UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda Mahmoud Mohieldin. Photo courtesy of Mohieldin media office
Mohieldin, who is also the UN climate change high level champion for Egypt, mentioned that ESG has gained more attention in the Arab world with Egypt and the UAE’s hosting of the 27th and 28th UN climate change conferences (COP27 and COP28), respectively.
Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have made great strides to establish strong and clear ESG standards, he added.
The UN envoy made his remarks on Wednesday during a roundtable discussion on ESG and the use of financial instruments to accelerate SDGs.
The roundtable was organized by the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) in partnership with the Ministry of Sustainable Development. It was also attended by a number of officials and representatives of banks and financial institutions.
Mohieldin highlighted the importance of establishing clear ESG standards and regulatory codes given their importance in driving economic growth, improving social conditions, and implementing environmental and climate action.
In this regard, Mohieldin highlighted the importance of a report issued by UN experts at COP27 in November establishing clear ESG standards to reduce green washing.
He also referred to the standards and regulatory codes issued by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) during COP27, as well as the standards approved by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) that regulate more than 95 percent of world financial markets.
Mohieldin stated that the role of corporations and the business sector remains controversial given uncertainty over whether their main goal is to achieve profit or contribute to environmental and social action.
He explained that the two goals are not mutually exclusive as their environmental and social action helps maximize profits.
He also stressed that corporate environmental practices should not just be limited to emissions reductions, but should bring together all aspects of environmental and climate action, including adaptation and dealing with loss and damage resulting from climate change.