DIFC launches sustainable finance catalyst under COP28 | Arabian Weekly

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DIFC launches sustainable finance catalyst under COP28 | Arabian Weekly


Arabian Weekly Staff

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) announced the launch of its Sustainable Finance Catalyst to mark COP28’s Finance Day.

DIFC’s Sustainable Finance Catalyst, which will be part of COP28’s legacy, aims to unlock opportunities and create impact beyond the conference. Building on DIFC’s position as the first global sustainable finance hub in MEASA, DIFC’s Sustainable Finance Catalyst will help scale sustainable finance flows from Dubai to US$100 billion by 2030. Enabled by the first AI-driven sustainability knowledge hub, the Catalyst will activate a network of strategic partners to train and grow its 1 million sustainability leaders; and grow its sustainability-driven start-up ecosystem 50 times its current size by 2030.

Hosted in the new DIFC Innovation One, the Sustainable Finance Catalyst is set to become Dubai’s first centralised intelligence unit focused on sustainable finance, investing in awareness, capability and innovation to accelerate the market from Dubai and provide faster and cost-effective ways for companies to access sustainability knowledge and data and sustainable financing, and develop key capabilities in this domain.

DIFC has established a portfolio of training programmes and events in collaboration with the DIFC Academy and DIFC Innovation Hub, alongside leading experts, strategic partners, and government entities. The initiatives will further position DIFC and Dubai as a global hub for sustainable finance, enable continued upskilling of top talent, and amplify action on climate finance.

Beyond the Sustainable Finance Catalyst, DIFC continues to be the region’s champion for addressing climate change and ESGs more broadly, spearheading a number of initiatives:

As part of DIFC’s drive to nurture access to more sustainable finance funding, the Centre also announced that the Dubai Future District Fund will allocate up to 20% of the AED 1 billion fund to drive growth and back sustainability-driven tech and innovation start-ups and scale-ups, in collaboration with Dubai Future Foundation, in their capacity as founding partners of the fund.

The new fund is aligned with DIFC Strategy 2030 core pillars centred around shaping the future of finance and innovation, designed to boost access to finance for leading tech and innovation firms with a strong focus on innovative solutions set to tackle pressing global challenges.

Holistic emissions reductions across all sectors are required to limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. Innovation in financing instruments is needed to help achieve that.

Recognising that the demand for carbon project financing within a progressive, transparent and robust regulatory environment will unlock future opportunities and help firms manage carbon reductions, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), introduced a pilot programme for trading carbon credits in November, to be introduced in more detail during COP28.

DIFC’s engagement in the DFM Carbon Market Pilot exemplifies its commitment to enable sustainable finance, including the use of carbon markets to reduce emissions and help finance the transition to low-carbon economies. By actively participating, DIFC underscores the pivotal role the financial sector plays in addressing climate change.

As founding partner and inaugural host of Prototypes for Humanity, DIFC has an ongoing commitment to the global initiative.  At the Prototypes for Humanity awards ceremony held at COP28, DIFC announced its continued commitment to supporting the next wave of entrepreneurs in sustainable innovation by providing projects selected for the 2023 Prototypes for Humanity with complementary Innovation Licences. The licence enables entrepreneurs to establish in DIFC and provides access to co-working spaces, mentorship and training, PE and VC networks and venture building studios.

DIFC was the first Government entity to launch a programme to garner attention on climate matters ahead of COP28. The Centre launched its Path to COP28 in October 2022 in association with the Global Ethical Finance Initiative focused on rallying the finance industry to action on common goals: Financing Net Zero; Unlocking Islamic Finance; Financing Nature and Biodiversity; Financing Sustainable Development Goals.

Alongside the Path to COP28 programme of summits, roundtables, MoU agreements and training sessions, DIFC has mobilised climate action through a series of landmark environmental and sustainable finance initiatives.

During COP28, DIFC is hosting the largest and most extensive series of events for the finance industry on climate issues, part of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative and DIFC Path to COP28 programme.

Running from 3 to 8 December, these events include a lecture series relating to perspectives on profit and purpose from Scottish Enlightenment economist Adam Smith and famed Arab social theorist Ibn Khaldun; the signature Climate Finance Summit; Unlocking Islamic Finance Summit; and a series of high-impact sessions in the Sustainable Development Goals Hive.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding recently signed by DIFC Academy and UK-based Chartered Banker Institute, the oldest banking institute in the world, the two entities have partnered to deliver two certifications in ‘Green and Sustainable Finance’ and ‘Climate Risk’. Both initiatives will be rolled out by the DIFC Academy under the Sustainable Finance Catalyst.

Through the DIFC-chaired Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group, three action-focused reports were published to help businesses in the UAE build resilience to the impact of climate change and move the economy to Net Zero.

Earlier this year, DIFC became the first financial centre in the region to announce its green finance framework, with a positive Second Party Opinion review by S&P Global Ratings.


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