Century Financial’s third roundtable graced by women leaders propels sustainability goals; highlights measures to drive net zero

An essential highlight of the series was the unique role that women leaders play in pioneering sustainability initiatives

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Published: Tue 10 Oct 2023, 4:51 PM

Century Financial reiterated its commitment to making Sustainability an integral part of businesses with the third roundtable discussion titled 'Sustainability & U — Catalysts for Change: Women Leaders Pioneering the Path to Net Zero'. Held on September 28, the much-anticipated event was driven by 12 influential women leaders from diverse industries. The collaboration aimed at providing a platform to facilitate actionable insights and further develop key strategies to help business leaders navigate the complex yet rewarding path to achieving net zero emissions.

An essential highlight of the series was the unique role that women leaders play in pioneering sustainability initiatives. Leaders in attendance shared real experiences and insights that helped them further build the vision for a net-zero-emissions world. Bringing in different perspectives, the leaders discussed key topics such as increasing regulatory demands, evolving consumer expectations, and the financial benefits of early adoption. In addition, the discussion also highlighted how innovation played an unparalleled role in sustainability efforts. Tools like ESG metrics, lifecycle assessments, and the importance of aligning with long-term financial health were emphasised to demonstrate sustainability initiatives' ROI. Keeping in mind a greener economy, factors imperative to strike the right balance between business growth and sustainability were included in the agenda.

Opening the roundtable discussion Sameera Fernandes, director – corporate affairs and sustainability, Century Financial commented, “Sustainability becomes achievable at the intersection of economic growth, environmental protection, equality and social balance. The Conference of the Parties (COP28) isn’t just an action call but a genesis where globally, the momentum begins by going back to basics and understanding sustainability the way it should be. Beyond the crucial investment frontiers in sustainability, the idea is to find out where it is required the most to mitigate climate change and accelerate the transition to a greener and cleaner economy. Be it the US$4.5b investment in African states, Iceland’s research on fossil fuels, the Solar Parks of Morocco, the G20 Summit’s focus on solar alliance and Hydrogen as a future fuel; all these initiatives indicate that the entire process has been thought through at a global level. Almost 68 per cent of the world is transitioning to renewable energy aligning with the Net Zero 2050 goal. We have made a start for measurable impact as COP28 inspires organizations like Century Financial to take the lead and help leaders collaborate to achieve Net Zero."

Adding further Bal Krishen, chairman and CEO, Century Financial, said: "Ever since we embarked on this collaborative journey with business representatives, we were eager to know more about women in leadership as ESG accelerators. Honouring the diverse mix of industry leaders that we had at our roundtable, the knowledge shared on the social and economic benefits of a sustainable recovery will help the fraternity take action toward net zero emissions. The actionable insights will accelerate progress, raise ambitions to achieve ESG, and protect people and the planet from climate change impact."

The 12-member all-women team of panelists had in attendance Dr Elena Zhukovskaya, founder – Advanced Sustainability Innovation Center, Dr Miniya Chaterjee, CEO – Sustain Labs Paris, Fadwa Sahly, UN Women & Managing Director urBIZassist, Fatima Alloghani – director of Emiratisation, Majid Al Futtaim, Eng. Maitha Alblooshi, Scrum Master at ENBD and founder of Be You, Amal Al Redha – director of Fundraising, Dubai Cares, Manal Bahman, director of operations – Emirates Nature WWF, Yasmine Barbir – FMCG and ESG Consultant, Cara Nazari – CEO, AmCham, Saima Khan – Global partnerships manager, Penny Appeal and United Nations Delegate at Youth Assembly and Farah Naz — director of ESG and Innovation, AECOM.

Speaking of diversity and Net Zero, Stephanie Asgill, director — sustainability and gender equality at Dubai Holding, said: "At Dubai Holding we believe incorporating women into leadership roles is a catalyst for fostering creativity and driving sustainable solutions. According to a Harvard Business Review study, women in executive positions have the transformative ability to reshape a company's approach to challenges, such as, sustainability. By promoting diversity and inclusion in leadership, Dubai Holding seeks to activate a spectrum of perspectives that fuels innovation and collaboration, essential elements for building a sustainable world."

Highlighting, the role the community and industries in the region, play in supporting sustainability goals, Anita Nouri, CEO of Green Energy Solutions & Sustainability LLC, said: “Global climate agreements such as the Paris Agreement emphasise the importance of reducing methane emissions as a strategy to limit global warming. The Net Zero goal for 2050 is an initiative put in place that will help us achieve this goal gradually. The path to combat the ongoing emission crisis is multi-faceted and not just one single solution. We are lucky to have tremendous support from the UAE government to explore how to capture carbon, reduce emissions, make industry take responsibility and identify their emission levels. All these initiatives together, and most importantly reducing the amount of waste we generate and supporting recycling and reduction technologies, will help us achieve the lofty targets we are after. Together we can make a significant contribution to mitigating climate change, improving air quality, and promoting sustainable waste management practices for the generations to come."

A range of critical topics were explored to highlight the necessary transformation in industries to mitigate its impact on the planet and collaborate for a green economy. The roundtable concluded with a call to action, emphasising the importance of continued collaboration and the need for robust policies and frameworks to support ESG.

Aligned with their vision to bring about awareness and suggest guidelines to embrace Sustainability; Century Financial has released its Sustainable Policy announcing a gamut of initiatives undertaken for a greener future. The leading financial services brand believes in making sustainability a business imperative and reiterates that companies committed to sustainability are better positioned to succeed in the long run. By integrating ESG and sustainability in the overall business strategy; organisations can maximise opportunities for net zero emissions.

Interestingly, Century Financial’s efforts toward a sustainable future were recently recognised by the Gulf Sustainability Awards 2023 where they were honoured with the 'Most Innovative ESG Initiative' for the ongoing roundtable series.

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