Dubai, UAE: 27 September 2022: The Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group (DSFWG), established in 2019 by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and Dubai Financial Market (DFM), the leading financial market across the region, has announced the introduction of a self-assessment tool for measuring the maturity of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies and practices in companies. This is in-line with the group’s continuous efforts to raise awareness and encourage the adoption of sustainability in the UAE.
The tool was developed in-line with the principles of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the standards of the Global Reporting Initiative, which is the independent, international organisation that helps businesses and other organisations take responsibility for their impacts. The tool has been designed using expertise from reputed entities such as Aramex, ENOC, DIFC, DFM, Dubai Islamic Bank and members of the DSFWG.
Companies will be able to assess organisational progress against SDGs and keep up with the best ESG practices in-line with global standards. Completing the assessment will benchmark companies against five levels of maturity and help them have strategic conversations around how to increase their maturity in relation to ESG principle and practices in their organisations to achieve excellence status over time.
Christian Kunz, Chair of the Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group and Senior Vice President of Strategy at DIFC, said: “The DSFWG encourages financial services companies and businesses across other industries in the UAE and wider region to develop business plans that are in-line with United Nations and UAE Sustainable Development Goals. Our new, easy to use tool for measuring ESG maturity will help companies accelerate their sustainability journey creating impact for their investors, customers, employees and the environment, and aligns perfectly with DIFC’s commitment to driving the future of finance in the region.”
Dr. Dena Assaf, United Nations Resident Coordinator for the UAE, said: “The UAE government’s commitment to implementing the SDGs on a national scale is reflected in the ESG Maturity Tool, which has been developed in the UAE by the DSFWG members to meet the needs of businesses and support them in adopting ESG metrics and standards. Expanding private sector contributions towards climate transition is key for the betterment of our society, safeguarding our planet and working towards a sustainable future for all. This spirit of partnership is central for us to achieve meaningful progress towards Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. As the United Nations, we stand ready to continue supporting and looking forward to strengthening such commitments, especially at the Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will be hosted in the UAE next year.”
Raji Hattar, Co-Chair of the Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group and Chief Sustainability and Compliance Officer at Aramex, said: “As the ESG landscape continues its rapid evolution, it has become critical for businesses to have strong environmental, social and governance practices that are in-line with global best standards. The main goal behind developing the ESG Maturity Tool is to offer a tool that could help companies build a clear and realistic roadmap to reach their sustainability ambitions. By following a framework that is in-line with internationally recognised standards, companies can reinforce the credibility, comparability and scalability of their sustainability initiatives, as well as strengthen and increase the trust of their stakeholders. The development of the ESG Maturity Tool is aligned with our national commitment and international sustainability visions and strategies, including the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Dr. Waddah S Ghanem Al Hashmi, Co-Chair of the Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group, Honorary Chairman of the Energy Institute Middle East and Senior Director at ENOC, added: “It has been a real pleasure working, especially along with Mr Raji Hattar, on developing this ESG Maturity Tool. The tool allows companies, at any stage of development in their ESG journey, to assess their levels of maturity objectively and along the three key pillars – environment, social and governance –through locating themselves in terms of their policies and practices. Having worked with maturity tools in the past in health and safety as well as operational excellence management systems, I believe the tool will offer organisations not only an effective assessment tool but one that will help them create an ESG development plan and roadmap moving forward, as we strongly believe that ESG development is an ongoing journey in which the leadership, organisation and all its stakeholders collectively grow, mature and achieve true sustainability over time”.
In the UAE, corporate sustainability reporting has increased from 44 per cent in 2017 to 51 per cent in 2020 among the top 100 UAE companies, according to the KPMG UAE Survey of Sustainability Reporting 2020. The increase has been driven by a greater commitment to national initiatives and the agenda to support the country’s SDGs, including Vision 2021, UAE Energy Strategy 2050, UAE Green Agenda 2015-2030 and the National Innovation Strategy, to meet growing investor expectations.
The group was launched in 2019 and includes a consortium of 25 members from leading financial institutions, global and regional banks and sustainable companies seeking to mainstream ESG, support companies and sustainable investment, and create the region’s leading sustainable financial city.
To download the ESG Maturity Model – Self Assessment Tool: