04 APR 2022

Masdar partners with Harvard Business Review to research ESG adoption

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, hosted by Masdar, partnered with Harvard Business Review to conduct survey-led research into issues around the adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices and try to understand just how businesses are implementing ESG strategies.

The report, Reaping Returns on Environmental, Social and Governance Investments, which surveyed 249 executives from global businesses across a range of industries, found that interest in ESG adoption is strong, with 83 percent of respondents indicating that their organization will increase investment in ESG initiatives over the next 12 months. While only 9 percent of respondents said they have already seen a financial return on their ESG investment, most organizations believe this will lead to future financial benefits, with 22 percent saying they will see this within a year, although 41 percent said it would take two to five years.

According to the report, “strong tailwinds of change are encouraging organizations to assume greater corporate responsibility for their impact on the world’s natural resources, the well-being of employees, and ethical decision making in the boardroom.” However, developing an ESG strategy, one that evaluates and addresses issues that affect an organization’s operations and practices – and potentially its value – is still proving challenging, with 27 percent of respondents indicating that they have yet to put a formal ESG strategy in place, and 10 percent saying they are not currently working on improving their ESG performance.

To support the research, Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week recently hosted Alex Clemente, Founding Managing Director of Harvard Business Review Analytic Services who examined the report findings and discussed ESG in more detail. Moderated by Zainab Al Ali, Head of Outreach and Stakeholder Relations at Masdar, the virtual session can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebzyckDlASk

More information on the topic of ESG, including the full Harvard Business Review report can be found at adsw.ae.


28 FEB 2023

Carbon Intensive Industries Call for Financing to Support Decarbonization

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and Masdar-produced report finds decarbonization budgets are significant source of concern, with less than a third of executives believing their funds are adequate
60 percent of organizations taking steps to reduce emissions but have not yet set net-zero targets, with reliable financing the main barrier to accelerating commitments
Half of industry executives now believe net zero is more feasible than previously but call on governments to boost support

Executives from ‘hard-to-abate’ industries have called for increased financing to support decarbonization efforts, following the release of a landmark report that outlines less than a third believe they have adequate budgets to do so, and over half have not yet set net-zero targets.

Reducing emissions in the hard-to-abate industries – cement, steel, aluminum, petrochemicals, shipping, aviation, heavy industry, and manufacturing – is vital in the effort to combat climate change, with industry and transport accounting for almost half of global emissions. 

The findings from ‘Hard to Abate, Ready to Start’, published today by Masdar, the host of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), in partnership with FT Longitude, furthers the discussion on decarbonization by identifying the biggest hurdles, and what is needed to drive greater action in the lead up to the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in the UAE.
Although challenging, the report finds that half of senior industry leaders are more confident that net zero in their business is more achievable today compared to a few years ago.

HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, COP28 President-Designate, and Chairman of Masdar, said “COP28 will see the conclusion of the Global Stocktake, offering a review of progress against the Paris Agreement. We know that the results will show a significant gap in where we are and where we need to be. The UAE is committed to addressing this, to reigniting momentum and to bringing the goal of 1.5 within reach. Addressing carbon emissions in hard-to-abate sectors is a priority in that regard. There is simply no path to net-zero that does not include decarbonizing these essential industries.”

Despite the optimism that exists across the industry, and the emergence of innovative new technologies to capture and store carbon, reliable finance remains a major barrier for accelerating progress for many senior executives. Despite strong progress across the sector over the past decade, 60 percent of organizations surveyed across Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and North America have still not set decarbonization targets, and leaders from those organizations cite a lack of reliable finance as the main barrier for committing to targets. 83 percent and 62 percent of senior executives from the Middle East and Asia-Pacific respectively highlighted that they are taking steps to reduce emissions but have not set a target date for completion. Further, only 30 percent of senior executives overall, indicated their budgets will be able to meet decarbonization needs, and more than 50 percent are concerned about the impact of global economic headwinds on decarbonization investment.

