Pivotal Part for Bahrain’s Banks in Transitioning to a More Sustainable Economic Model
The key role of Bahrain’s banks in driving a broader, sector-wide sustainability agenda was one of several topics discussed with Abdulaziz Al-Helaissi, Group CEO and Member of the Board of Gulf International Bank, in a wide-ranging interview he gave recently to Oxford Business Group’s online broadcasting channel, Global Platform.
Al-Helaissi highlighted the rise in popularity of green bond issuances, saying they were helping to redefine the finance sector’s landscape, against a backdrop of rising demand for financial instruments that gave weight to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.
“The increased momentum in sustainable and green finance-linked products, services and investment, is influencing the future strategic direction of Bahrain's banking sector,” he told Oxford Business Group.
He also highlighted the strides made by Bahrain towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals as part of its Economic Vision 2030 targets, which he said included promoting sustainable and transparent capital markets.
“Bahrain Bourse issued its ESG voluntary reporting guidelines for listed companies in June 2020,” he noted. “It is also committed to the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative.”
In addition, Al-Helaissi touched on the Covid-19 pandemic’s role in accelerating the trend toward ESG. “It acted as a wake-up call about the vulnerability and fragility our world is currently facing,” he said in the video.
Marc-André de Blois, OBG’s Director of PR and Video Content, said the interview with Al-Helaissi showed that efforts underway across Bahrain’s banking sector to promote ESG standards and encourage sustainable, ethical decision-making at a corporate level were gathering pace.
“ESG-compliant assets are gaining prominence in international investment portfolios, while regulators are sharpening their focus on reporting requirements, on the back of broad-based rising demand,” he said. “Our video reaffirms that Bahrain’s finance sector is taking steps to put an effective ESG strategy at the heart of its operations, and, in turn, contributing to the Kingdom’s plans to make future growth inclusive and sustainable.”