COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action
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Updated 02 December 2023
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COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action

COP28 Business & Philanthropy Climate Forum mobilizes $5bn in funding to advance climate action

The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum, COP28’s private-sector engagement platform to convene global business leaders and philanthropists, concluded its first day on Friday, with the announcement of a range of transformative climate and nature initiatives, and commitments to mobilize $5 billion in collective funding.

The forum, held across the COP28 Blue Zone and Green Zone, brought together over 1,300 key stakeholders, including heads of state and government, business CEOs, philanthropists and NGO heads, who assembled to help showcase and accelerate progress on climate targets and industry transitions.

The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum represents a paradigm shift, the first dedicated platform for the private sector and philanthropy to be included in the COP process. The forum included a full-day session in the Green Zone, focused on fostering innovation and driving impact in areas including sustainable climate finance, coral restoration, green technology, energy and industry transition, sustainable food systems, and empowering SMEs.  

The inaugural Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum was formally launched at a royal reception on Nov. 30, held in the presence of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE; King Charles III; and Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, COP28 president.

Addressing the forum, Al-Jaber said: “To fix climate finance, we must leverage the knowledge, resources and power of the private sector to ensure we deliver necessary funding to those in need, particularly in the Global South. COP28 is committed to directing capital from multiple sources to meet the trillions required to attack emissions so we can all shepherd a just, orderly transition.”

COP28 Special Representative for Business and Philanthropy Badr Jafar said: “Business and philanthropy hold great promise to accelerate the achievement of our climate and nature goals. The Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum provides this much-needed inclusive platform for enabling concerted action, breaking down silos across stakeholders and sectors, and connecting private sector leaders from all regions of the world around game-changing outcomes underpinned by the COP28 Action Agenda. Our hope is that future COP presidencies continue to build on this multi-stakeholder platform with a view to harnessing the full potential of private capital and innovation.”

Key visionaries gathered at a panel discussion highlighting the indispensable role of business and philanthropy in addressing the pressing concerns of our environment and moving beyond discussions and toward actions. Speakers at the panel included Brian Moynihan, chair of the board and CEO, Bank of America and chair, Sustainable Markets Initiative; Hana Al-Rostamani, group CEO, First Abu Dhabi Bank; Ruth Porat, president and CIO, CFO, Alphabet and Google; Tony Elumelu, founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation; Laurene Powell Jobs, founder and president, Emerson Collective; and Borge Brende, president, World Economic Forum.

The forum also featured a distinguished panel that discussed blended finance commitments. Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, opened the panel, emphasizing the role of blended finance in securing capital for the green transition. Mark Gallogly, chair of Allied Climate Partners and co-founder of Three Cairns Group, and Tobias C. Pross, CEO of Allianz Global Investors, collectively mobilized $5 billion in funding to unlock $20 billion.

Other esteemed speakers on the day included S. Whipps Jr., president of the Republic of Palau; Dr. Terrance Drew, prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis; Helal Almarri, director general, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism; Khaled Huraimel, CEO, BEEAH; Mo Ibrahim, CEO, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Laurence Lien, founding CEO, Asia Philanthropy Circle; and Tokunbo Ishmael, co-founder of Alitheia Capital. Bill Gates, co-chair, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and founder, Breakthrough Energy, led the closing keynote address of the forum, speaking on how climate investment can save and improve the most lives, ending with a call to action for increased private sector action.

For the first time ever as part of the official COP program, a range of private sector initiatives were discussed and announced. The forum is also focused on the need to align country, industry and finance roadmaps, and involving multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to create an enabling environment for private capital.

Blended finance structures

Green Climate Fund, Allied Climate Partners and Allianz Global Investors collectively announced to mobilize $5 billion through several unique blended finance structures, bringing together philanthropies, development finance institutions, and the private and public sectors, to turbocharge the climate transition in emerging economies. This commitment is poised to unlock a staggering $20 billion or more, propelling us forward on the accelerated path toward climate transition.

Climate solutions investment platform

Rishi Kapoor, co-CEO of Investcorp, announced the launch of its new climate solutions investment platform, targeting circa $750 million of growth capital investments to help rapidly scale category leading companies that provide products, services and technologies to support decarbonization and address the impacts of climate change globally. A key aspect of Investcorp’s strategy is the recognition that scaling commercially proven climate solutions will enable broad-based availability of much needed decarbonization products and services at attractive price points for the Global South.

