Agenda 2023

We have a dynamic and engaging agenda focusing on key topics intrinsic to the transition of businesses and the regional economies towards a net-zero future.

Pre-Forum Day
Forum Day

9:00am - 11:30am

Location: Downtown Rotana Hotel, Manama

Demystifying the Decarbonisation Journey

This session aims to give attendees a better understanding of the implications of climate change, decarbonisation and the net-zero ambitions of the region. A team of sustainability experts will be on hand to help participants gain greater insights into how decarbonisation will impact their businesses and what are some of the opportunities that can be leveraged within the marketplace. Specifically, the session will look at global and local commitments, climate risk and decarbonization strategies: challenges and opportunities, key steps toward low-carbon and net-zero operations and five pillars to achieving net-zero.

3:00pm to 4:30pm

Location: BIBF, Bahrain Bay

Fundamentals of Sustainable Development and Net-Zero Transitioning

This session will cover the fundamentals of “sustainable development” and its significance with an emphasis on ESG and the transition towards net zero. The benefits and the heightened sense of urgency associated with changing the mindset and culture of a corporation will be highlighted. The session will also look at the principles behind how businesses can “do well while doing good” by internalizing the commitment to the sustainable development goals to re-engineer “how” business is carried out. In addition to discussing developments on a global and regional scale, the workshop will investigate the connection between resilience, sustainability, and business growth and expansion.

4:30pm to 6:00pm
Harbour House
Welcome Reception Hosted by

8:00am to 9:00am
Registration & Networking
9:00am – 9:30am
Keynote Address
Business Transition to Net-Zero: The Urgency and MENA’s Path Towards a Low- Carbon Future
9:30am – 10:30am
Panel 1
Net-Zero Ambitions in the MENA Region

The session will look at where Middle Eastern economies are today, discuss the various ambitions and targets announced by key actors and whether these ambitions and commitments are too ambitious or not enough. Panelists will review the outcomes of the recently held COP27 in Egypt and the road ahead to COP28 in the UAE. They will discuss the greatest challenges facing regional economies in making the transition as well as the essential collaborations required to achieve greater alignment and the meeting of net-zero targets.

10:30am – 11:30am
Panel 2
The Financial Sector and Funding the Transition

In light of the significant investment and financing required for the region’s decarbonisation, this panel will examine the critical role that financial institutions need to play in driving and funding change and helping governments and businesses across the region achieve their net-zero targets. Specifically, experts will discuss the leadership role that banks must play, trends in sustainable financing, the use of green financing instruments and notables success stories from the region. They will also address what more regional and international banks operating in MENA can do to support decarbonisation efforts and channel greater funding towards pro-climate businesses and projects.

11:30am – 12:30pm
Panel 3
Energy Transition and the Integration of Renewables

The session will look at the unique circumstance of Middle East economies in global energy transition. The region is not only exposed heavily to the severe impacts of climate change, like other parts of the world, but also economic costs resulting from global decarbonation as some of the biggest producers and exporters of oil and gas. The panel will discuss the strategies and actions on the part of major regional producers and governments to support energy transition and remain leaders in a low-carbon energy future. It will also look at current approaches and examples of what key actors are doing in terms of investing in and leveraging their existing know-how in order to accelerate the development of clean and alternative energy sources and technologies both at home and around the world.

12.30pm – 1:00pm
Networking Lunch
1:30pm – 2:00pm
Valuation Premiums for Emissions Reduction

With an increasing number of corporates setting emissions reduction targets and taking steps to decarbonise their businesses, the session will feature a presentation on how markets are valuing and rewarding these efforts. The focus will be on recently carried out research and empirical evidence that suggests a valuation premium is starting to emerge for low emissions and for delivering emissions reductions over time across geographies and emissive sectors such as Materials, Energy, Industrials, Consumer Staples, and Healthcare. The session aims to give attendees insight on investor and market sentiment and the positive impact that tangible action on decarbonisation can have for a company’s valuation.

2:00pm – 3:00pm
Panel 4
Evolution of Climate Regulation and What’s Needed

The session will provide an overview of the evolving landscape for climate-related legal and financial regulation. Experts will look at global examples and where the MENA markets are today assessing how law and regulations can help support and accelerate the realisation of net-zero goals. Also in focus will be the impact on companies of new laws as governments and regulators develop policies to support and enforce net-zero action. They will discuss what this means for senior leadership and boards, changes in compliance and how to ensure meaningful progress in their net-zero journeys.

3:00pm to 4:00pm
Panel 5
Decarbonising Infrastructure Development – Progress and Challenges for the Region

With construction one of the highest of all industries in terms of global emissions, a move towards lower- carbon infrastructure development is essential to the region’s decarbonisation and the realisation of net- zero ambitions. The session will look at the evolution of the industry in the region and globally with panelists sharing insights on MENA-based developers and the adoption of sustainable, low-carbon materials and progress on energy and resource efficiency. They will highlight best practices and regional success stories covering residential and urban development and other infrastructure while also addressing challenges facing the industry as it transitions towards net-zero.

4:00pm – 5:30pm
How to Develop an Enterprise Wide ESG Strategy with an Effective Net-Zero Focus

The session aims to be a learning opportunity for attendees to find out more about how to develop an enterprise wide ESG Strategy and include a focus on bringing climate action into the heart of their businesses and operations. While many larger companies have already developed their ESG Strategy and in particular their Net-Zero focus, and have started the complex process of transitioning, many others, including most SMEs, have yet to formulate a business wide ESG strategy or considered initiatives to fully understand and plan for the necessary changes required to decarbonise and create more effective, efficient and profitable businesses that are future-proof. The session will share insights on how to develop a business wide ESG Strategy and to prepare for, launch and measure their own net- zero journeys and progress along the way.

4:00pm – 5:00pm
What Net-Zero Means for Banks and How to Start Their Decarbonisation Journeys

The session focuses on supporting regional banks in clearly understanding the implications of net-zero, what it means for their business and their customers and how they can begin to plan for and launch their net-zero journeys. The session will cover and explore important themes including an introduction on net zero understood from a financial markets’ perspective, what are net zero pathways and how does this feed into targets for banks, getting started – establishing a baseline, scope 1 / 2 and 3 emissions and communicating targets, how banks can leverage net zero for business growth and innovation and what does COP28, to be held in the UAE in 2023, mean for MENA’s banks.