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DIFC – the first Global Financial Centre in the region to publish its Sustainable Finance Framework, continues to drive climate action and sustainable development.
• The DIFC Sustainable Finance Framework is an important step for DIFC to raise capital for impact-driven and sustainable projects in and within the Centre, and lead the way on sustainable finance in the region including enhancing transparency and disclosure.
• The DIFC Sustainable Finance Framework received a positive Second Party Opinion review by S&P Global Ratings.
• DIFC is home to Nasdaq Dubai, the largest ESG sukuk market in the world, accounting for approximately 64 per cent of the world’s dollar-denominated sustainable sukuk.
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced its Sustainable Finance Framework (“The Framework”), published in September 2023 with a positive Second Party Opinion review by S&P Global Ratings, which sets out fundraising principles for investments in its environmental and social projects that enable sustainable business operations.
Globally, an estimated USD 3.3-4.5tn per year is required to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This has called forth the sustainable debt market, which has been growing at a rapid pace driven by strong demand from investors and rising expectations for governments and organisations to deliver on their sustainability commitments.
DIFC continues to support growth of the sustainable debt market within Nasdaq Dubai. As of September 2023, DIFC’s Nasdaq Dubai is the largest ESG sukuk market in the world, accounting for approximately 64 per cent of the world’s dollar-denominated sustainable sukuk (USD 16.4bn out of USD 25.8bn) and 46 per cent of the world’s all-currencies sustainable sukuk (USD 17.5bn out of 38.3bn).
S&P Global Ratings Second Party Opinion (SPO), appointed to review the DIFC Sustainable Finance Framework, provided ‘strong’ opinions on its process for project evaluation and selection; and reporting. The SPO provides aligned opinions on Use of Proceeds and Framework Assessment.
According to S&P Global, DIFC's Sustainable Finance Framework is also aligned with international standards including:
- Social Bond Principles (SBP), ICMA, 2023
- Social Loan Principles (SLP), LMA/LSTA/APLMA, 2023
- Green Bond Principles (GBP), ICMA, 2021 (with June 2022 Appendix 1)
- Green Loan Principles (GLP), LMA/LSTA/APLMA, 2023
- Sustainability Bond Guidelines ICMA, 2021
The framework further aligns with DIFC’s Strategy 2030 to drive the future of finance; with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to drive economic growth, innovation, and promote environmentally friendly and energy-efficient businesses; and with the UAE Sustainable Goals 2030.
Announcing the news at the inaugural Future Sustainability Forum today, His Excellency, Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, commented: “DIFC strives to further scale its status as a Global Sustainable Finance Hub, backed by its Strategy 2030, with the aim to invest in growing sustainable finance in Dubai. To enable this, we are leading on several initiatives, such as being the first Global Financial Centre in the region to publish our Sustainable Finance Framework, a positive Second Party Opinion review by S&P Global Ratings. The framework will help raise capital for impact-driven and sustainable projects in and within the Centre, as we continue to lead the way on sustainable finance in the region.”
As the UAE prepares to host the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP28), DIFC’s year-long ‘Path to COP28’ programme, delivered in partnership with the Global Ethical Finance Initiative’s (GEFI), has been building momentum on the critical role of finance in addressing global sustainability challenges ahead of COP28.
As leading global financial centre, DIFC’s Sustainable Finance Framework demonstrates action, and further aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which require consistent finance flows to enable sustainable development.
In addition, DIFC continues to spearhead a range of comprehensive sustainability programmes in the pursuit of a net zero future, including its chairmanship of the Dubai Sustainable Finance Working Group (DSFWG), established in 2019.
DIFC obtained guidance from Standard Chartered Bank in the development of the Sustainable Finance Framework.
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