Innovate for Climate Tech

Ahmed Baghoum, CEO of Masdar City, announced the Innovate for Climate Tech Coalition, a global coalition anchored by Masdar City, Tencent and the catalyst and facilitated by COP28 with the vision to support the development and adoption of climate-tech solutions with a special focus on the Global South. The coalition aims to connect and strengthen Global South climate-tech ecosystems, scale solutions globally, democratize access to knowledge and capacity building, and spur further innovation. The coalition has gathered local and international knowledge, program and roll-out partners and continues to expand its network.

First Movers Coalition For Food

Børge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, announced the First Movers Coalition for Food, which will co-develop and aggregate procurement commitments to transform food supply chains. The coalition is convened by the World Economic Forum, and it will bring together businesses, governments, and knowledge partners interested in building marketplaces for more sustainable, inclusive, and healthy food systems. By applying the First Movers Coalition model launched in 2020 to food systems, the coalition is expected to create a combined procurement commitment with an estimated value of $10 billion-$20 billion by 2030 for sustainably produced, low-emission and nature-positive agri-food commodities.

Coral restoration and energy transitions moonshot

Anousheh Ansari, CEO of XPRIZE, revealed the impact of XPRIZE’s three decades of moonshot competitions, which have catalyzed a force of over 35,000 innovators from 148 countries to collectively invest over $2 billion building solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges. The discussion included a showcase of XPRIZE’s current climate and biodiversity moonshots under way, including Carbon Removal, Rainforest, Wildfire and Feed the Next Billion, and previewed XPRIZE’s next moonshot focused on coral restoration.


Maersk innovates system to deliver freshwater from vessels to ports

Maersk innovates system to deliver freshwater from vessels to ports
Updated 14 April 2024
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Maersk innovates system to deliver freshwater from vessels to ports

Maersk innovates system to deliver freshwater from vessels to ports

Freshwater scarcity is an increasing problem faced by regions all over the world. Four billion people — almost two thirds of the world’s population — experience severe water scarcity for at least one month each year, and half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025. With this background, a team of three employees of A.P. Moller — Maersk, who are former seafarers, decided to undertake an innovative project that could store and deliver freshwater from vessels to ports.

Cargo ships undertaking global trade are equipped with freshwater generator systems that produce clean drinking water by distilling sea water using heat energy harnessed from their engines. Traditionally, this system has been used to generate water for consumption only onboard the vessels. However, the excess water produced has been overlooked. Through this innovative project, this untapped resource has been capitalized on by optimizing the process and storing the excess water in tank containers before delivering it to ports.

Each vessel can fill two tank containers on an average sea voyage between two ports. With the process optimized and tank containers stored at the right location onboard, two tank containers with a combined capacity of 50,000 liters can be filled with freshwater. Amongst the first pilot runs were the deliveries at the Port of Colombo and Port of Salalah of two tank containers, each filled with 25,000 liters of freshwater.

Keld M. Christensen, chief executive, Port of Salalah, said: “At Port of Salalah, sustainability is one of our top priorities and we are committed to decarbonizing our operations by 2040. We also recognize that sustainability is not only about decarbonizing supply chains but also protecting our environment and its finite resources. The first tank container of freshwater delivered by Maersk from its vessel is an important milestone that has the potential to pave the path for a larger scheme of things.”

He added: “This project opens doors for many more ships moving around the world, which can replicate this system and create an incredibly large supply of freshwater that can be delivered all around the world to address the ever-increasing challenge of water scarcity.”

A pivotal aspect of the project’s success is its rigorous adherence to quality and environmental standards. The water quality, tested by the Ceylon Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, an official Sri Lankan government laboratory, met all WHO standards, underscoring the project’s commitment to safety and sustainability. Furthermore, a Life Cycle Assessment study conducted by the Danish Technical University has provided valuable insights into the project’s environmental impact, comparing it favorably against traditional tanker truck water delivery methods.

The fresh water generated and delivered through this innovative project can be used in various ways:

• Consumption at port facilities for basic sanitation, cleaning, and maintenance of offices, warehouses, and restrooms.

• Ship repair at yards for tasks like cleaning vessels, tools, and work areas.

• Container washing before storage or reusing.

• Firefighting at port facilities for emergencies.

• Power generation at power plants located in ports for cooling systems or other processes.


Global wedding experts head to Zimbabwe for annual congress

Global wedding experts head to Zimbabwe for annual congress
Updated 14 April 2024
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Global wedding experts head to Zimbabwe for annual congress

Global wedding experts head to Zimbabwe for annual congress

The 10th Annual Destination Wedding Planners Congress, known as the world’s strongest B2B platform for destination weddings, is set to begin from April 15 to 17, commencing a voyage on an African adventure. The event is organized by QNA International along with strategic event partner RSVP Events, amidst the breathtaking Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

In the global wedding industry, as the DWP Congress celebrates 10 years of excellence, this annual congress will open doors to endless possibilities in the world of destination weddings. It will have all the heart and soul of the most important gathering for the destination wedding industry.

