Sustainable financing is no fleeting trend, said Tarek El Nahas, Mashreq Bank’s Group Head of International Banking.
During an engaging conversation on the sidelines of the COP28 global conference in Dubai, El Nahas said sustainable financing is indeed a cornerstone for companies seeking responsible funding strategies demanded by investors and clients.
“This is not a passing trend. This is the financing of the future. This is what companies are looking for, their investors are expecting it, and their boards are expecting it. Their clients expect them to be able to raise financing in a responsible manner. And we are very excited to be part of that,” he said.
El Nahas said while bankable projects are abundant, the challenge lies in the pace of project development rather than the availability of funds. He pointed out the surprising opportunity and immense potential in financing traditionally non-green sectors, such as oil companies and steel plants, emphasising their capability to make substantial sustainability-driven changes. He cited Mashreq’s recent financing deals with the National Oil Company of Bahrain which raised $2.5 billion and the country’s largest steel plant as examples.
When discussing sustainable finance solutions, El Nahas stressed the significance of setting by companies, and Mashreq’s role in advising and incentivising them. He highlighted the importance of collaborative multi-bank deals and the transfer of knowledge within industries and countries as keys to expanding sustainability practices.
The conversation wrapped up with an optimistic outlook, with El Nahas highlighting the collaborative efforts amongst UAE banks to meet collective goals, pointing to a promising future for sustainable finance in the region.