Bank financing falls short of UAE’s green ambitions

Private-sector environmental initiatives are being hampered by banks’ reluctance to finance clean-energy enterprises in the UAE, according to economists. Economic development is taking its toll on the environment even though the UAE has made progress in reducing its carbon footprint. The country has lowered its annual per capita emission of greenhouse gases to 18.8 tonnes last year from 40 tonnes in 2006, according to the Ministry of Environment. “Although there are some banks that have a green remit, most are failing in their environmental concerns,” said Aisha Al Abdooli, assistant undersecretary of the Green Development Department at the Ministry of Environment and Water. The United Nations Environment Programme is encouraging the banking sector to take a leading role in the development of environmentally-minded businesses. To this end, The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) has been working with global consultancy PwC and the University of Cambridge regarding the role that the lender can play in the clean-energy sector.