While talking about the countdown to the DWP Congress, Tapiwa Mukoti, founder and managing director, RSVP Events, Zimbabwe, said: “I am thrilled and beyond excited to be hosting luxury wedding connoisseurs in my homeland, and it is my privilege to showcase the African bounties of Zimbabwe to all the attendees.”

She added: “We have made the best efforts to give a taste of true African hospitality experience during the three days of the congress. From a gala in the wild to a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, there are some amazing experiences waiting in store. I believe Zimbabwe is a rare, undiscovered gem nestled in the crown of Africa that has all the potential to become a sought-after wedding destination.”

Kevin Lee, founder, Luxury Events By Kevin Lee, US, who is one of the world’s most renowned celebrity wedding specialists, said: “I always dream of mystic Mother Nature of the African jungle so getting to see all of that makes me so excited with the beginning of another decade of DWP.”

“Our partnership with the DWP Congress holds significant potential to benefit the African wedding industry in various ways. By being actively involved in this global platform, we aim to showcase the beauty and unique offerings of African destinations, especially Zimbabwe, as ideal locations for destination weddings. As a videography partner, we will have the opportunity to highlight the stunning landscapes and cultural richness of Africa through our work, attracting more attention and interest to the continent as a premier wedding destination,” said Simba Shamu, founder, Amikam Media, Zimbabwe.

Floral designer Gideon Hermosa, founder and CEO, House of Hermosa, Philippines, said: “I’m truly honored to be a part of this year’s DWP Congress and thrilled to attend once again. It’s one of the highlights of my career. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues from the events industry worldwide.”


Ethiopian Airlines marks 78 years of success in African skies

Ethiopian Airlines marks 78 years of success in African skies
Updated 13 April 2024
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Ethiopian Airlines marks 78 years of success in African skies

Ethiopian Airlines marks 78 years of success in African skies

Ethiopian Airlines Group, Africa’s largest airline group, has marked its 78th anniversary, highlighting a legacy of resilience and innovation since 1946. Group Chief Executive Officer Mesfin Tasew and Chief Commercial Officer Lemma Yadecha accompanied the crew on a flight to Cairo, marking the airline’s inaugural international service. Their involvement extended beyond in-flight duties, as they also provided assistance to passengers during check-in and boarding processes, ensuring a seamless travel experience.

Tasew said: “This event symbolizes our unwavering commitment to our passengers and our belief that true leadership lies in serving others first. Serving our passengers on this special flight to Cairo is not just a tribute to our first international service but a reaffirmation of our commitment to the ethos of servant leadership. From our humble beginning back in 1946, we’ve come to be the aviation giant in Africa that we are now, pioneering African aviation with many first aviation innovation introductions to Africa along the way. As we are maturing beautifully, our commitment only gets stronger.”

In line with the airline’s values of community engagement, passengers received season’s greeting packages and “Happy Fasting” messages, reflecting the airline’s respect for diverse traditions. The packages included a postcard commemorating the anniversary, serving as a tangible reminder of the airline’s enduring legacy.

“Our mission extends beyond transportation,” said Yadecha. “We strive to foster a sense of unity and belongingness among our passengers, regardless of their background or belief. This anniversary is a celebration of unity and diversity. By stepping into the roles of our dedicated ground and flight crew, we honor every individual who has been part of our story. Our service today is a promise of continued service excellence for all our passengers.”

In a display of commitment, all executives at Ethiopian Airlines have taken a hands-on approach to service, personally attending to the needs of the airline’s valued customers. This initiative underscores the airline’s ethos of servant leadership and its dedication to providing an exceptional travel experience.

Celebrating its 78th anniversary, Ethiopian Airlines has reaffirmed commitment to its mission of bridging Africa with the world. The airline remains dedicated to enhancing passenger experience, as evidenced by its consideration to offer complimentary Wi-Fi to Cairo-bound travelers.


Huawei FreeClip: Stylish and comfortable earbuds for active lifestyles

Huawei FreeClip: Stylish and comfortable earbuds for active lifestyles
Updated 13 April 2024
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Huawei FreeClip: Stylish and comfortable earbuds for active lifestyles

Huawei FreeClip: Stylish and comfortable earbuds for active lifestyles

Open-ear earbuds — hate it or love it, this genre of earbuds has added greater diversity to a market that lacks it. For many users, in-ear earbuds may not always be the standard cup of tea, yet they have become the dominant product in the wireless audio consumer market. While in-ear earbuds are suited for audiophiles, their design inherently makes them susceptible to sliding and falling off the ears, and could be uncomfortable if worn for long periods. Open-ear earbuds have sought to address these downsides.

