28 APR 2021

New Research Indicates Pandemic as Tipping Point for Investment in ESG and Sustainability

  • 85 percent of respondents saw the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘wake-up call’ on sustainability
  • 65 percent expect to realize financial benefits of ESG investment within the next two years
  • Half of all respondents say they are prioritizing ESG because it is important to investors
  • Balancing profit with sustainability is easier for some sectors than for others, with technology leading and transport lagging

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; April 28, 2021: Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the global platform for accelerating sustainable development and its host Masdar, have today released the results of a global survey, which explores how businesses around the world are responding to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) in the wake of COVID-19.

ESG Beyond Tipping Point surveyed 525 executives from global businesses that deliver annual revenues of $250 million USD or more, suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on businesses’ perceptions of ESG issues.

The research found that 87 percent of respondents indicated that ESG performance is now one of their organization’s core strategic objective, while 85 percent saw the COVID-19 pandemic as a wake-up call on sustainability.

Many businesses anticipate that the pay-offs from strengthening ESG activities in their organization, or in the case of financial services companies incorporating ESG data into their decision-making, will accrue quickly. The research found that, 65 percent of respondents expect to realize the financial benefit of ESG investment within the next two years, including 35 percent who expect it within the next 12 months.

Yousef Ahmed Baselaib, Executive Director, Strategy & Corporate Development at Masdar, said, “ESG has always been part of the Masdar’s DNA and continues to be as the company delivers on its mandate of seeking quality investments in renewable energy and sustainable technologies. Fifteen years on since Masdar was formed, ESG has reached enough of a critical mass across all sectors that it is unlikely that we will see a return to the old profits-above-all models of the past. As we explored during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week earlier this year, the opportunities presented by the Green Recovery will further fuel investor appetite for backing smart, sustainable companies. Those companies that ignore ESG will lose their relevance in the post-COVID era.”

Shareholders are a driving force for ESG investment across sectors and regions. Nearly half of all respondents (49 percent) say they are prioritizing ESG because it is important to investors.

The research also provided deep insights on how different geographical regions and industry sectors are responding to the demand for greater ESG commitments. The research found that 70 percent of respondents from Asia-Pacific agreed that their company is committed to achieving net-zone emission, while only 33 percent of respondents from the Middle East agreed when asked the same question.

At a sector level, the research found that balancing profit with sustainability is easier for some sectors than for others, with 68 percent of respondents from the technology sector agreeing they were able to balance customer demands for sustainability with shareholder expectations for profits. However, responses from the transport sector were much lower, with only 38 percent agreeing that the sector was able to balance customer demand and shareholder expectations.

The ESG research was supported by a series of high-level interviews with industry leaders, including Dietmar Siersdorfer, Managing Director of Middle East and UAE at Siemens Energy, who said, “It is extremely gratifying to see the topics around ESG and sustainability draw more mainstream recognition,” said Dietmar Siersdorfer. “These issues need to recognized not just as a showpiece of corporate strategy but as a fundamental necessity of doing business. As a company founded to drive the energy transition and promote ESG and sustainability values, Siemens Energy has set an ambitious target of net zero emissions by 2030. We are dedicated to energizing society in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, to ensure the highest impact on societal development.”

At an employee level, businesses cannot overlook the growing role of sustainability in the battle to recruit and retain high quality talent at all levels of the company. The extent to which a company embraces ESG is becoming a crucial factor in whether people want to work for them – even more than remuneration policies for some. Strikingly, 52 percent of respondents say they would be prepared to take a pay cut to move to a company with a better ESG performance.

More than half of the respondents (51 percent) intend to create new ESG-focused management positions in the next 12 months, with organizations based in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East & Africa leading the way in this area.

Even before the pandemic, sustainability was rising up the corporate agenda, but this trend has accelerated dramatically during the crisis: improved ESG performance is now a core strategic objective for most organizations.

Crucially, the determination to embrace ESG principles is shared by all stakeholder groups, including investors, employees, customers and suppliers. And those organizations that are rising to the challenge are already beginning to see returns.

With business leaders now recognizing that we have moved past the tipping point: ESG is now a key battleground in the competition for investment and talent – and, ultimately, to attract and retain customers.