Ahead of COP28, the UAE Presidency has made clear that access to finance and capital will be a priority, noting that both governments and private sector partners require the resources needed to commit to transformative action. This includes investing in the breakthrough technologies and innovations needed to drive ambition, such as carbon capture and storage, and other forms of decarbonization.

In addition to financing hurdles, the report also highlights the disparity in available technologies to accelerate decarbonization. Despite the progress made in recent years, the research outlines the gap in “frontier” technologies available at a commercial scale, delaying energy-intensive industries in ramping up decarbonization efforts. 

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said “Building on important momentum gained during ADSW 2023, this report is a vital tool to drive forward decarbonization in hard-to-abate industries. Masdar, a global clean energy powerhouse, will continue to play a leading role by fostering global collaboration amongst governments and private sector partners. We intend to seize the opportunity of utility-scale renewable energy and focus our investments in frontier technologies like sustainable aviation fuel and green hydrogen to help accelerate global progress ahead of COP28 and beyond.”

As well as calling for greater industry collaboration, the report highlights the importance of increased public sector support and calls upon global governments to deliver innovative incentives across funding, legislation, and taxation to support national net-zero targets. As highlighted in the report, only 24 percent of senior executives expect to receive funding from government funds or incentives and 41 percent believe that without greater incentives and funding they will be unable to meet their domestic market’s net-zero targets.

Publication of today’s report comes ahead of the UAE’s preparations to host COP28 later this year. This global event will act as a major milestone in progressing conversations and inclusive solutions across all sectors, including those hard-to-abate industries. In convening key players from this sector, COP28 will aim to accelerate climate action and deliver concrete outcomes and solutions for climate change. 

In his role as COP President-Designate, Dr Al Jaber has emphasized the need to address gaps by bringing public and private partners together in a “COP of Action, and a COP for All”. The UAE is firmly committed to an inclusive approach to climate action that includes industry leaders, civil society, academics, women, youth, and indigenous peoples.  

In addition to COP28, ‘Hard to Abate, Ready to Start’ will help frame discussions at the upcoming International Energy Week in London and S&P CERA Week in Houston, Texas.

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) is a global initiative championed by the UAE and its clean energy powerhouse Masdar, to accelerate sustainable development and advance economic, social, and environmental progress. Established in 2008, ADSW provides a global platform for all who have a stake in the future of our planet. ADSW brings together leaders from across governments, the private sector and civil society, to discuss and engage on bold climate action and the innovations that will ensure a sustainable world for future generations.

Read the full report here.


24 JAN 2023

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023 Successfully Concludes Setting UAE on Road to COP28

Held under the patronage of UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ADSW 2023 opening ceremony was attended by His Highness and 13 heads of state and prime ministers
Across six days, a series of landmark agreements were signed, positioning the UAE as a leader on climate action
Anchor event, ADSW Summit, covered the upcoming COP28, pathway to net zero, transformative tech, financing climate action, and food and energy security 
ADSW’s first Green Hydrogen Summit convened global leaders to discuss the development of the UAE hydrogen economy, green energy in Africa and hydrogen’s value chain 
ADSW 2023 hosted 36,000 participants from 170 countries, including 13 heads of state and more than 600 global speakers 

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), successfully concluded its fifteenth edition, with a resounding show of commitment to climate action ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), to be held in the UAE later this year.

Under the theme of ‘United on Climate Action Towards COP28,’ the six-day event was the first global sustainability gathering of a critical year, and it served as the first official platform for the recently announced COP28 leadership team, led by H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, COP28 President-Designate, and Chairman of Masdar. In his keynote at the Opening Ceremony, H.E. Dr. Al Jaber called for the world to come together around COP28 to cooperate and collaborate and turn rhetoric into tangible results.

Global dignitaries, including 13 heads of state and a record number of attendees, convened to progress dialogue on the transition to a net-zero future. The event was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE who attended the opening ceremony with Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea, and Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan delivering keynote speeches. 

Championed by the UAE and its clean energy powerhouse, Masdar, ADSW 2023, also welcomed world leaders including: Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles; João Manuel Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola; Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia; Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana; Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; Surangel Whipps Jr., President of the Republic of Palau; Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique; Aziz Akhannouch, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco; Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; and Tiemoko Meyliet, Vice President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.

