First Abu Dhabi Bank values $7bln financing for sustainable projects in 2022

Published on January 24, 2023

Shargiil Bashir, Chief Sustainability Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), said that the bank facilitated over AED25.7 billion (US$ 7 billion) for sustainable projects in 2022, noting that the bank has made significant progress by financing many projects across the energy supply, buildings, transportation, waste, water, and food sectors.

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Bashir said that the value of the facilities provided by the bank for sustainable projects exceeded AED128.5 billion (US$35 billion) between 2017 and 2021, highlighting FAB’s target of providing AED275.4 billion (US$75 billion) in green financing for the period 2022-2030.

In line with the bank’s commitment towards climate causes, he said that FAB has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

Bashir stated that the FAB recently worked alongside Etihad Airways as an environmental, social and governance (ESG) structuring bank for the first global sustainability linked loan in the aviation industry.

“We have created positive sustainable impact from many of the other projects that we have financed, including: 3 the solar projects where 1,989,000 tonnes of CO2 is being avoided every year; 7 green buildings we financed have 2 pearl design ratings; and a wastewater plant we financed treats of 430,000 m3 of wastewater a day,” he noted.

Bashir pointed out the bank’s strong contribution to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week as the largest bank in the UAE and one of the most famous institutional entities in Abu Dhabi, noting that the bank is considered one of the pioneers of sustainability in the banking sector as it isthe first bank in the UAE to commit to net-zero by 2050 and the first GCC bank to join the Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA).

Throughout the week, he elaborated, FAB delegates participated in a number of high-profile panels exploring major themes in sustainable solutions as the bank is considered a catalyst in the UAE’s climate objectives due to the depth of its engagement with the national economy across diverse industries.

The Chief Sustainability Officer at FAB stressed that the bank has worked over the past years to consolidate its position as a regional leader in the sustainable financing sector, accumulating in the first green bonds issuance in the MENA region in 2017.

He continued, “FAB has been making significant progress in green bonds issuance. This year, we executed around half of our bond issuance in a green format (US$1.5 billion), including three public benchmark transactions: €500 million five-year, the first-ever green issuance in euros from MENA region; CHF (Swiss Franc) 200 million four-year, where FAB remains the only issuer from MENA with green CHF outstanding, and US$700m five-year, the largest-ever green issuance from a MENA bank.”

Bashir affirmed that the First Abu Dhabi Bank is committed to following the international framework of UN convened Net Zero Banking Alliance (NZBA) by focusing on decarbonisation through science. “When we joined NZBA we committed to aligning our lending and investment portfolios with net-zero emissions by 2050.”

The Chief Sustainability Officer at FAB said that the bank views the UAE as the perfect staging ground for the COP28 Climate Summit in 2023, because of the country’s excellent relationships connecting East and West, and its experience as a global convener of choice for urgent international dialogues.

Shargiil Bashir explained that the UAE’s solar energy initiatives have consistently set new benchmarks for the affordability of renewables, while Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and the World Future Energy Summit are driving international conversations on urgent climate and other environmental challenges.

“As the first country in the region to commit to a net-zero pathway, the UAE is developing a comprehensive roadmap to enable its businesses and government entities to transition to a carbon-neutral economy,” he concluded.

Source: Khoder Nashar, WAM (Emirates News Agency)