18 JAN 2021

Reimagined Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week goes live today in virtual setting to set agenda for green recovery

  • High-level virtual events include ADSW Summit, IRENA Assembly, Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum, Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, Youth 4 Sustainability Virtual Forums and World Future Energy Summit Webinars
  • Agenda will explore the social, economic and innovation opportunities for delivering a green recovery, bringing together global leaders from policy, industry and technology
  • First day starts with program dedicated to energy, youth and closes with 11th session of IRENA Assembly
  • Flagship ADSW Summit will feature over 70 high-level speakers from around the world

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 18, 2021: Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the global platform for accelerating sustainable development, hosted by Masdar, goes live today until 21 January 2021 in a reimagined virtual setting. Over the course of four days, global leaders from policy, industry and technology will explore social, economic and technological opportunities for delivering a green recovery in a post-pandemic world.

ADSW 2021 will feature a series of high-level virtual events, including the ADSW Summit, IRENA Assembly, Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum (ADSFF), Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum, Youth 4 Sustainability (Y4S) Virtual Forums and the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) Webinars.

The first day of ADSW kicks off with the WFES Webinars, Y4S Forum, followed by the 11th session of the IRENA Assembly that brings together heads of state, government, ministers and energy decision-makers, as well as global stakeholders and private actors to discuss the energy transition as an investment in our collective future.

The flagship ADSW Summit on January 19th will feature more than 70 high-level speakers from around the world and will broadcast online across different time zones to engage audiences across various geographies and markets. The agenda runs over three two-hour sessions that focus on the pillars of “Live & Move,” “Care & Engage,” and “Work & Invest,” with each pillar exploring social, economic and technological opportunities to set and support a sustainable recovery.

The speakers at the one-day virtual ADSW Summit include: H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, Head of State, Principality of Monaco, who will give a keynote speech on national resilience in the context of Coivid-19; H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE's Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change and Chairman of Masdar; H.R.H Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Founder and CEO, KBW Ventures; H.E. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Group CEO Mubadala Investment Company; The Rt Hon. Alok Sharma MP, COP 26 President and UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; H.E. Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment of the Republic of Singapore; H.E. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder & CEO, Kalimat Publishing Group; H.E. Eng. Awaidha Murshed Al Marar, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Energy; Francesco La Camera, Director General, IRENA; Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director UN-Habitat; Noel Quinn, Group Chief Executive Officer, HSBC Holdings; Laurence Fink, Chairman and CEO BlackRock; and Dr. Lucas Joppa, Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft, in addition to many other high-level speakers.

The third edition of ADSFF hosted by Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) will be held under the theme ‘Financing Sustainable Recovery and Future Resilience’ on January 20th. It will highlight the importance of a sustainable and equitable approach to rebuild the global economy. ADSW 2021 will conclude on January 21st with the last sessions of Y4S, Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum and WFES.

Through initiatives and events, ADSW is committed to the sharing of knowledge, implementation of strategies and the delivery of real-world solutions to address the challenges related to sustainability and climate change. As the first global event in the UAE’s Golden Jubilee year, ADSW 2021 will help galvanize further collaboration among government, business and community stakeholders to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

For over a decade, Abu Dhabi has provided a sustainable platform for the global community that has grown through its initiatives and events to emerge as a thought leader and catalyst that accelerates sustainable development around the world.

The 2020 edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week hosted around 45,000 attendees from 170 countries, with more than 500 high-level speakers from around the world.

To ensure the safety of all participants, ADSW 2021 and all related high-level events will take place virtually. The physical program of ADSW will return in 2022.

Register now for the ADSW Summit at www.adsw.ae

15 JAN 2016

World Future Energy Summit Launches Future Cities Forum for Global Insights on Middle East’s Urbanization

Delivering global insights and best practices for Middle East cities to sustainably manage their long-term urbanization, the World Future Energy Summit announced today the launch of the new Future Cities Forum.

The Future Cities Forum, on Wednesday, 20 January 2016, will be held on the theme of “Shaping the Urban Future Together: Creating Sustainable and Resource Efficient Communities”. Attendees can hear from leading global government experts on best practices in managing complex, long-term urban challenges and the latest innovations across energy, water, transport, urban planning, and mitigating climate change.

