Agenda 2024

Our agenda fostered discussions on a range of pressing topics critical to the net-zero transition.

January 8
January 9

A number of engaging workshops will be held on the day prior to the Forum. These sessions aim to provide participants with opportunities for hands-on-learning. Expert-led sessions will focus on giving attendees practical knowledge and strategies to kick start or accelerate their net-zero journeys. This year’s workshops will be delivered by:

Location Harbour House - Hosted by Infracorp

Date January 8, 2024

8:30am - 9:00am
Registration & Networking

9:00am - 11:00am
Workshop 1

The Trusted Path to ESG Reporting and Assurance - Delivered by: KPMG, Bahrain

There is a paradigm shift within the marketplace where corporate responsibility and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations are at the forefront of global conversations. On the one side, Nations, Government agencies, and the Private Sector are driving the momentum in terms of their respective targets, goals and ambitions towards net-zero and decarbonization; on the other side a shift in regulatory norms is applying the pressure in terms of monitoring, measuring, managing and reporting progress with the required transparency, comparability and integrity. This session aims to share leading practices and market trends in relation to ESG reporting and assurance, while aligning it to their core operations, and drawing relevance to emerging regulatory compliance. There will be a special spotlight on the recently launched IFRS S1 and IFRS S2 standards developed by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). The ISSB is a standard-setting body established in 2021 2022 under the IFRS Foundation, whose mandate is the creation and development of sustainability-related financial reporting standards for sustainability reporting.

  • Facilitator: Simon Messenger, Market Engagement Fellow, IFRS Foundation

11:30am - 1:00pm
Workshop 2

After COP 28 – From Pledges to Progress and Beyond - Delivered by: The Sustainability Group

This session will focus on how individual companies can turn the pledges made during COP 28 into actionable and realisable plans and strategies. This workshop will be led by industry experts and will look at how the promises made by leaders at COP 28 will impact business, and what companies need to do to ensure they are ready and able to play their part in developing a more environmentally sustainable and equitable future. It will explore the relationship between reducing greenhouse gas emission, broader environmental planning, and how social and economic indicators also play a critical role in ensuring the objectives of COP 28 are met. It will also focus on how organisations need to shift away from reporting on past action, and towards valuing and measuring ambition and intent, and how to do this. It will explore how the pledges made at COP28 might affect national and international legislation and regulatory frameworks, and how business of any size can prepare for and perform in an increasingly complex ESG landscape.

  • Facilitator: Michael Penrose, Co-Founder & Partner

1:30pm - 3:00pm
Workshop 3

The Developing ESG Reporting Disclosures Landscape - Delivered by: Deloitte

A workshop to present an overview of the key ESG Reporting Frameworks initiated by Regulators and Stock Exchanges and to consider how best companies can respond. The aim of the workshop will be to provide an insight to attendees on the recent development of the ESG Reporting landscape, which has led to a variety of reporting initiatives being driven by Middle East regulators and stock exchanges. These include the adoption of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the issuance of the GCC Exchanges Committee ESG Disclosure Metrics, the development of local regulatory ESG Reporting requirements (such as the Bahrain Bourse, Muscat Stock Exchange and UAE Stock Exchanges) and the imminent adoption of the IFRS Sustainability Disclosures. Each reporting initiative will be introduced and the key differences and uses of the reporting frameworks considered. Attendees will also understand the overlap between ESG Reporting and companies’ own ESG Strategy and local country ESG initiatives. The workshop will also consider the development by companies of an ESG Reporting function and key governance arrangements, in order to respond to the increasing compliance-led demand for ESG Reporting.

  • Facilitator: Damian Regan, Middle East Sustainability Reporting and Assurance Leader

3:30pm - 4:30pm
Workshop 4

Climate Risk Drivers and the Path Towards Net Zero - Delivered by: CFA Society, Bahrain

This session aims to give attendees a better understanding of climate risk drivers and their transmission channels. It will provide an opportunity to gain an understanding of both physical and transition risks and the uncertainties when trying to estimate their likelihood and impact. The session will introduce attendees to the use of traditional risk categories to observe and classify climate risk. The session will also discuss options for net zero transition plans in Financial Institutions. Attendees will gain practical tools and methodologies to be able to perform climate risk assessments for their organizations enabling them to recommend initiatives to support their organization’s journey toward the transition to net zero.

