Bahraini leaders convene to discuss ESG in financial services

30 May 2022 3 min. read

Last week, over 80 senior leaders from across Bahrain’s financial services sector came together to attend a KPMG seminar dedicated to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) within the industry.

Held at Downtown Rotana Hotel, the event provided participants with an overview of some of the top ESG trends in developments within global and domestic financial services, at a time when topics such as sustainability, climate-related risks, diversity & inclusion and social impact are becoming an increasingly prominent part of boardroom agenda.

“In financial services, ESG is increasingly becoming a critical business requirement, both from a regulatory as well as a stakeholder standpoint”, said Khalid Hamad Al-Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain, in in his opening remarks.

Khalid Hamad Al-Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain

During his keynote, Al-Hamad reinforced how ESG will shape the sector going forward and how the topic will influence the future of banking models and services. “The climate change  journey is full of economic, social and political challenges which require detailed action plans from banks.”

Meanwhile, he stressed that progress should be a collaborative effort together with the wider private sector and governments, who “need to work together to realise the national ESG strategy and action plan, to make a real difference.”

In the second keynote, Jeyapriya Partiban, Partner and Head of Advisory at KPMG in Bahrain, built on Al-Hamad’s opening to state, “Taking a holistic approach towards ESG related challenges and opportunities can provide financial institutions with a real competitive edge within the marketplace by delivering on clear and tangible outcomes that move towards effective, efficient, and sustainable policies and processes within the organisation.”

Jeyapriya Partiban, Partner and Head of Advisory, KPMG Bahrain

She added that ‘going green’ is no longer just a “nice to have showcase of doing good”, but nowadays a blatant approach that can “provide financial services institutions with a real strategic advantage within the marketplace.”

Further reading: Jeyapriya Partiban: A new way to think about ESG and value for banks.

Making progress on the ESG agenda is easier said than done. During the event, subject matter experts from KPMG provided insights relating to various areas of ESG, including how the topic can be embedded within strategic planning processes, KPI definition and setting, assurance requirements, regulatory standards, and how technology can provide an edge.

Partiban stressed the importance of “getting started” and “learning by doing”, while making sure that there is “continued education on the subject, for employees to realise how important the topic is and how they can contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable development goals.”