The Huawei FreeClip sports an iconic C-bridge Design, an engineering marvel patented by Huawei. The clip-on open-ear earbuds defy design conventions, offering both comfort and style.

Built for Fitness

The largest demographic of open-ear earbud users is typically athletes who want secure, sweatproof, and comfortable earbuds for workouts. This might be why we have seen most open-ear earbuds being marketed mainly toward active consumers. Huawei spent three years mastering the C-bridge Design and its clip-on mechanism to optimize the FreeClip for fitness enthusiasts. In fact, the C-bridge Design is based on extensive research done on more than 10,000 human ears from all over the world. As a result, the FreeClip can adapt to every ear type and provide a secure and comfortable fit. This is thanks to the C-bridge’s Ni-Ti memory wire core, lightweight build of only 5.6 g each, and optimized 11-degree tilt angle.

All these allow the earbuds to stay on the ears even as you work up a sweat. You can jump, run, and move about without the earbuds slipping off. At the same time, the open-ear design structure brings better breathability to the ears and allows you to stay connected to the real world — important for those dabbling in outdoor sports like running and cycling. These earbuds also carry an IP54-rated water and sweat resistance rating.

Ideal for Workplace

With fewer cubicles and greater collaborative spaces in modern offices, in-ear earbuds can get in the way when you need to work closely with colleagues. The open-ear design of the FreeClip lets users stay focused on work while enjoying their favorite tunes, and also stay aware of their surroundings. This makes it easier for spontaneous interactions with coworkers, and also makes the user seem more approachable.

With a total of 36 hours of battery life with the charging case and incredible call quality, users can get through back-to-back meetings without any battery anxiety. Moreover, with the Reverse Sound Waves System and the C-bridge Design, the FreeClip keeps the audio within the immediate periphery of the ears and reduces sound leakage. This protects the user’s privacy when taking calls around others. Furthermore, the intelligent left-right ear recognition adds a new level of convenience. 

That means users do not have to worry about wearing them correctly and can simply put them on and go.

Fashion Forward

The FreeClip follows Huawei’s new Fashion Forward strategy to transform its wearable technologies into fashion statements. With its earring-like design and two stylish colorways, the FreeClip can pass off as a fashion accessory that complements any outfit.


EazyPay among top 50 fintech companies in Middle East: Forbes

EazyPay among top 50 fintech companies in Middle East: Forbes
Updated 13 April 2024
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EazyPay among top 50 fintech companies in Middle East: Forbes

EazyPay among top 50 fintech companies in Middle East: Forbes

Eazy Financial Services, or EazyPay, a Bahraini financial institute specializing in point-of-sale and online payment gateway acquiring services, has announced its inclusion in the prestigious Forbes Middle East FinTech 50 list. This recognition underscores EazyPay’s commitment to revolutionizing the digital payment landscape and its significant impact on the financial industry across the Middle East.

The Forbes Middle East Fintech 50 is a highly anticipated annual list that recognizes the most disruptive and influential players transforming the financial technology sector in the Middle East. With 23 entries dedicated to payment gateway firms, EazyPay secured the No. 19 spot, solidifying its position as a distinguished leader in the realm of online payment solutions.

Established in 2016, EazyPay’s innovative technology is revolutionizing digital transactions, establishing it as a leader within the MENA fintech landscape. The company’s success hinges on a comprehensive suite of payment solutions catering to the specific needs of both established businesses and agile startups. This adaptability ensures seamless integration and fosters a thriving digital ecosystem. EazyPay’s impact extends beyond facilitating transactions, establishing themselves as strong advocates for financial inclusion. By creating accessible payment solutions, EazyPay empowers previously unbanked or underbanked individuals to participate in the digital economy. This not only broadens the customer base for businesses but also fosters a more equitable financial landscape in Bahrain.

Nayef Tawfeeq Al-Alawi, founder, managing director, and CEO of EazyPay, said: “We are incredibly honored to be recognized by Forbes Middle East. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our entire team, who are passionate about making financial services easier and more accessible for everyone in the region.”

Being listed on Forbes Middle East FinTech 50 marks a significant milestone for Eazypay and further reinforces its position as a leading force shaping the future of finance in the Middle East. The company remains committed to continuous innovation and collaboration to create a more inclusive and prosperous financial ecosystem for the region.