dubai, 5th December 2023.

  1. The Islamic finance sector is valued at over $4 trillion and spans prominent financial hubs across the globe, including London, Luxembourg, Dublin, Istanbul, Dubai, Bahrain, and Kuala Lumpur
  2. Responsible investing is rapidly growing and is projected to surpass $30 trillion by 2026
  3. With over 1.6bn Muslims globally ensuring all voices are included in addressing the “S” in ESG enables a more considered and relevant solutions
  4. Initiative builds on the Shariah-compliant model of Islamic finance, to develop a Tayibb-inspired approach with enhanced ESG and sustainability considerations
  5. Tayyib Secretariat, involving global Islamic finance experts, will develop Tayyib-inspired investment principles, open up new markets and inspire new investment products
  6. Tayyib Secretariat will help align Islamic finance with conventional ESG and impact investing, providing a voice for Islamic for Islamic finance in the mainstream sustainable finance sector

A pioneering finance initiative inspired by the Islamic concept of “Tayyib” (pure, wholesome, and impactful) has launched today at GEFI’s Unlocking Islamic Finance Summit, hosted by the Dubai International Finance Centre.

The announcement of the Tayyib Secretariat comes at a time when the eyes of the world are focused on Dubai as it hosts the UN’s 28th annual climate summit, COP28. The initiative, an output of a 1-year market assessment commissioned by UKIFC and GEFI last year, is seeking to build on the Shariah-compliant model of Islamic finance, to develop a Tayibb-inspired approach with enhanced ESG and sustainability considerations.

Using the principles within the Maqasid al-Shariah (objectives of Shariah) and Qawaid (Islamic legal maxims), the Tayyib approach has the potential to offer a new best practice approach to responsible investing.

The Tayyib Secretariat is a global collaboration involving Malaysia, UAE and the UK, UAE. The Secretariat will be co-managed by the UKIFC and ISRA Consulting with DIFC the Host Financial Centre and PwC Dubai Technical Partner. An Advisory Panel (representing shariah scholars, multilateral bodies, and select industry developmental stakeholders) and an Industry Consultation Group will be established to support the Secretariat.

The Tayyib Secretariat will be focusing on:

  1. Developing a set of investment principles inspired by Tayyib across select asset classes
  2. Supporting Islamic asset managers to access global ESG liquidity pools
  3. Inspiring new innovative ESG linked, Tayyib-inspired products
  4. Aligning Islamic finance with conventional ESG and impact investing
  5. Providing a voice for Islamic for Islamic finance in the mainstream sustainable finance sector

At the launch, GEFI Global Steering Group Chair Dame Susan Rice said: “With global growth in sustainable finance, it is an opportune moment for the Tayyib concept and the beautiful principles it encapsulates to come to the fore in Islamic finance.”

Leading global scholar Dr. Mohamed Ali Elgari added “I have no doubts that Islamic principles can have a positive impact in the global transition to a more sustainable and equitable economy. I urge the Islamic finance industry to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead and to work collaboratively in the ESG finance space to create a more sustainable future for all.


DIFC Launches Programme with Global Ethical Finance Initiative Aligning with UAE’s COP28 Agenda

DIFC Launches Programme with Global Ethical Finance Initiative Aligning with UAE’s COP28 Agenda

  • Programme aligns with UAE and Dubai’s COP28 agenda
  • DIFC is host financial centre for 12-month path to COP28 programme, working with Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI)
  • DIFC and GEFI invite members of global finance community to join the programme

 Dubai, UAE; 24 October 2022: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced a year-long partnership with the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) taking place in Dubai.  COP28 will be held during November 2023 and see world leaders from the public and private sectors congregate to make progress on climate related matters.

With Dubai hosting COP28 and DIFC being a significant contributor to the sustainable economic growth of the Emirate, the Centre is leading by example and announcing their path to COP28 partnership just over 12 months before the event takes place.

DIFC and GEFI will drive change across the world’s financial industry relating to delivering Net Zero; unlocking Islamic Finance; financing nature and biodiversity; and financing the sustainable development goals. As host financial centre for GEFI’s Path to COP28 programme, DIFC will support a series of report launches, roundtables and community engagements during the next 12 months.

The partnership was launched at DIFC with a keynote presentation by Dame Susan Rice, one of the most influential women in banking, who Chairs the GEFI Global Steering Group. Dame Susan, the first woman to head a UK clearing bank, also Chairs the Financial Services Culture Board in the UK and enjoyed a seven-year term as a non-executive Director of the Bank of England.

