16/04/2018 08:01 AST

Senior government officials, industry leaders, policymakers, scientists, academics and investors in sustainable business are set to participate in the Green Business Summit 2018 as primary keynote speakers. Organized by The Economist Events, part of the global English-language weekly newspaper, the first-of-its-kind Summit will be held on Tuesday (April 17) in Abu Dhabi, marking the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as a global priority for environment conservation.

A stimulating and eye-opening event for policymakers and business professionals, the Summit will feature internationally recognized keynote speakers, all experts in their fields, sharing insights and knowledge on the challenges and opportunities of developing and encouraging sustainable business.

Leading the much-anticipated first business panel of the day titled ‘From responsibility to leadership’ will be Razan Al Mubarak, Secretary General, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, Kaleefa Salem Al Mansouri, Undersecretary, Department of Economic Development Abu Dhabi and Ahmed Abdellatif, Chairman, CTC Group, addressing the prevailing short-termism that dominates markets. During the session, the panelists will discuss the unprecedented growth of corporate responsibility, which is now mainstream, and the different ways in which sustainability can be incorporated into long-term business strategies.

The first of a series of three short, focused sessions ‘Pieces of the puzzle: Shipping’, will be led by Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Ports. As the home to Jebel Ali and Khalifa Ports, the shipping industry plays an integral role in the UAE’s economy and Al Shamsi will broaden the debate on the number of ways the shipping industry can adopt environment-friendly practices.

Waddah Ghanem Al Hashmi, Executive Director, EHSSQ and Corporate Affairs, Emirates National Oil Company along with Dany Qian, Vice President of Jinko Solar will lead a session titled ‘Pieces of the puzzle: Energy’. As the second of the series, the session will see Al Hashmi and Qian interview individuals across different industries about the challenges they have faced while transitioning to a more sustainable business model. They will further debate the role green energy plays in the MENA region, as Gulf economies continue to diversify beyond the oil industry.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said “our capacity for innovation must exceed our capacity for growth if we are to reverse a trend of environmental degradation. EAD is keen to foster a culture of innovation, critical in finding solutions to meet the future's environmental challenges. We think that technological innovation can help us to prepare for the future but we also believe that a change in mindsets is necessary to understand that managing all capital assets sustainably, including natural capital, is the responsibility of every business. We hope the Green Business Summit will help us to advance this notion that the economy and the environment can go hand in hand.”

She concluded “action speaks louder than words and to accelerate the UAE industry’s green transformation during the Green Business Summit we will announce that the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment (MOCCAE) and the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi will jointly conduct a study on the state of resource efficiency in the UAE in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). We will also announce that the Department of Economic Development (DED) and the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi will partner to create the EnviroTech Awards as part of the Technology Innovation Pioneer (TIP) programme initiated by the Ministry of Economy and DED to accelerate the development of technology and innovation in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE. We very much look forward to working with these institutions on these important endeavors”.

Commenting on the Summit, Gregg Carlstrom, Middle East correspondent for The Economist, said “we are delighted to host the first-ever Green Business Summit 2018 in Abu Dhabi. The inaugural conference will foster important dialogue on the necessity of protecting the environment across global economies that have experienced dramatic growth over the past few decades, such as the UAE. We look forward to welcoming attendees and debating the issues at the heart of the sustainability industry.”

The Green Business Summit 2018, hosted by The Economist Events, is being sponsored by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) and co-sponsored by the Department of Economic Development (DED), with supporting partner Emirates Wildlife Society and media partner The Business Year.

The Summit will run from 8:00am to 5:30pm at the Rosewood Hotel, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi.

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