During the opening ceremony, 10 winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize from five continents were recognized for their achievements in driving innovative and scalable sustainability solutions. 
Other major events that took place throughout the week included the 13th IRENA Assembly, the supreme decision-making body of the International Renewable Energy Agency. IRENA members confirmed their readiness to support the UAE’s COP28 presidency and committed to leveraging international cooperation through the Agency’s global platform.

The Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, which annually convenes the world’s top energy and foreign policy decisionmakers hosted its seventh meeting at ADSW. Guests including H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, the Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy for the UK, John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and Bernard Mensah, President of International for Bank of America discussed the geopolitical and geo-economic implications of the energy transition.

The flagship ADSW Summit brought together global decision-makers and thought leaders in sustainability to discuss innovative pathways to net zero, practical solutions to finance climate action, and transformative tech for food and energy security. The event featured past and present leaders of COP, including H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, the UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28, H.E. Laurent Fabius, President of France’s Constitutional Council, H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 President, and Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. Collectively they highlighted the need to build on past successes and leverage the COP process to deliver on the Paris Agreement, ahead of the UAE’s hosting of COP28 and the highly anticipated Global Stocktake. 

The inaugural Green Hydrogen Summit was also held during ADSW. Hosted by Masdar’s green hydrogen business, the Summit convened more than 50 leading global hydrogen players, gathering key representatives across regulation, policy and the green hydrogen value chain.

Masdar, the host of ADSW, announced multiple global projects and agreements showing it is on track to meet the target of 100 GW of clean energy by 2030. These included up to 5GW of renewable energy projects with three African nations under the Etihad 7 UAE-backed funding umbrella. 

Also announced were agreements with the Kyrgyz Republic’s Ministry of Energy to develop renewable projects with a capacity of up to 1 GW, an agreement with the Kazakhstan Investment Development Fund to develop a wind power plant with up to 1 GW capacity, and an agreement with Azerbaijan state oil company SOCCAR to develop up to 4 GW of renewable energy projects. 
A first wave of investment of US$20 billion was also announced as part of the US-UAE Partnership to Accelerate Clean Energy (PACE), with Masdar and a consortium of US private investors leading the funding and development of 15 GW of clean energy projects in the US by 2035. 

ADSW provided a platform for engaging and empowering young people and women in sustainability in the lead-up to COP28. The Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) Hub brought together more than 3,000 leaders, experts, entrepreneurs, and young delegates to discuss ways to advance youth engagement across climate action. The annual Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) Forum hosted influential figures from around the world for a roundtable discussion on ‘Empowering Women to Lead Climate Adaptation’. 

Returning to an in-person format this year, Abu Dhabi Global Market hosted the fifth edition of the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum to conclude the week’s events. It convened 50 global institutional investors, government leaders, regulators, and financial institutions.

ADSW was supported by the Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, COP28 UAE, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, TAQA, Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Mubadala Investment Company, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, General Electric, The Climate Pledge, Investcorp, Expo City Dubai, TotalEnergies, Abu Dhabi Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Schneider Electric, 1PointFive, Fertiglobe, PepsiCo, Emirates Development Bank, HSBC, Baker Hughes, BEEAH, UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ne’ma, Emirates Water and Electricity Company, McKinsey and Etihad Airways.


16 JAN 2023

UAE President attends launch of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023

President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and a number of world leaders today attended the opening ceremony of this year's Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the global initiative championed by the UAE to accelerate sustainable development.

The inauguration, which was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), was also attended by Yoon Suk Yeol, President of the Republic of Korea; Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan; Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of Seychelles; João Manuel Lourenço, President of the Republic of Angola; Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia; Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana; Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda; Surangel Whipps Jr., President of the Republic of Palau; Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of the Republic of Mozambique; Samia Suluhu Hassan, President of the United Republic of Tanzania; Aziz Akhannouch, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Morocco; and Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Tiemoko Meyliet, Vice President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire.

H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; H.H Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Presidential Court; H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council; H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Advisor for Special Affairs at the Ministry of Presidential Court; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence; and a number of sheikhs and senior officials also attended the opening.

