The country’s initiatives on sustainable development have been showcased at the ‘2nd World Sustainable Development Forum’ held recently in Durango, Mexico.
During a panel discussion, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman shared Qatar’s contributions to environmental protection through a video conference facility from Doha on the topic ‘Low Carbon Options for Business and Industry’.
On the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and initiatives of Qatar, Seetharaman said His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, in his address to the United Nations in September 2019, promised to work for the climate, and the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar will work on encouraging and promoting the green investment activity and adopt low-carbon economic growth.
Seetharaman said this will help in achieving climate objectives of the Paris Agreement, as well as support sustainable development objectives and investments in the sustainable natural resources.
“Qatar has put many integrated plans and objectives for sustainable development and is working in the clean and renewable energy with plans to generate 200 megawatts of solar power during the next two years and that will be increased to 500 megawatts.
“The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be the first ‘carbon neutral’ championship by using solar power in stadiums and using energy and water-saving, cooling, and lighting technology,” Seetharaman said.
He also highlighted the key initiatives of Doha Bank on Green Banking. He said Doha Bank has promoted paperless banking, Internet banking, SMS banking, phone banking, and ATM banking, as well as online channels such as Doha Souq, E-Remittances, and online bill payments. It also launched the Green Credit Card and Green Account.
Doha Bank has a dedicated Green Banking website, which integrates the bank’s initiatives in promoting environmental safety with the community by reaching out to both the public and private sectors. Doha Bank conducted the Green Quiz with Global warming and climatic changes as a central theme to spread awareness in various countries.
Seetharaman said Doha Bank was involved in project financing for supporting the construction of Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation’s Water Security Mega Reservoirs Project. It has also provided term loan for Emirates Central Cooling Systems, which provides Efficient District Cooling Services (DCS) to developments in Dubai and the surrounding region.
Doha Bank has tracked the developments pertaining to various Conference of Parties (COP) meetings of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In 2019, Doha Bank has signed to partner with Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (Gord) to explore areas of mutual collaboration in sustainability and carbon neutrality, Seetharaman said.
On the importance of the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) framework, Seetharaman said the ESG criteria is a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially-conscious investors use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria look at how a company performs as a steward of the natural environment. Social criteria examine how a company manages relationships with its employees, suppliers, customers and the communities where it operates.
“Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights. Such efforts often include prohibition of certain types of transactions, portfolio reviews to gain an understanding of ESG risk exposure and engaging clients to help with potential improvements.
“Hence it is both a social good and risk framework. The Qatar Stock Exchange introduced this ESG Guidance to assist listed companies wishing to incorporate ESG reporting into their existing reporting processes,” Seetharaman said.