Attendees also heard from the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) Secretary General, Dr. Abdelilah Belatik, and Fajr Capital’s CEO, Iqbal Khan.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority said: “DIFC and GEFI are delighted that the financial services sector is the first industry to launch a programme that aligns with the UAE government’s COP28 agenda. DIFC is perfectly placed to be host financial centre for the Path to COP28 programme given the progress we have already made and will continue to make on climate related matters with our clients. We are looking forward to working with the GEFI and senior members of the local, regional, and international finance community to embrace this initiative and truly make a difference.”

Omar Shaikh, Co-Founder and Managing Director of GEFI said: “Our Path to COP28 campaign seeks to encourage and support financial institutions in transitioning from commitment to actual implementation, measurement and reporting. The maturity and foresight of the UAE government and DIFC as a world-class financial centre is critical to encouraging the regional financial sector to ramp up its environmental awareness and commitment towards achieving the COP targets.”

The partnership aligns with DIFC’s Strategy 2030 and reflects its progress on driving Dubai’s reputation as the region’s leading sustainable financial hub. This is being achieved through its chairmanship of the Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group (DSFWG) which was established in 2019.

The Path to COP28 initiative also complements the recent launch of the DSFWG self-assessment tool for measuring the maturity of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies and practices in companies.

GEFI’s previous Path to COP26 campaign was supported by the City of London Corporation and brought together several signatories, including 20 financial institutions representing £2 trillion in assets, to drive finance for positive change at the Glasgow COP.

Members of the finance community can find out more about the Path to COP28 – and register their interest to be involved – on difc.ae.

Ends-

 

About Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and an estimated GDP of USD 8 trillion.

With a close to 20-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of almost 30,000 professionals working across over 4,000 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance through cutting-edge technology, innovation, and partnerships. Today, it is the global future of finance and innovation hub offering one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations.

For further information, please visit our website: difc.ae, or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @DIFC.

 

For media enquiries, please contact: 

Omar Nasro | ASDA’A BCW
+9714 450 7600
omar.nasro@bcw-global.com
www.asdaa-bcw.com | www.arabyouthsurvey.com

Rasha Mezher | Dubai International Financial Centre Authority
Consultant, Marketing & Corporate Communications
+97143622451
t-rasha.mezher@difc.ae


Ethical Finance Global 2022 - summit announced

We are delighted to formally announce the launch of Ethical Finance Global 2022, which will take place as an in-person event on 6th September 2022 in Edinburgh hosted by NatWest Group.

The summit is the premier event in ethical finance, and is themed 'ESG in a Volatile World: Profit, Principles or Politics'. It will tackle three core thematics: climate, nature and social. Confirmed speakers include Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, Sarah Breeden, Saker Nusseibeh and Anshula Kant. Click here to find out more.

Our in-person events offer a unique ability to forge connections, and over the years our Summits have built capacity, influenced policy, enabled deals, informed new products, driven framework commitments, helped deploy capital to the SDGs and developed lifelong friendships. If you have attended our flagship global Summit in the past, we would love to see you again in September; if not, then now is your chance!

As well as looking at macroeconomic issues impacting global markets, we will have specific sessions on topics including:

  • The growing impact of conflict and geopolitics in ESG
  • Core global challenges in financing climate adaptation and mitigation
  • The role of finance in protecting and restoring nature and biodiversity
  • The emergence of the S in ESG as a core priority
  • The role of financial leaders in defining organisational purpose
  • Financing the SDGs

Sign up now at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/ethical-finance-global-2022-esg-in-a-volatile-world-registration-349512941617?aff=blog, using the code 'EARLY20' for a 20% early bird discount.


The Data Dichotomy: Courage or Caution | Ethical Finance Round Table

Our next Ethical Finance Round Table event, entitled The Data Dichotomy: Courage or Caution, will take place on Tuesday 14 June 2022. It will explore developments in ESG data provision, its limitations and how asset managers are using data to inform long term investment decisions.

Our speakers will respond to some of the toughest questions facing the industry:

  • Is "we need better data" becoming an excuse for inaction from the industry?
  • Are ESG ratings fundamentally compromised by being at least partly based on subjective data?
  • How does the backwards-looking nature of data square with the long-term, forwards-looking view that responsible asset owners should take?
  • As disclosures become more widespread and data improves, is there pressure to avoid sectors or regions with poorer disclosures, even if they might deliver genuine impact?

Confirmed speakers are:

  • Graham Burnside, Co-Founder and Senior Advisor, GEFI (moderator)
  • Dr Richard Mattison, President of S&P Global Sustainable1 and CEO of S&P Global Trucost.
  • Hetal Patel, Head of Climate Investment Risk, Phoenix Group
  • Kate McGrath, ESG Analyst – Fixed Income, abrdn

Sign up now at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/1716527070480/WN_i9UjoXj0QZm6xbEczOhEKw.