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed heads of state, policymakers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs to ADSW 2023, which will explore issues and aim to find solutions to the challenges the world faces as it looks to a more sustainable future for future generations.

He stressed that ADSW is a global platform, reflecting the UAE's commitment to convening the international community and ensuring collaboration in driving sustainable economic and social development.

The UAE is making intensive efforts to find feasible and pragmatic solutions to climate change issues, His Highness said, stressing that its strategic initiative to achieve Net Zero by 2050 was a natural progression of the comprehensive approach to sustainability the company has followed since its inception, inspired by Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan’s vision. The UAE’s Founding Father laid the groundwork for building a prosperous and sustainable future through this commitment to protecting nature and preserving the environment.

His Highness the President stated that ADSW this year is an essential step towards the UAE hosting the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). The country’s selection to host COP28 reflected the UAE’s continued efforts to promote practical climate action, sustainable economic development, and progress towards desired global goal, he said.

The opening ceremony began with the national anthem of the UAE, followed by a film on the importance of effective climate action and the need for concerted global efforts. The film included statements from global leaders and officials calling for urgent and serious action to confront the problem of climate change and strengthen collective action, in order to achieve a sustainable future.

During his keynote speech, Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, expressed his deepest gratitude for His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for inviting him to ADSW, and stressed the depth of the bilateral relations between the UAE and Azerbaijan. He also praised the UAE’s remarkable growth trajectory, particularly in the sustainability and renewable energy sectors.

President Aliyev highlighted his country’s ambition to strengthen its reliance on clean energy sources as an essential part of national development efforts, and to contribute to the global drive for a more environmentally friendly economy. He referred to the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Masdar and the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) for the joint development of renewable energy sources, which aim to produce 10 GW of renewable energy in the long term.

ADSW 2023, hosted by the UAE's clean energy powerhouse Masdar, features a series of key events throughout the week that seek to engage all sections of society. It will be held under the theme of ‘United on Climate Action Towards COP28’ and will convene heads of state, policymakers, industry leaders, investors, youth, and entrepreneurs for a series of high-level sessions focused on key priorities for sustainable development ahead of the UN conference. Hosted by the UAE from 30th November to 12th December, 2023, COP28 aims to leverage the country’s strategic position as a connector between north and south, east and west, and its global position to facilitate dialogue and conversations that enable a consensus for the most pressing climate challenges of our time.

Delegates at ADSW will look to set global climate agenda priorities for COP28 – which will cement the UAE’s position as a bridge connecting the global North, South, East and West – and will discuss the need for all groups across society to be engaged, and determine how to leverage outcomes from the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement.

The ADSW Summit, the two-day flagship event of ADSW, focuses on a wide range of important topics, including food and water security, energy savings, decarbonisation of industries, health and climate adaptation.

ADSW 2023 will also see the arrival of a new platform for the global energy sector through the launch of the inaugural Green Hydrogen Summit, which will highlight green hydrogen’s role in the process of decarbonising key sectors and supporting countries' efforts in the journey to net zero.

ADSW 2023 seeks to involve young people in climate action through the Youth 4 Sustainability Forum and Hub, annually engaging 3,000 young men and women. ADSW will also include the annual forum of Masdar’s Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy platform (WiSER), aiming to give women more space to discuss sustainability, and ‘Innovate’ A Masdar City Initiative to showcase the latest global technologies. In addition, ADSW will focus on startups and SMEs, with more than 70 companies exhibiting, alongside Masdar’s ‘Innovate’ initiative which will showcase the latest groundbreaking technologies globally.

ADSW began with the General Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Energy Forum of the Atlantic Council on 14th and 15th January. The ADSW Summit takes place on 16th and 17th January, and the World Future Energy Summit, the “Innovate” initiative, and the Youth Center for Sustainability takes place on 16th to 18th January.

The (WiSER) summit takes place on 17th January, the Green Hydrogen Summit on 18th January, and the Abu Dhabi Forum for Sustainable Finance on 19th January, with the week concluding with the festival in Masdar City.