Dubai: UAE's largest bank First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and telecom-tech giant e& set new targets toward environmental sustainability on Tuesday, pledging these renewed commitments on the sidelines of the UN's COP28 climate summit.
While e& reaffirmed its commitment to achieving zero carbon emissions across its own operations in all markets by 2040, FAB pledged that it will lend, invest, and facilitate over Dh500 billion ($135 billion) in sustainable and transition financing by 2030.
The new target, an 80 per cent increase over FAB’s 2021 commitment of Dh275.4 billion ($75 billion), represents the largest sustainable finance commitment made by any MENA bank to date. This commitment represents over half of the combined pledge of Dh1 trillion ($270 billion) made by UAE banks towards sustainable finance on Monday. Mashreq’s committed to facilitating Dh110 billion in sustainable finance by 2030.
80 per cent increase over 2021 commitment
Meanwhile, the new commitments of e& builds on the company’s previous commitment to be net zero across its own operations in the UAE by 2030. e& said it "remains committed" to net zero emissions in entirety by 2050, reducing the group's "total emissions in absolute terms and mitigating the remaining emissions through high-quality carbon offsetting."
Since announcing its commitment at COP27, e& said it has made "remarkable" progress in reducing emissions across its own operations through measures such as increased use of renewable energy sources and deployment of the latest generation of energy-efficient radio equipment. "As a result of this progress, e& is on track to achieve its 2030 targets ahead of schedule," it added.
Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, e&, said: “Our strategy is multi-faceted: improving energy efficiency, investing in renewable energy, minimising grid waste and promoting responsible procurement. In addition, our Sustainability as a Service initiative enables businesses to minimise their environmental impact, underlining our role as a catalyst in the global sustainability efforts.”
Deploying finance, advisory, and innovation
Hana Al Rostamani, Group Chief Executive Officer of FAB, said, "We mirror its desire to accomplish the unprecedented and unlock 80 per cent more resources for transition finance. Our new target is a floor and not a ceiling. From now until the end of this decade, we will deliver meaningful impact by deploying finance, advisory, and innovation at scale to ensure we meet climate ambitions across the region."
Since 2021, it has facilitated over Dh100 billion ($27 billion) as of September-end 2023 in sustainable projects towards renewable energy, clean transportation, green buildings and social projects. FAB’s expanded portfolio will include transition financing – a vital component for heavy, extractive, and other hard-to-abate industries – in addition to purely green financing.
The bank will also include early-stage innovative solutions to climate change such as hydrogen. FAB’s sustainable finance projects since 2021 are diversified across geographies, with 57 per cent in the UAE, 21 per cent in Saudi Arabia, 11 per cent in Singapore, 5 per cent in Bahrain, and the remainder in Europe, the Americas and South Asia. Over 86 per cent has been disbursed through conventional financing; and 14 per cent via Islamic financing.