Bahraini Leaders Meet to Discuss Environmental, Social, and Governance Issues in Financial Services
Over 80 senior executives from Bahrain's financial services industry gathered last week for a KPMG conference on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in business.
The event, held at the Downtown Rotana Hotel, gave participants an overview of some of the top ESG trends in global and domestic financial services developments, at a time when topics like sustainability, climate-related risks, diversity and inclusion, and social impact are becoming more prominent on boardroom agendas.
Khalid Hamad Al-Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain, said:
"In financial services, ESG is increasingly becoming a critical business requirement, both from a regulatory as well as a stakeholder standpoint."
Al-Hamad emphasised how ESG will impact the sector in the future and how the topic will influence the future of banking models and services throughout his keynote. "The economic, social, and political issues posed by climate change require detailed action plans from banks."
Meanwhile, he emphasised that success must be made in collaboration with the business sector and governments, who "need to work together to realise the national ESG strategy and action plan, to make a genuine difference."
Jeyapriya Partiban, Partner and Head of Advisory at KPMG in Bahrain, said:
"Taking a holistic approach towards ESG related challenges and opportunities can provide financial institutions with a real competitive edge within the marketplace by delivering on clear and tangible outcomes that move towards effective, efficient, and sustainable policies and processes within the organisation.”
It is easier said than done to make progress on the ESG agenda. During the session, KPMG subject matter experts discussed how ESG can be integrated into strategic planning processes, KPI development and setting, assurance requirements, regulatory standards, and how technology may provide an edge, among other topics.
Partiban emphasised the necessity of "getting started" and "learning by doing," as well as ensuring that "continuous education on the issue" is provided so that employees "understand how important the topic is and how they can contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals."