COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum gathers world leaders to asses progress on climate action

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum gathers world leaders to asses progress on climate action
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Updated 21 November 2023

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum gathers world leaders to asses progress on climate action

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum gathers world leaders to asses progress on climate action

The inaugural COP28 Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, hosted by the COP28 Presidency, will open on Nov. 30 at Expo City, Dubai.

The forum, taking place from Dec. 1-2 alongside the World Climate Action Summit, will convene more than 1,000 global heads of state, government officials, business CEOs, philanthropists and heads of NGOs seeking to accelerate and showcase progress on climate targets and industry transition through dynamic public, private, philanthropy collaboration. This first-of-its-kind multi-stakeholder engagement forum is driven by the UAE’s ambition to host an inclusive climate conference that marshals full and broad support with engagement from all regions of the world.

COP28 President Dr. Sultan Al-Jaber said: “We are committed to hosting a fully inclusive COP, and it would be impossible to do this without the vital input of our business and philanthropy communities. The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum at COP28, is a key part of our presidency’s agenda, and will help deliver concrete outcomes from the private and philanthropic sectors. The time is now for businesses and philanthropists to step up and play a leading role in helping the world meet net-zero pathways.”

The forum has announced “A Showcase Compendium of Collective Action” that details initiatives and high-level outcomes underpinned by the COP28 Action Agenda’s four key pillars of Energy Transition, Climate Finance, People and Nature, and Inclusion.

The showcase sets out initiatives that are working to harness the power of global decision-makers across public, private and philanthropic sectors to urgently tackle the climate crisis, achieve net-zero emissions, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity. Examples of these initiatives to be platformed at the forum include:

  • The Climate Investment Platform: A climate tech fund to scale up proven climate technologies in the Global South focusing on emissions reduction.
  • The Climate and Nature Moonshots: Funding for innovation projects focused on coral restoration and energy transitions.
  • The First Movers Coalition: A coalition that commits to purchasing products/services based on clean technologies to support the decarbonization of high emitting industrial sectors.
  • The Indigenous People’s Outcome: A fund to provide direct financing for indigenous peoples and organizations, to help them protect and restore nature and biodiversity.

COP28 Special Representative for Business and Philanthropy and Chair of the Forum Badr Jafar said: “We are starting to create real and meaningful progress toward the green transition by putting the private sector at the heart of the conversation. Our action-oriented agenda directed toward the world’s top decision-makers, aims to zero in on where public-business-philanthropic partnerships can accelerate, replicate, and scale while shifting the dialogue from billions to the trillions that are required.”

The forum’s strategic delivery partner is the Sustainable Markets Initiative. Jennifer Jordan-Saifi, CEO of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, said: “A sustainable future is the growth story of our time. To seize it, we need to define and align country, industry, and financial roadmaps. We also need to recognize and celebrate the steps leaders, companies and investors are making in the right direction. The COP28 Business Philanthropy and Climate Forum is a unique opportunity for the world’s top decision-makers to work with their peers to raise ambition, assess progress and hold up the mirror of accountability.”

Additional forum delivery partners include: International Finance Corporation, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development — Network of Foundations Working for Development, World Economic Forum, Asian Development Bank, Africa Finance Corporation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IDB Invest, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and XPRIZE.

GBS-Fujifilm partnership to redefine KSA office tech landscape

GBS-Fujifilm partnership to redefine KSA office tech landscape
Updated 10 December 2023

GBS-Fujifilm partnership to redefine KSA office tech landscape

GBS-Fujifilm partnership to redefine KSA office tech landscape

According to a report by IMarcGroup, the GCC commercial printing market, of which Saudi Arabia is the largest and leading market, reached SR29 billion ($7.73 billion) in 2022 and is expected to grow to SR34.5 billion by 2028, exhibiting a CAGR of 2.82 percent during 2023-2028. The Kingdom’s printing sector, bolstered by the presence of more than 1.2 million SMEs and the opening of new offices, is expected to see a healthy increase in print volume, aligning with the region’s robust economic growth.

In a significant move, Gulf Business Solutions has partnered with global innovator Fujifilm to introduce state-of-the-art multi-function printers to the Kingdom. This collaboration marks the introduction of Fujifilm’s advanced integrated office technology and office printers in Saudi Arabia.

