Collaboration between public and private sector entities is crucial if the adoption of sustainable finance is to accelerate, attendees of the first in-person WiSER Wisdom Series heard.
Hosted by the Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) platform at the Women’s Pavilion Majlis at Dubai Expo 2020, panelists for the session on ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing and the future of business were: Mercedes Vela Monserrate – Head of Sustainable Finance at ADGM, Belinda Scott, VP ESG Advisory at First Abu Dhabi Bank, and Michael Bueker, SVP Finance at Siemens Middle East Energy. Moderator was Hanan Saif Al Yafei, Senior Advisor, Responsible Investing team at Mubadala.
Mercedes said “we need to have a gold standard that will allow for a level playing field but taking into account the specificities of each region.”
She noted the High Level Statement on sustainable finance by UAE regulators at COP26 to advance the UAE’s net zero goals, which included a commitment to encouraging consistent ESG corporate disclosure standards across the country.
The panelists said the social aspect of ESG was as equally important as the environmental aspect. Michael said that diversity and inclusion was a big part of Siemens Middle East Energy’s ESG strategy. The company, he said, was committed to having women making up at least 25 percent of senior leadership positions by 2025 and 30 percent by 2030, and this is “being measured and highly focused by all of us.”
“We live in a world that’s interconnected,” added Mercedes. “So if you want to have a robust business, then you want to make sure the people around the table are diverse.” Belinda said it was more important for businesses to “set a purpose for what they want to achieve” rather than obsessing over their ESG rankings at any given time.
She said: “I’m happy to say that’s one of the things we’re trying to do at FAB, and the bank has set that purpose of what we want to be as a bank in the future and how we’re going to get there.”
WiSER is supported by Principal Partner Abu Dhabi Global Market.