  • Facilitator: Lamees Al-Baharna, Risk and Corporate Governance Professional

Location Gulf Hotel – Bahrain Gulf Convention Center

Date January 9, 2024

8:00am - 9:00am
Registration & Networking

9:00am - 9:15am
Welcoming Remarks
  • Minister of Oil and Environment, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs, H.E. Dr. Mohamed bin Mubarak bin Daina

9:15am - 9:45m
Keynote Address: Pathways to Accelerating MENA’s Journey to Net Zero
  • Mark Thomas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Bapco Energies

9:45am - 10:45am
Panel 1

Public-Private Partnerships – the Joint Vision and Leadership Critical to Driving Carbon Neutrality

A panel of senior regional leaders from the public and private sector will examine the essential partnerships and collaborations needed to accelerate regional decarbonisation. Following COP28, and the first Global Stocktake, the world must move faster and greater coordination and cooperation between governments and the private sector is seen to be one of the areas where progress is urgently required. Experts will discuss the role of governments and business and new paradigms and frameworks to enable the complex economic transition ahead. Importantly, they will look at critical steps required from government including supportive policymaking and greater incentives to engage and facilitate private sector action. The panel will look at the role of business and corporate leadership in innovating, mobilising and delivering the technologies, products and solutions needed to decarbonise our economies.

  • Dr. Boutros Klink, CEO, Middle East Cluster, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Matthew Luckhurst, CEO, APM Terminals
  • Majed Al Khan, CEO, Infracorp
  • Dr. Hiba Harara, Vice President, Electricity & Water Authority, Bahrain
  • Moderator: Daniel Gribbon, Middle East Sustainability and Climate Lead and ESG Risk Advisory Lead, Deloitte

10:45am - 11:30am
Panel 2

Cop 28 – The Agenda, Outcomes and Implications for MENA Climate Action

The session will see sustainability leaders discuss the key takeaways from the COP28 conference in Dubai and the resulting action required from governments and the private sector in the MENA region over the short, medium and longer-term. Billed to be a “transformational COP of action” and first Global Stocktake, experts will assess the success of the annual climate gathering and its aims of building consensus, achieving greater inclusion and adopting a clear plan of action. They will examine progress on the 20230 Paris Agreement targets for emissions reductions and resolutions reached on other critical agenda items such as pragmatic energy transition, biodiversity, financing, loss and damage, and other solutions for vulnerable countries.

  • Eng. Layla Sabeel, Director of Climate Change and Sustainable Development Directorate, SCE
  • Maryam Telmesani, Executive Committee Member, Modern Building Leaders
  • Simon Messenger, CEO, 1Planet Advisory
  • Zoe Knight, Group Head, Centre of Sustainable Finance and Head of Climate Change MENAT, HSBC
  • Moderator: Mike Penrose, Co-Founder & Partner, The Sustainability Group

11:30am - 12:30pm
Panel 3

Financing – Setting Priorities and Expanding Capital for Climate and Nature-Based Solutions

With financing and large-scale investment essential to a successful transition to net zero, the session will see experts from leading financing banks and organisations talk about current financing trends in the MENA region, discuss where the priorities should fall and how to boost lending power for sectors and projects that help in the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions and those that promote and protect biodiversity. In focus will be the tools and financial instruments available and or required to mobilise and expand capital for more broad-based climate action as well the role of global climate finance frameworks including initiatives expected to be agreed at COP 28, to guide the financial sector in setting priorities and meeting major funding gap including the urgent need to ramp up private capital flows into nature-based solutions.

  • Ian McCallum, Chief Sustainability Officer, Bank ABC
  • Lina Osman, Managing Director & Head – Sustainable Finance, West, Standard Chartered Bank
  • Mazen Matar, Board of Director & Managing Director, ASRY
  • Mohamed Alshehab, VP - Corporate Finance & Investor Relations, Bapco Energies
  • Pedro Felix, Director, Samauma
  • Moderator: Jessica Robinson, MENA Sustainable Finance Leader, EY Parthenon

12:30pm - 1:30pm
Panel 4

Energy Transition and the Growth of Reliable Renewables and Alternatives

Energy and financing experts will look at the important role of the MENA region in global energy transition. They will discuss pragmatic approaches to a successful transition and exchange views on how fast decarbonision can take place – specifically looking at phasing down vs phasing out of fossil fuels. They’ll examine funding requirements, increased access to and use of alternative forms of reliable energy from wind and solar to the viability of nuclear and hydrogen power. Experts will discuss initiatives across the region’s national energy producers to invest and diversify into renewables and technology development and deployment to support the transition. The session will also hear from leading regional renewable energy companies, which are significantly ramping up capacity to support and help accelerate regional decarbonisation goals.