The partnership sees GBS’ expertise and history in managed print services play a pivotal role in making it a strategic and robust partner, able to deliver a comprehensive printing solution such as Fujifilm’s. This new solution utilizes innovative LED technology, which manages to achieve higher standards of image quality with unmatched precision and higher operational efficiency, while maintaining environmental sustainability.

The cutting-edge hardware of Fujifilm’s printers combined with the sophisticated MPS software provided by GBS means customers get access to an integrated and end-to-end printing solution offering unmatched efficiency and effectiveness in the market. Furthermore, Fujifilm has earned a solid reputation for reliability and expertise in improving work processes in Japan, throughout Asia Pacific and globally.

Abdulrahman Majdi, country manager of GBS, said: “Our belief is that the Saudi market should have access to the finest and most advanced solutions and so GBS will collaborate with key stakeholders within Saudi sectors, building strong partnerships to drive the adoption of managed print services contracts and Fujifilm’s MFP technology.”

He added: “Fujifilm’s MFP technology is exactly that and is capable of completely redefining workplaces and efficiency in workflows. This partnership represents our commitment to redefining this market and the integrated office technology solutions sector as a whole by introducing this first-of-its-kind technology in the Kingdom.”

On the training front, GBS is setting up a comprehensive help desk and technical support system, along with training for key users and system administrators during implementation. “Remote monitoring, diagnostics and support for the MFPs under contract, along with MPS software updates, are part of our commitment to our clients,” Majdi said.

Commenting on the motivation behind the partnership, Majdi pointed to the partnership’s potential impact on the Saudi market, including contributions to cost reduction, asset utilization, document security, office workflow integrations and support for clients.

Chris Darnley, general manager at Fujifilm, said: “We believe that partnering with GBS, known for their deep market penetration and expertise in the Kingdom, to bring Fujifilm’s MFPs will be an appealing service offering for customers. The Saudi market is ripe as ever for the latest technological advancements.” 

Highlighting the partnership’s alignment with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, he added: “We look forward to our products contributing to the utmost efficiency of businesses in Saudi Arabia, in line with Vision 2030. We intend to assist in improving the Saudi business communication environment through integration with the latest technological offerings.”

The strategic partnership between GBS and Fujifilm, which combines GBS’ market expertise with Fujifilm’s innovative MFP technology, is poised to become a key driver of technological advancement and sustainable growth, redefining the landscape of office technology solutions in the Kingdom.

British Council expands access to English language education

British Council expands access to English language education
Updated 10 December 2023

British Council expands access to English language education

British Council expands access to English language education

Last week marked a significant announcement as the British Council joined forces with Downe House Riyadh School to announce the expansion of English language education. The signing ceremony was attended by notable figures, including Lloyd Anderson, director of the British Council, and Faisal bin Abdulrahman bin Muaammar, chairman of the board of Downe House Riyadh School.

In response to the growing demand for English language education in Riyadh, the British Council is taking proactive steps to meet the needs of Saudi youth by establishing new English teaching delivery locations.

Anderson said: “I am delighted that we are signing this agreement with Downe House Riyadh School. At the British Council, we always look for ways to provide more English language teaching opportunities in new locations. Through this agreement, we hope to make our English courses more easily accessible to different communities. I am very grateful to the school management for their support, and I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with them.”

Adele O’Doherty, principal of Downe House School, expressed her delight at signing the agreement with the British Council. She emphasized the school’s readiness to host likeminded education organizations, which share a similar vision to enhance the British educational landscape within the Kingdom. She particularly welcomed the British Council’s programs aimed at teaching and strengthening English language provision in Riyadh.

British Council courses are delivered by professionals with more than 80 years of global leadership experience in English teaching, ensuring that learning is engaging, effective, and relevant. With children, the focus is on literacy, confidence, and communicative skills, while courses for adults incorporate academic skills development and soft skills.

Starting from January 2024, British Council English courses will be available at Downe House Riyadh School for both students and external learners of all ages. This initiative is the first-of-its-kind in Saudi Arabia, and there are plans to expand to other locations.

Navigating turbulence: CEOs brace for global uncertainty ahead

Navigating turbulence: CEOs brace for global uncertainty ahead
Updated 10 December 2023

Navigating turbulence: CEOs brace for global uncertainty ahead

Navigating turbulence: CEOs brace for global uncertainty ahead

The global business community is grappling with numerous challenges to growth, including geopolitical uncertainty, politicization, and increasing stakeholder expectations regarding environmental, social, and governance, and generative artificial intelligence.