Sixty six percent of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050, up from 54 percent in 2014, according to the United Nations. To meet the challenges of urbanization, governments around the world are using advanced technology to develop Smart Cities, with Frost and Sullivan predicting a USD1.56 trillion marketplace by 2020. The Middle East and North Africa hosts among the world's most ambitious smart city plans, including Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, Qatar’s Lusail City, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s four Economic Cities, and Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca. Thanks to smart buildings, a pedestrian-focused layout and technology cluster, Masdar City consumes 40 percent less energy and water than built-up areas of a comparable size.

Masdar City recently inaugurated a solar power storage system with Energy Nest, and signed an agreement with Chinese real estate firm Vanke on a research and development project. “Masdar City is a ‘green-print’ for sustainable urban design – and what we will focus on at the Future Cities Forum is the need for global cities to integrate both environmentally friendly policies and commercial opportunities to drive sustainable development,” said Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City.

Smart Dubai is working with the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union to develop the world’s first smart city key performance indicators, and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to generate 75 percent of power from clean energy over the next 35 years. “Dubai is undergoing a seismic shift in developing and encouraging smart city solutions – and at the Future Cities Forum we will focus on the power of public private partnerships, government innovation, and data-based analytics for smart buildings, transportation, and utilities that will support Dubai as a leading global smart city,” said Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office.

Atkins, the international design, engineering and project management consultancy, will share best practices from supporting the future-proofing of cities in the GCC, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. “With the population of the MENA region expected to double by 2050, at the Future Cities Forum we’ll be sharing our expertise which is helping to maximize the value of our clients’ built assets by ensuring they’re holistically planned, sustainable, resilient and appropriate for the long term, taking careful consideration of the drivers for change across the region, and how the resulting opportunities can be harnessed and risks can be mitigated,” said Simon Moon, chief executive officer, Middle East of Atkins.

“The tools and insights which are accessible to us today mean we’re able to develop a much better understanding of how buildings, infrastructure and their environment really do interact and perform, and to make well informed decisions to support their lifecycle – it’s essential that we apply this knowledge today for the benefit of our future urban and social environments,” added Simon Moon.

Many Smart Cities across the region are diversifying their energy mix to include renewables, especially solar power. “An approach to Smart Cities involves many aspects that will result in more sustainable urban living. From water and energy conservation to better use of public transport, more efficient air conditioning solutions and renewable energy generation are all part of a holistic plan to optimize the use of resources,” said Roberto De Diego Arozamena, CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services, which will be one of the key sponsors of the World Future Energy Summit 2016 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

“A good example of such a plan is the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which includes the intention to have solar energy in every rooftop in Dubai by 2030,” added Roberto De Diego Arozamena.

Global consulting, design and program management firm C2HM, a WFES sponsor, will showcase its vision for smart, sustainable cities and infrastructure, and share best practices from its recent delivery experiences in the Middle East, India, and Europe. “At CH2M, our vision for future cities is based on creating vibrant, accessible, financially sound communities that attract business and provide a rich social fabric and environment where people want to live and work. As the competition between global cities increases, the need for talent, investment and resources will become critical,” said Neil Reynolds, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, MENA and India.

“More than ever, cities will need to focus on enhancing their economics, as well as the environment and the quality of life they can offer. Smart infrastructure is the key – whether transportation, water, energy or waste – and CH2M has the smart city solution that can help,” added Neil Reynolds.

The Future Cities Forum will also host the Habitat III Sustainable Energy Thematic Meeting, determining the policy agenda for the United Nations New Urban Agenda. Hosted by Masdar, The World Future Energy Summit 2016 is held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 18-21 January 2016, co-located with International Water Summit and EcoWASTE.

26 JAN 2021

Reimagined Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week concludes with global commitment to deliver green recovery in 2021

  • ADSW welcomes royal addresses from H.R.H, Charles, The Prince of Wales and H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco, Head of State, Principality of Monaco
  • Flagship ADSW Summit took place in the presence of HH Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council
  • ADSW featured more than 500 global leaders from government, business and technology

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; January 24, 2021: Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), the global platform for accelerating sustainable development, hosted by Masdar, concluded on Thursday with a resounding global commitment to deliver a green recovery in 2021. From January 18 to 21, ADSW took place in a reimagined virtual setting and attracted more than 100,000 views across its online platforms from 175 countries, reiterating its importance as the annual global sustainability event that sets the agenda for the year.

