Finance Summit

DIFC hosts world’s first Finance Summit

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, recently hosted the world’s first Finance Summit dedicated to advancing the COP28 climate action agenda in the global finance industry.

As part of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative’s COP28 Pathway organised by DIFC, over 500 industry professionals attended the first of a series of summits serving as a platform for proactive action in the finance industry to lead the fight against climate change and be at the forefront of accelerating the green transition. The event brought together representatives from leading investment firms, banks, policymakers and financial services providers to discuss COP28 priorities for the sector and how to embed best decision-making practices within their organisations.

The Finance Summit was chaired by Dame Heather MacGregor – historically known as Miss Moneypenny in Financial Times columns and one of the first to be honoured by King Charles III as a Dame. Dame Heather is currently Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Director of Heriot-Watt University, Dubai. Simon Thompson, renowned author of books on sustainable finance and CEO of the Chartered Bankers Institute, shared his views on how green finance can stimulate transition by providing capital to companies, investments, projects and technologies aimed at creating a sustainable, low-carbon world. Senior figures from key organisations including ING, Zurich Insurance and NatWest Group spoke about their focus on achieving net zero.

The Finance Summit unveiled the results of the world’s first Global Retail Banking Survey on Islamic Finance and its impact on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than 2,000 customers took part in the survey. 90 per cent of Islamic banking customers in different markets said it was important for their bank to provide products that are aligned with the SDGs. 96 per cent responded that it was important that the financial products they purchased were in line with their values and ethics. 87 per cent are willing to pay more for financial products that are aligned with the SDGs.

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