CEOs can drive a return to a more equitable, prosperous planet. The key to success will be an unrelenting focus on long-term strategic planning and commitment to avoiding the pitfalls of short-term, reactive leadership inherent during periods of deep uncertainty. 

Economic Outlook

Global confidence in the economy remains broadly unchanged year over year, surpassing pre-pandemic confidence levels. Almost three in four global CEOs are confident about the economy over the next three years, compared to 71 percent last year. The optimism reflects a clear resilience and a collective focus to get the world back on a sustainable, long-term growth trajectory. 

However, CEOs’ confidence in their own company growth prospects has dipped to a three-year low, with 77 percent expressing confidence this year compared to 85 percent at the beginning of 2020.

The shift in CEOs’ perception of risks to business growth is noteworthy. Geopolitics and political uncertainty now top the list, proving that these are not merely short-term considerations. 

In a geopolitically fragmented world, CEOs often become de facto political players. Their approach should elevate politics on the boardroom agenda while also creating a strategy around geopolitical risk that includes specialized insights, scenario planning and stress testing. 

The top 10 risks this year were geopolitics and political uncertainty, operational issues, emerging/disruptive technology, supply chain, regulatory concerns, environmental/climate change, interest rates, cybersecurity, reputational risk and talent. 

As CEOs navigate and respond to these challenges, they recognize that demonstrating personal integrity is key to building trust. Almost 71 percent express willingness to divest a profitable part of their business if it jeopardizes their reputation.

Additionally, 61 percent are prepared to take a public stance on politically or socially contentious issues, despite potential board concerns.

Disruptive Technology 

AI is transforming various fields, permeating everyday life, businesses, and society. As tools like Bard and ChatGPT have gained prominence, global CEOs increasingly recognize generative AI’s seemingly limitless potential and are keeping their foot on the gas in terms of their investment and exploration of the technology.

Global CEOs are making generative AI a top investment priority. According to the KPMG 2023 CEO survey, 70 percent are investing heavily in generative AI as their competitive edge for the future, with 52 percent expecting a return on their investment in three to five years. 

KPMG’s recent global tech report found that 55 percent of organizations said progress toward automation had been delayed because they were concerned about how AI systems make decisions.

Despite a willingness to push forward with their investments, global CEOs recognize that emerging technologies can introduce risks that should be addressed. Fifty-seven percent cite ethical challenges as the top concern when implementing generative AI, followed closely by a lack of regulation. 

As scrutiny and regulation of AI increases, organizations may need policies and practices they can confidently articulate and apply.


Notably, global CEOs are steadfast in signaling their support of pre-pandemic ways of working, with 64 percent anticipating a full return to office is only three years away. This remains consistent with their views in the 2022 CEO Outlook. Nearly 87 percent of CEOs say they are likely to reward employees who try to come into the office with favorable assignments, raises or promotions. 

This sentiment underscores the persistence of traditional office-centric thinking among CEOs. It comes against a backdrop of the debate surrounding hybrid working, which has positively impacted productivity over the past three years and has strong employee support, particularly among the younger generation of workers. 


ESG is increasingly recognized as an integral part of corporate strategy, ensuring resilience and long-term growth amidst geopolitical and economic challenges. 

Despite a polarizing debate surrounding the term ESG, CEOs recognize that it remains an integral part of their business operations and corporate strategies and are taking a more outcomes-based approach. 

More than two-thirds (69 percent) of global CEOs have fully embedded ESG into their business as a means to create value. 

While CEOs believe they are a few years away from seeing returns on ESG investments, they recognize its significance with customers and on brand reputation. However, 68 percent admit that their current ESG progress may not withstand potential scrutiny from stakeholders or shareholders. Balancing progress with business growth remains challenging, as indicated by more than half of senior executives in the ESG Assurance Maturity Index.

The writer is chairman and CEO of KPMG in Saudi Arabia and Levant.

Foodics unveils new financial management suite to help businesses sustain and grow cash flow

Ahmad AlZaini, Chief Operating Officer of Foodics
Ahmad AlZaini, Chief Operating Officer of Foodics
Updated 10 December 2023

Foodics unveils new financial management suite to help businesses sustain and grow cash flow

Ahmad AlZaini, Chief Operating Officer of Foodics
  • Foodics is pivoting to help F&B businesses with their F&B technology and end-to-end operations and financial management.
  • The Foodics Financial Management Suite covers the process from revenue generation to expense management, which is key in helping F&B business owners to effectively manage their cash flow cycle.
  • New product suite unveiled at the second Foodics Annual Product Event held in Riyadh on Dec. 6, 2023 - "Boundless 23."