  • Dr. Mahmood Majdi, Sr. Engineer Energy Transition Head, Bahrain Steel
  • Mohamed Alshehab, VP - Corporate Finance & Investor Relations, Bapco Energies
  • Rawan Salloom, Vice President, Treasury and Capital Markets, The Arab Energy Fund
  • Shyam Yadav, Managing Director, Clenergize Consultants
  • Talal Badawi, Chief Executive Officer at ArRass Solar Energy Company, ACWA Power
  • Moderator: Federico Bonini, Principal, Boston Consulting Group

1:30pm - 2:30pm
Networking Lunch

2:30pm - 3:30pm
Panel 5

Future Cities – Environments that Promote and Enable Sustainable Living

Critical to a net-zero world is the reimagining and building of cities for the future. This session will look at how MENA governments and developers are planning for and creating low-carbon communities that will introduce new paradigms. The discussion will focus on the many stakeholders and their roles in envisioning, building and operating energy efficient, low-emissions environments. We will aim to showcase some global success stories and some of the most innovative and forward-thinking players and projects in the region. Experts will delve the kinds of designs, materials, infrastructure and technologies being used to create and power cleaner, greener cities. Importantly, we will also look at how these cities of the future can help accelerate a shift in mindset and behaviours by providing environments that enable people to embrace new, more sustainable ways of living, coming together and moving about their lives.

  • Fethi Kirdar, Managing Director, Head of Middle East & North Africa, Fifth Wall
  • Michael Wing, Head of International Portfolios, Infracorp
  • Matt Brown, Chief – Sustainability, Expo City Dubai
  • Madhav Bhagwat, Founder and CEO, 2000-Watt-Smart-Cities
  • Karim El-Jisr, Senior Director, Environmental Planning & Appraisal, Red Sea Global
  • Moderator: Zeeba Askar, President, CFA Society Bahrain

3:30pm - 4:15pm
Panel 6

Building Resilient and Energy-Efficient Supply Chains

The session will see operations experts address the impact of climate change and the road to net zero on the development and maintenance of robust and resilient supply chains. As climate change comes to impact more and more businesses around the world, leaders must have strategies in place to protect and secure their supply chains. While taking action to reduce emissions and move their businesses towards carbon neutrality, companies must also face and manage pressures associated with identifying carbon flashpoints in their supply chains and ensuring these emissions are also addressed as part of their Scope 3 reductions. Experts will discuss how to tackle these critical issues. Specifically they will provide insight into the strategies and tactics being used by market leading businesses, in the region and globally, and the needed innovation, technologies, and collaborations to decarbonise supply chains.

  • Ali Rizvi, Head of Program Management – Middle East Operations, Lucid Motors
  • John Robson, CEO, Basrec
  • Julie Seel, Global Sustainability Manager, WestPoint Home
  • Yusuf Alarayedh, General Manager, Mueller Middle East
  • Moderator: Kalyan Krishnan Subramanian, Head of Market, KPMG

4:15pm - 5:00pm
Panel 7

Trends in Climate Reporting and Disclosure

Regulatory, compliance and reporting experts will examine trends and developments in sustainability regulation and disclosure globally, and new and developing MENA regulations aimed at encouraging greater climate disclosure. They will discuss the role of policy making and whether more robust rules and incentives are needed from governments to accelerate private sector action. Experts will share opinions on what good reporting looks like, examples of MENA market leaders, and the most pressing challenges that face companies as they seek or are mandated to ramp up disclosure. Lastly, the panel will address the impact of “greenwashing” labels that have driven many companies towards “greenhushing”, and how clear regulation can encourage and give businesses greater comfort in sharing their climate commitments and agendas.

  • Ali Alaamer, Acting Director of Capital Markets Supervision Directorate, Central Bank of Bahrain
  • Bandar Al Blehed, Client Relations Development Head, Saudi Exchange
  • Eleanor Livingstone, Junior Partner, Zu'bi & Partners
  • Eline Helal, Director – Investor Relations, Insurance & Corporate Secretary, Alba
  • Moderator: Damian Regan, Middle East Sustainability Reporting and Assurance Leader, Deloitte