Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt – Commercial International Bank (CIB) held a panel on ‘Decarbonization Day’ at COP27 titled “The Role of Financial Institutions in Sectoral Decarbonization with a Focus on Green Built Environment and Energy” . Discussions centered around action needed from financial institutions to help accelerate the decarbonization of the economy, in line with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development’s sustainable development strategy ‘Egypt Vision 2030’.

H.E. Dr. Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development chaired the session, shedding light on the role of the private sector in achieving the country's development goals, particularly those related to carbon emission reduction. H.E. Dr. Hala El-Said also highlighted the government is exerting efforts in greening its national investment plan and projects, stating that over the fiscal year 2021/2022, 30% of the projects of the national investment plan were green projects, aiming to increase their share to 50% by 2024/2025.

H.E. Dr. Hala El-Said also announced plans by the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development to launch their "Friends of Greening National Investment Plans in Africa and Developing Countries" initiative on the Solutions Day in CoP27. In her speech, H.E. Dr. Hala El-Said also stated that Egypt is the first country in the Middle East to issue "green bonds" worth $750 million, to mobilize resources for green projects, highlighting CIB also launched a green bond

Speakers included CIB Chief Operating Officer Mr. Mohamed Sultan, CIB Chief Sustainability Officer Dr. Dalia Abdelkader, IFC Global Director for Climate Business Mr. Vivek Pathak, SODIC Managing Director Eng. Magued Sherif, and Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ) Executive Director Dr. Tony Rooke. The panel was moderated by CIB Head of Sustainability Culture & Stakeholders Relations Ms. Safa El Assy.

Highlighting CIB’s continuous commitments in this space, Mr. Sultan said, “When we began our journey for sustainability at CIB, our goal was to not only integrate ESG principles within our internal operations, but to also empower our staff, society, and clients to realize the real value of sustainable growth. To that end, we will continue to leverage our platform, network, and resources to empower our stakeholders as we work together towards low carbon transitions.”

Building up on CIB’s experiences in decarbonization, Dr. Abdelkader said, “CIB is among pioneers in the banking sector for measuring and issuing a report on its carbon footprint in 2017. We then went on to spearhead globally benchmarked ecological footprint reporting in 2020, a milestone that speaks to our efforts in developing a leading system that defines the role of banking institutions that assume responsibility for carbon, land, and water impacts”. Dr. AbdelKader also added, “CIB launched the ‘Sustaining Sectors’ program for corporates, a multi-purpose platform that aims to provide support, including capacity building, to a large segment of companies across different sectors as they transition to a low carbon economy. The program has conducted tailored workshops for the Bank’s clients in the textiles, green buildings, and food industries sectors, and will further its expansion over the coming year.”

The panel discussion also addressed the key role of climate finance instruments and their accessibility to better meet the evolving needs of transitioning sectors. In light of this, Mr. Pathak shared, “Driving climate finance into emerging economies hinges on the ability of national financial institutions to deploy all the green capital they can. We need local savings channeled into facilities that can help decarbonize all sectors, from energy to transport and adaptation. CIB is playing a pioneering role in this regard, having issued Egypt's first privately issued green bond. At IFC, we were very pleased to collaborate with the bank in this effort".

Eng. Sherif presented a case study for decarbonization in Egypt’s real estate sector, further emphasizing the importance of aiding the sectoral transition. “We are honored and excited to be participating in COP27 this year and to be part of the climate action dialogue. At SODIC, we have started taking serious steps towards a sustainability-led growth strategy. We have just undergone a companywide ESG assessment, measuring our carbon footprint to be able to set meaningful carbon reduction targets over the coming years. As part of our ESG strategy, we are prioritizing green building design, as well as retrofitting our existing operational projects. As a real estate developer, we are fully committed to developing sustainable communities that will continue to thrive well into the future, creating long-term economic, social, and environmental value.”

Reiterating the role of decarbonization pathways in supporting the economy, Dr. Rooke stated, “Decarbonization pathways are essential tools to help financial institutions and companies assess how and where capital should flow into building a low-carbon, resilient economy. They provide a link between desired emissions reductions outcomes and the decarbonization levels required.”

Among the panel’s fundamental discussions was the need for financial institutions to decarbonize their own balance sheets while helping other real economy businesses down the same path. The complexity of decarbonization and the need for multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration lead to discussions on increasing mandates on financial institutions in Africa and expanding their involvement in the process. Moreover, and considering their notable influence, commercial banks can lead this transformation and facilitate decarbonization of corporates and, eventually, the real economy overall. The panel also presented real case studies and experiences in green built environment and energy solutions using interactive dialogue between banks, corporates, and subject matter experts.

CIB is leveraging its longstanding expertise in sustainability and its membership in the Capital Mobilization workstream under the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero (GFANZ) to advance the region’s decarbonization goals and extend its support to stakeholders to achieve sustainable growth.

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