Financing a Shared Future for All Life on Earth: the role of TNFD in a Global Biodiversity Framework - Biodiversity Day interview with Elizabeth Mrema, UN CPD & Lorna Slater MSP

Last week would have seen the crucial biodiversity summit COP15 take place, before it was delayed due to the pandemic. To mark both Biodiversity Day and the original date, and build moment before the rescheduled summit this Autumn, we hosted a discussion on Financing a Shared Future for All Life on Earth: the role of TNFD in a Global Biodiversity Framework.

We were joined by UN Convention on Biodiversity Executive Secretary & Taskforce for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) Co-chair Elizabeth Mrema and Scottish Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater MSP, to discuss why we need to finance nature, the Global Biodiversity Framework, how governments can help and what the Scottish Government is doing in this space.

Despite on-going efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide and this decline is projected to worsen with business-as-usual scenarios. This session, aimed at global finance practitioners, is intended to raise aware and inspire practical action in relation to the critical need to finance. It will provide an update on global and national initiatives to help drive the action required to finance a shared future for all life on earth.

With the forthcoming Global Biodiversity Framework, the Convention on Biological Diversity is setting the stage for a worldwide re-direction of financial flows away from nature-negative and towards nature-positive outcomes. Market players are speeding ahead with testing the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) beta framework, to make it ready to inform and respond to these new international norms around nature, nature-based solutions and finance. As part of the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation, we have committed to establishing a values-led, high-integrity market for responsible investment in natural capital.

GEFI has a long history of supporting finance for nature, from a programme of collaboration between UNDP, GEFI and the Scottish Government, to the COP26 launch of an exclusive, commercial platform showcasing financial products that are directly aligned to the SDGs, and nature-focused sessions at our annual summits and COP26.


Climate and Ukraine: how to respond to the war by investing in renewable energy

This article was contributed by Martina Menegat.

Red pill or blue pill? Climate or Peace? Since the war in Ukraine has started, we have behaved as though it was possible to choose, but we cannot: we must swallow both pills at once. Energy security and climate security are more deeply intertwined than is generally assumed. A swift transition to renewable energies has the potential to secure a more stable future for the world, at once reducing dependency on regimes accused of rights abuses and decarbonising the energy supply.

The Adaptability Report released by the IPCC in February 2022 found that rising global temperatures have already caused substantial and increasingly irreversible losses across the word. It warns that half of humanity is already at serious risk from climate change, and this risk increases with greater warming. The report was described by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres as ‘an atlas of human suffering’. The corresponding report on mitigation, published in April, highlights that there are 3 years left to act for keeping alive the goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C .

At the Economist Sustainability Summit, Secretary General Guterres warned that ‘the fallout from Russia’s war in Ukraine risks up ending global food and energy markets, with major implications for the global climate agenda. As major economies pursue an ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to replace Russian fossil fuels, short-term measures might create long-term fossil fuel dependence and close the window to 1.5°C’.

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of oil, gas and fossil fuels generally, meaning that this war can reshape the world’s energy systems. The EU, a key player in the current geopolitical deadlock, imports around 40 per cent of its natural gas, 25 per cent of its oil and almost 50 per cent of its coal from Russia. However, even if the EU drastically reduces fossil fuel imports from Russia, it should be able to get through the next winter without power outages.

Moreover, the need to bring a rapid end to many nations’ reliance on Russian energy supplies may encourage faster transition to decarbonisation in Europe and beyond, as countries across the world adopt what German finance minister Christian Lindner described as ‘freedom energy’. The case for a phased decline of fossil fuels in the energy mix, however, does not rest on science and geopolitics alone. As the IPCC report on mitigation indicates, renewable energies have never been so affordable. Solar, wind, green hydrogen and batteries enjoy steep and durable learning curves that already make them cheaper than fossil fuels in many sectors and uses.

The same fossil fuels that are funding the conflict are also bringing our planet to multiple tipping points. Currently, we are about to cross 4 out of 10 planetary boundaries, including that of climate change, with others at risk. The biosphere is the fundamental ground on which to build resilient societies and economies. The decisions due to be taken in the coming months represent the last call to accelerate ecological transition.

Focusing back on Ukraine, what can finance do? As the speakers at GEFI’s recent event Responding to the War in Ukraine: Ethical Finance at a time of a crisis emphasised, finance can most effectively support Ukraine by deploying financial resources to accelerate the clean energy transition. This historical moment is well-suited to break the narrative sustained by the fossil fuel industry: that transitions must be long and slow. Deprived fossil fuel profits, amounting to a daily €700 million just from Europe, Russia would lose substantial income to support its military.

To actively support Ukraine, we can act in two ways: as investors, and as consumers. As investors, we must back clean energies, while as consumers, we must change our energy consumption patterns.  Renewable energies are clean, cheap and local, and they have the power to ensure a fairer and more democratic future for all countries.