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Ethical Banking Middle East & Africa

Catalysing Sustainable Finance: Emirates NBD Vision for a Greener Future

Emirates NBD, a banking group in the MENAT (Middle East, North Africa, and Türkiye) region, is taking significant steps towards sustainability. In preparation for COP28, the bank has unveiled a comprehensive sustainability strategy that encompasses multiple initiatives aimed at fostering sustainability across the region.

Central to this strategy is the introduction of Emirates NBD’s Sustainable Finance Framework. This framework empowers the issuance of green and sustainable debt instruments, with the goal of financing projects that drive the transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. It also facilitates the issuance of social debt instruments that have a positive societal impact.

Notably, Emirates NBD’s sustainability initiative extends to its affiliated entities, including Emirates NBD, Emirates Islamic, DenizBank and Emirates NBD Asset Management. This commitment is bolstered by support from sustainability structuring banks, HSBC and ING, underscoring the bank’s dedication to innovative sustainable finance solutions.

The move aligns seamlessly with Emirates NBD’s overarching ambition to encourage lending and investments in assets that have a positive environmental and social impact.

Enhanced transparency

“This Framework empowers Emirates NBD and our customers to help deliver the UAE’s journey to Net Zero emissions by 2050 and meet the ambitious interim reduction targets,” said Shayne Nelson, group CEO at Emirates NBD.

Vijay Bains, group chief sustainability officer and group head of ESG at Emirates NBD, also commented: “Our Framework will ease access to ESG labelled finance in alignment with COP28’s pledge to unleash finance for climate change. By issuing sustainable finance instruments including bonds, sukuk and other debt instruments, we will provide enhanced transparency around funded projects and assets that carry environmental and social benefits.”

Emirates NBD’s sustainability strategy is firmly anchored in global and national frameworks, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UAE’s Vision 2030, and the United Nations Environmental Programme Dubai Declaration for Sustainable Finance.

The bank has actively participated in sustainability reporting since 2016 and recently reaffirmed its commitment to the UAE’s decarbonisation efforts by signing the UAE Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge. Notably, the Framework has also received a Second Party Opinion (SPO) from ISS Corporate Solutions (ISS), further attesting to its sustainability credentials.

Sustainable accelerator

In addition to the Sustainable Finance Framework, Emirates NBD has unveiled a sustainability-themed accelerator programme, strategically timed with the lead-up to COP28. Supported by Microsoft, the programme invites leading global green fintechs to collaborate on innovative sustainability-focused financing solutions.

The SustainTech Accelerator Program’s primary objective is to drive advancements in sustainability goals for all parties involved.

Open for applications from 6 September to 10 October 2023, the accelerator will actively support green fintechs in developing solutions as well as tools that can enhance Emirates NBD’s sustainability performance.

These solutions encompass access to accurate, reliable, standardised, and consistent data, dependable indicators for quantifying contributions and tracking progress toward sustainable development, advanced risk management tools, strategies for transitioning legacy systems and products toward sustainability, tools for navigating the complex regulatory landscape, and independent verification and certification services to bolster the credibility and integrity of sustainability claims.

Bains also commented: “We understand that being environmentally conscious is a powerful force in reshaping the financial landscape. Through programs like these, combining innovation with responsibility, we strongly believe that with each improved process and service offered, we can better the lives of our people, customers and communities.”


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