National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) took a pioneering step by organizing a workshop, the first of its kind in Kuwait, inviting diverse media outlets and newspapers. The focus was on showcasing ESG initiatives, along with discussions on strategies to promote awareness about sustainability and climate change concerns.
Dr. Ehab Shalaby, Chairman and CEO of DCarbon Global, a renowned expert in the field, delivered a lecture during the workshop conducted at NBK’s headquarters.
Journalists from diverse media platforms participated in the workshop, which delved into wide-ranging subjects such as the significance of environmental and social investment and financing to the hurdles in governance and reporting concerning environmental and social issues. Additionally, it delved into the journalists’ role in advocating awareness about sustainability issues and climate change. The presentations within the workshop encompassed various themes, including comprehending ESG principles and their influence on companies and investors, pinpointing significant environmental, social, and governance trends and challenges within the Kuwaiti market and neighboring regions. Additionally, emphasis was placed on the significance of crafting reports on initiatives, measuring their impact, and effectively engaging all stakeholders regarding ESG issues.
At the workshop, attending journalists were offered a unique chance to delve deeply into comprehensive discussions about ESG issues and their profound effects on the corporate landscape. They explored the risks and opportunities associated with investing in sustainability-related facets, engaging in thorough and expansive conversations on these crucial topics.
Shalaby emphasized the media’s pivotal role in shedding light on the risks posed by climate change and its extensive influence on the business landscape across various sectors. He underscored the significance of this narrative at local, regional, and global scales, highlighting its widespread importance across various spheres.
He emphasized the evolution of “Sustainable Journalism” into a pivotal element in raising awareness and directing focus towards addressing the multifaceted challenges that societies encounter on the economic, environmental, and social fronts. He also highlighted the interconnectedness between decisions, operations, and activities in shaping the capacities of the present and future generations in these realms.
He elaborated on the pivotal role of banking and financial institutions in this domain, citing their integral connection to the companies and entities they finance as the primary drivers within this sphere.
Shalaby further highlighted that progress toward sustainability and the shift towards renewable energy should encompass the entire system. This comprehensive approach involves active participation from financial and banking institutions, pertinent government bodies, and all entities within both the public and private sectors.
He continued by pointing out that recent manifestations of climate change, like floods and forest fires, have adversely impacted certain companies and organizations involved in projects related to these areas. This has intensified the focus on the risks associated with climate change and the evaluation conducted by financial institutions before financing such projects. Ensuring the highest standards of ESG becomes imperative in this context.
Shalaby highlighted that certain countries in the region have made significant advancements and notable strides towards achieving specific sustainable development goals. However, he underscored the necessity for other countries to address pressing environmental concerns, water management, and pollution issues urgently to avoid lagging behind on the global stage.
Meanwhile, Amir Hanna, Head of Investor Relations & Communications at National Bank of Kuwait said: “The media stands as a crucial partner in the endeavor to raise awareness regarding the significance of sustainability. It serves as a pivotal pathway for shaping the future of upcoming generations.”
Hanna emphasized that NBK’s initiative stems from a core belief in the importance of transparency and informed discussions that unite relevant organizations. Such collaborative efforts are deemed essential to instigate positive change and actively contribute to supporting Kuwait’s sustainable development agenda.
He further added that comprehending and disclosing ESG concerns stands as a crucial step. This understanding equips media professionals with the requisite knowledge and tools needed to accurately report on these issues and illuminate their profound impact on both companies and society as a whole.
He emphasized that NBK has diligently undertaken significant measures in recent years to embed ESG standards at the core of its business framework, operational procedures, and organizational culture.
Hanna detailed that in the preceding year, the Group restructured its ESG strategy, transitioning from a six-pillar approach to a more integrated model comprising four interconnected pillars: Governance for Resilience, Responsible Banking, Capitalizing on our Capabilities, and Investing in our Communities.
He emphasized that NBK is an industry leader in sustainability, having made significant strides in ESG issues. The bank initiated a comprehensive framework for sustainable financing to fortify and elevate its efforts in this domain. This commitment has now become a foundational pillar woven into all aspects of its business models, operational protocols, and organizational culture, thereby facilitating the transition towards a more sustainable and low-carbon economy. This alignment also resonates with Kuwait’s economic plans.
Hanna highlighted that NBK stands among the leading institutions capitalizing on the widespread shift towards sustainable financing. The bank has proactively introduced services and products aligned with the green transformation journey. These include offerings like green mortgage loans, consumer loans to finance electric vehicles, financing for low-emission housing, and various sustainability-related financing options.
NBK has laid out clear plans and targets aimed at curbing carbon emissions within specific timeframes. Notably, the bank pledged to decrease total operational emissions by 25% by 2025 and aspiring to reach net zero operationally by 2035. These efforts are integral components of the bank’s comprehensive strategy geared towards attaining carbon neutrality by 2060.