DUBAI: As the world emerges from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and embraces a more sustainable economic outlook, issues such as technological and funding challenges still remain, according to speakers at this week’s UK/Saudi Sustainable Investment Forum 2021.
Saudi and British investors, together with government representatives, attended the online forum and discussed the partnership and investment opportunities available to support the drive toward developing a greener and less oil-dependent global economy.
During her opening remarks, Lubna Olayan, chair of the Saudi British Bank, praised moves toward increasing the recognition for environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues among the global investment community.
The British and Saudi governments have much in common when it comes to developing their sustainability strategies, according to UK Minister of Investment Lord Grimstone of Boscobel.
The minister outlined how the UK has put in place a number of policies to revamp the economy, including a goal to generate enough electricity from offshore wind to power all UK homes.
Louis Taylor, who sits on the UK Department of Trade’s Board and Executive Committee as director-general and is CEO of UK Export Finance, Britain’s export credit agency, said the London government’s goals are feasible.
Beverly Gower-Jones echoed Taylor’s comments about the technological challenges, especially with regard to achieving net-zero carbon emissions.
She also highlighted the fact that many small and medium-sized companies in this sector still face a lot of financing challenges and called on venture capital firms to look at investing in more revenue-generating small companies that are seeking to develop the technology needed to achieve these goals.