2023 will be a Crucial Year for UAE, as we Move Closer Towards COP28: H.E. Mariam Almheiri

2023 will be a Crucial Year for UAE, as we Move Closer Towards COP28: H.E. Mariam Almheiri

Discussions highlight opportunities for companies in the UAE to introduce ESG frameworks to improve overall financial performance

Today, Mashreq hosted The ESG Impact on Modern Supply Chains, an inaugural MEED-Mashreq Business Leaders Forum that seeks to build insights around the role of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles and its practical application within supply chains.

Through in-depth discussions, the invite-only forum served as a platform for business leaders, investors, and regulators to define innovative ways to improve the sustainability of their supply chains.

The event identified the opportunities for companies in the UAE and the wider region to introduce an ESG framework and adopt practical measures to improve the overall financial performance of their business – and more specifically their supply chains – in order to meet the evolving demands of their customers, investors and policymakers.

The forum included the presence of H.E. Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment in the UAE, as well as senior industry leaders in the regional ESG and supply chain finance space.

Mashreq Bank Increases Amount of Sustainable Financing to $30 billion

The speakers were from Global Compact Network UAE, DP World, ADNOC, Apparel Group, Emirates Global Aluminium (EGA), Landmark Group, GMG, Aecom, Schneider Electric, Deloitte, Tetra Pak, BEEAH, Dubai Chambers, Majid Al Futtaim and UN Women/Impactiv ME.

Governments, businesses, and investors in the UAE and across the world are progressively turning to business models that are not just profitable but also sustainable in the long run. Actionable change is no longer limited to a business’ own operations.

It now applies to entire supply chains and is shaping the way in which organisations are perceived by their consumers. This shift is now more apparent and necessary than ever as issues such as climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequality come to the fore.

Facilitating this narrative, the forum explored the role of organisations in laying the groundwork and introducing structural changes to support growth in a greener and more socially responsible world.

In her welcome note, Her Excellency said: “I would like to thank the Mashreq team for the invitation to address the delegates at this forum and contribute to the much-needed conversation on ESG and its role in the UAE’s plans for the nation’s future.

"2023 will be an exciting and crucial year for the UAE, especially as we move closer towards COP28, which will be a historical event for our country and the wider Middle East. As the host country of COP28, the UAE has got two pivotal responsibilities to exercise this year.

"First, we must welcome the 197 attending countries and bring them together to address the real threat of climate change, bringing consensus and defining firm actions and next steps to accelerate progress towards the world’s Net Zero climate goals.

"Second, as a member of the Paris Agreement, we must ensure that the UAE is making substantial efforts to realise its commitments as a signatory. These efforts are not a one Ministry role, but rather a whole country-led quest that all UAE citizens must contribute to.

“As the main principle behind Net Zero, we must see ESG as more than good intentions. Successful ESG implementation must look at creating tangible, practical plans that achieve real results by embedding the ESG principles across sectors, industries and businesses - from investment to sustainable innovation.

"In this context, stimulating the debate around ESG becomes a top priority that will enable businesses to tackle the biggest challenges of today, and seize the best opportunities of tomorrow.”

Ahmed Abdelaal, Group CEO, Mashreq, added: “Advancing the conversation around ESG and the role of the financial sector in supporting its implementation across the supply chain is an integral part of moving the needle on climate and social action.

"Particularly in the context of the Year of Sustainability and the upcoming COP28 taking place in the UAE later this year, these efforts are also fully aligned with the UAE’s sustainability agenda.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Her Excellency Mariam Bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri for her attendance today in her role as Minister of Climate Change and Environment and for contributing to this platform by sharing her remarkable insights into this issue.

"At Mashreq, we will continue to stimulate the debate around ESG in business and the supply chain as a leading voice in this space and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future.”

Between January 2021 and December 2022, Mashreq has facilitated $15.5 billion of sustainable finance and adaptation-related investments including wastewater treatment projects worth a further $1.36 billion dollars, making the bank a regional leader in sustainable financing.

Mashreq aims to significantly increase the amount of sustainable finance that it facilitates to reach $30 billion by 2030.

Additionally, Mashreq is also working towards expanding its range of ESG-linked Supply Chain Finance products and services to help its clients adopt responsible supply chain and sustainable procurement practices that support their ESG goals.

Read More: UAE Circular Economy Council Discusses COP28

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