ADSW comprised high-level virtual events: ADSW Summit, which took place in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council; IRENA’s 11th Assembly; Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum; Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum; Youth 4 Sustainability Virtual Forum; and World Future Energy Summit Back to Business Webinar Series.

The ADSW speaker program featured more than 500 global leaders and decision-makers from policy, industry and technology, including: H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Special Envoy for Climate Change, and Chairman of Masdar; H.R.H, Charles, The Prince of Wales; H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco, Head of State, Principality of Monaco; António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; H.E. Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Managing Director and Group CEO, Mubadala Investment Company; Rt. Hon. Alok Sharma MP, COP26 President; Laurence Fink, Chairman and CEO, BlackRock; Bernard Looney, CEO, BP; Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Bank of America; and Mark Carney, Finance Adviser to the UK Prime Minister for COP 26 and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.

These global leaders spoke across ADSW’s high-level event platforms, each designed to focus on different elements of the global sustainability agenda.  

The International Renewable Energy Agency held its 11th IRENA Assembly, which brought together heads of state, government, ministers and energy decision-makers to discuss the global energy transition and the further adoption of renewable technologies.

The flagship ADSW Summit featured more than 90 global leaders from around the world and ran over three sessions focusing on the pillars of “Live & Move,” “Care & Engage,” and “Work & Invest,” with each pillar exploring social, economic and technological opportunities for delivering a green recovery.

The third edition of Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum hosted by Abu Dhabi Global Market was held under the theme ‘Financing Sustainable Recovery and Future Resilience’ and highlighted the importance of a sustainable and equitable approach to rebuild the global economy.

The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum and World Future Energy Summit Webinars highlighted the opportunities for advancing the energy transition and race to net zero.

Masdar’s Youth 4 Sustainability Virtual Forum was led by members of the global youth community and explored ways for young people to play an active role in the implementation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the UAE’s 50-year Development Plan. The forum covered topics across leadership and sustainability, skills and future of work, and innovation challenges including the Ecothon Pitch, which was supported by Abu Dhabi’s Department of Energy, Khalifa Fund and The Catalyst, a venture fund in partnership with Masdar City and BP.

ADSW 2021 also featured The Global Innovation Award, which is organized on behalf of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, named Cambrian Innovation from the US the overall winner of Award.

The week welcomed several commercial announcements relating to the adoption and development of hydrogen in the UAE.  Mubadala Investment Company, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and ADQ announced the signing of an MoU to establish the Abu Dhabi Hydrogen Alliance (the Alliance), with the view to establish Abu Dhabi as a trusted leader of low-carbon green and blue hydrogen in emerging international markets.

Building on the Alliance, Masdar, the world’s leading renewable energy companies, announced it would join forces with Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Group, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Siemens Energy, and Marubeni Corporation, in an initiative designed to support the development of the green hydrogen economy in Abu Dhabi. The initiative aims to establish a demonstrator plant at Masdar City.

Building on the 2020 Abraham Accords, Masdar also signed a strategic agreement with French group EDF Renewables to explore renewable energy opportunities in Israel and support the country’s clean-energy objectives. Israel is targeting 30 percent of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2030, up from a previous target of 17 percent, as it looks to phase out coal use. Achieving the new target will require an additional 15 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity being developed over the period.

Masdar also released during ADSW its 2020 Annual Sustainability Report, which revealed it had more than doubled its clean energy capacity in the last two years, generating enough electricity to power over four million homes.

For over a decade, Abu Dhabi has provided a sustainable platform for the global community that has grown through its initiatives and events to emerge as a thought leader and catalyst that accelerates sustainable development around the world.

As a manifestation of the UAE’s proactive, forward thinking approach to sustainability and mitigating the impact of climate change, ADSW is committed to the sharing of knowledge, implementation of strategies and the delivery of real-world solutions. As the first global event in the UAE’s Golden Jubilee year, ADSW provides a global platform to set the sustainability agenda for the year and help deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.