ABU DHABI, UAE, March 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
Hosted by the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG), the fourth annual Abu Dhabi Sustainable Business Leadership Forum started in the capital today, bringing together some of the greatest names and companies at the forefront of sustainable business across the region.
Up to 200 of the region's business leaders participated in a range of workshops, meetings and plenary sessions to spur on progress and sustainability work in the Emirate. The forum helped to promote UAE leadership sustainability initiatives, engaged thought leadership on key sustainability topics and raised awareness on the latest global trends.
During the event, which was attended by Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), the Arabic translation of the Natural Capital Protocol was launched. The launch is part of a wider collaborative effort between EAD, ADSG and the Natural Capital Coalition (the Coalition) to commence a series of workshops in the Emirate to engage with business on the concept of natural capital.
The Coalition is a global collaboration between more than 270 organisations, with wide representation from across the global economy. 38 diverse Coalition organisations came together to deliver the world's first Natural Capital Protocol, and almost 500 organisations provided input over the course of the two-year project. Due to exceptionally strong demand from organisations around the world, the Protocol will be translated into a number of languages in 2018.
The Arabic translation, which has been developed by the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group, in collaboration with the Natural Capital Coalition and the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency, is the first translation in the Arabic script, and positions Abu Dhabi as a leader in natural capital approaches in the Gulf Region.
Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD's Secretary General, said: "Many of our sustainability challenges can be addressed through natural capital approaches, to help organisations become more resilient, minimise risk and protect the environment. It is, therefore, my great pleasure to introduce you to the Natural Capital Protocol - the culmination of a collaborative project to help organisations better understand how their continued success depends on the health of natural capital, and whether they are having a positive or negative impact on this health."
Furthermore, speaking at the event, Mark Gough, the Coalition's Executive Director said: "As the demand for the Natural Capital Protocol continues to grow around the world, Protocol translations will become ever more crucial as a way to ensure that we are taking natural capital approaches to scale. We are grateful to the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group and the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi for stepping up to deliver the Protocol translation in the Arabic script."
Commenting on the Forum, Adel Ahmed Albuainain, CEO, Dolphin Energy Limited, said: "This year's theme is of particular interest to us because as a company that already places a lot of value on natural capital, we are looking forward to contributing to the discussions, sharing our insights and collaborating with our peers. We are also keen to learn more about how we can use this platform to enhance our relationship with the environment, be more efficient and cost effective and drive our sustainability performance in the years ahead."
The Forum also highlighted the work the ADSG has been doing on the energy efficiency front, though a collaborative effort with the Energy Institute in the UK. Louise Kingham OBE FEI, Chief Executive, Energy Institute (EI) said: "The EI is pleased to see the focus on Natural Capital at the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Business Leadership Forum. The transition towards the sustainable use of energy is one of the great challenges facing the world today and, as a critical natural asset, energy forms a fundamental component of a Natural Capital way of thinking. The energy efficiency workshop run by the EI as part of the programme identified energy saving opportunities for the EAD and other government entities. We look forward to seeing those opportunities come to fruition."
Helen Slinger, CFO Leadership Network Director, the Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S), said: "Better information enables better decision making. The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations set out a consistent approach to assessing and disclosing climate-related risks and opportunities within mainstream financial filings. This allows improved company resilience, informed investor decisions and better evaluation of risks and exposures. A4S is supporting the TCFD by running implementation workshops and galvanizing CFOs, Accounting Bodies and Pension Fund Chairs to publicly commit to implementing the recommendations."
Linden Coppell, Etihad Airways' Head of Sustainability, said: "Etihad Airways is very pleased to support the Sustainable Business Leadership Forum which will bring to the forefront so many important industry topics and issues. There are so many world-leading initiatives currently taking place in Abu Dhabi and the forum - with its focus on natural resources - will make a strong contribution in this area and Etihad Airways, which has pioneered the development and use of biofuels in commercial aviation, is delighted to be playing a central role."
About the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG)
The Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) is a membership organisation whose mission is to promote sustainability management in Abu Dhabi by providing learning and knowledge sharing opportunities for government, private companies and not for profit organisations in a spirit of cooperation and open dialogue. The ADSG was set up by EAD in 2008, with the support of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, as a forum of members who have signed the ADSG Declaration, committing to adopt best practices of sustainability management and reporting and to actively participate in ADSG activities. The ADSG is open to new members willing to practice and champion sustainability in Abu Dhabi in a spirit of cooperation and open dialogue www.adsg.ae.
About the Natural Capital Coalition (The Coalition):
The Natural Capital Coalition (the Coalition) has developed the Natural Capital Protocol (hereafter "the Protocol") to make the value of natural capital visible in business decision making. The Coalition is made up of over 270 organizations from a wide range of stakeholder groups including conservation, science and academia, business, associations, standard-setting, finance, accountancy and policy/government. While the Coalition is primarily directed towards solutions for business, it is also a broad 'Coalition' as its name suggests, creating a space where all interested parties from all stakeholder groups can work together to create vibrant societies and productive economies through the recognition of the value of natural capital, and the inclusion of this value in organizational decision making. The Coalition's Natural Capital Protocol and associated sector guides have been developed through a unique collaborative process, with 38 organizations coming together under contract to develop something for the public good. The Protocol, along with sector guides for the Apparel and Food & Beverage sectors were launched in July 2016. The Protocol aims to support better decisions by including how business interacts with natural capital. The Protocol is freely available at http://naturalcapitalcoalition.org/protocol/.
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