Foodics, MENA’s leading cloud-based restaurant management and payment tech provider, has unveiled its new financial management product suite at Foodics “Boundless”, the second annual product event.

Foodics also revealed that it is pivoting to help food and beverage businesses not only with their tech but also their end-to-end operations and financial management.

The event was held on Dec. 6 in Riyadh at Muvi Cinemas, where their film screening was attended by over 500 guests including VIP dignitaries, restaurant owners, business influencers, investors, strategic tech ecosystem partners and government representatives.

Ahmad Al-Zaini, Foodics cofounder and CEO said: “In our sector, cash and profit margins are the conclusive proof points of a successful restaurant. For that reason, our ultimate goal is to help our customers enhance their overall financial health.”

Speaking about the new launch, he added: “Our new financial management product suite gives them the ability to sustain operations, meet obligations and fuel growth, directing their cash flow towards growth and revenue generating investments. Financial health in turns gives them the power to adapt, evolve, and pivot in response to market dynamics. Our commitment is that Foodics is more than a software application, it's a promise. It’s our word, plain and true, backing every move F&B operators make.”

Financial health is a very complex matrix that is not all just about profit and loss but a dynamic interplay of variables. From sales, expenses, inventory, payroll, investments, through to customer experiences, these variables are interlinked, influencing and relying on one another. If one thread is weak, the entire financial structure of the business can be compromised.

Opening a restaurant remains indeed one of the riskiest businesses, with multiple research sources revealing that over 60 percent of new restaurants have negative cash flow within their first year, and nearly 80 percent shut down before their fifth anniversary.

Among the reasons are choosing an unsuitable location, poor marketing, struggling with operational efficiencies or not maintaining food quality. However, the most common denominator for businesses shutting down is their weakness in cash flow management.

With the new restaurant operations and financial management solution, Foodics aims to equip business owners with an interconnected ecosystem of tools that helps them grasp full command of their business, owning their cash flow cycle, customer touchpoints and back of house operations.

These include Payment enablement sales touchpoints for quick-service restaurants and dine-in that enhance the dining experience, Loyalty Programs for efficient growth through existing clientele, Accounting And Payroll to automate financial operations and get a grip on profit margins, Purchase Order financing by Foodics Capital to get instant access funds towards operating expense, and MyFoodics App for a more convenient and autonomous restaurant management experience.

Formally licensed as a Fintech company by the Saudi Central Bank, Foodic’s vision is to build a complete restaurant management ecosystem that enables owners to run their operations seamlessly and grow their business.

For more information, visit

‘Made in Anji’ expo to showcase China’s innovation in furniture and beyond

‘Made in Anji’ expo to showcase China’s innovation in furniture and beyond
Updated 10 December 2023

‘Made in Anji’ expo to showcase China’s innovation in furniture and beyond

‘Made in Anji’ expo to showcase China’s innovation in furniture and beyond

The renowned “Home of Intelligent Furniture” and the “City of Chair” is set to make a significant mark in the global furniture industry with the upcoming “Made in Anji Furniture Expo.”

The event is proof of Anji’s commitment to innovation and quality, positioning itself at the forefront of global chair and furniture production in the GCC market.

Event Highlights:

This exclusive expo will gather high-profile companies from Anji, showcasing a wide array of top-quality home and office chairs, furniture, home decor, tea, and bamboo products. There will also be several demos of bamboo handicrafts and tea tasting to experience the bits of Anji City in China.

  • Date: Dec. 11-13
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Venue: Expo Center Sharjah, UAE

Business Opportunities:

Anji City is actively seeking buyers and partners in the Middle East, making this expo an ideal platform for businesses seeking innovative furniture solutions and partnerships. Everyone is invited to visit and register for the event. Upon registration, attendees will receive an exclusive gift pack from Anji.

Special Offers for Attendees:

Not only will registered attendees have the opportunity to explore Anji’s broad offerings, but they also stand a chance to win prizes. By registering and attending, participants enter a draw to win:

  • Three iPhone 15 Pro Max phones
  • 100,000 dirhams ($27,200) worth of premium furniture

Register today at