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Dubai On Track To Become Leading Sustainable Financial Hub

Date 28/02/2021

  • Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group launches two guides for sustainable issuance and investment
  • Group’s Webinar discussed ESG landscape and opportunities
  • Arif Amiri: “Over 60% of DIFC clients now embracing ESG, impact investing, sustainable investing and sustainable issuance”
  • Hassan Al Serkal: “The DFM is steadfastly moving to become the region’s leading sustainable financial market by 2025” 
  • Hamed Ali: “Nasdaq Dubai is the most prominent exchange for green, sustainability and ESG issuances and listings”

The Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group has published two comprehensive guides as part of Dubai’s efforts to accelerate its leading position and expansion of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and sustainable finance in the UAE and wider region. The guides inform issuers and investors about best practices in the rapidly expanding ESG sector and the commercial opportunities it offers.

Launched at the Dubai Sustainable Finance Webinar, the Sustainable Issuance Guide details the steps involved in issuing ESG bonds, Sukuk, equities and other financial products, as well as outlining the need for companies to develop a sustainability strategy. The Sustainable Investing Guide highlights the increasing ESG opportunities for investors as companies and the financial markets pivot towards integrating sustainability into their mainstream activities.      

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority said: “DIFC and its clients lead the way on sustainable finance in the region and ESG principles are considered in over 60 per cent of their financing and business decisions. Our enabling platform sees bankers, advisors and professional services firms collaborating on preparing regional and global deals, as well as issuances that have sustainable principles at their core. Our vast community of over 200 wealth and asset management firms are also able changing the market for the better by offering investments that deliver social and environmental impacts as well as a financial return. Collectively, we are shaping the future of finance.”

Referring to the launch of the Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group’s guides, Arif Amiri commented: “Best practice is now being shared by our clients in the form of two guides which will stimulate further progress relating to sustainable finance and reinforcing Dubai’s position as the region’s most sustainable financial hub.”

Hassan Al Serkal, CEO of DFM said: “The DFM is steadfastly moving towards becoming the region’s leading sustainable financial market by 2025. We are collaborating with leading institutions and Dubai’s broader finance sector to promote best practices of ESG and sustainability. The various initiatives of the Working Group as well as the individual measures from the founding members are aligned with Dubai’s sustainability drive. We deeply believe that informative webinars and guides are pivotal to encourage issuers to embrace ESG and attract sustainable investments to Dubai.”

The growth in regional ESG issuance, listing and investment was covered, including the leadership role being played by Dubai-based entities. For instance, DFM and DIFC-owned Hawkamah corporate governance institute have helped to develop the S&P Hawkamah UAE ESG Index of 20 sustainable UAE-listed companies.

Dubai is also the region’s most favored venue for ESG issuance and listing. Commenting on this, Hamed Ali, CEO of Nasdaq Dubai and Deputy CEO of DFM said: “As the international exchange in the region, Nasdaq Dubai is the most prominent exchange for green, sustainability and ESG issuances and listings in this part of the world, totalling 7.75 billion US dollars from nine Sukuk and conventional bonds. We are striving to further advance our regulations and infrastructure to accommodate the growing demand from issuers and investors for ESG and sustainability-related issuances.”

Speakers at the conference included Emirates NBD and HSBC, who led the preparation of the Sustainable Investing Guide. Standard Chartered, Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Nasdaq Dubai developed the Sustainable Issuance Guide. The United Nations Global Compact, DP World, Franklin Templeton and Majid Al Futtaim Holding also participated in the event.

Topics discussed included the roadmap to issuance and listing, covering developing a sustainability framework, obtaining second party ESG verification and ongoing ESG reporting on use of proceeds. The potential for increasing capital flows into the region was discussed, including a July 2020 Core Data Research outlining that from 500 global institutional investors, 51% now fully integrate ESG into their investment approach, up from 36% at the end of 2019.

The Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group comprises Aramex, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, DIFC, Dubai Islamic Bank, DFM, DP World, Emirates NBD, Emirates National Oil Company, Hawkamah, HSBC, Majid Al Futtaim, Nasdaq Dubai, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered and Zurich.

Download the two Guides:

https://www.dfm.ae/docs/default-source/guides/issuancesustainable-guide_en_28.pdf?sfvrsn=ab665c81_0%20class

https://www.dfm.ae/docs/default-source/guides/updated_investing-_en_28-21_c.pdf?sfvrsn=f675c81_0%20class