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.


Najm spotlights digital transformation journey at LEAP 2024

Najm spotlights digital transformation journey at LEAP 2024
Updated 04 March 2024
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Najm spotlights digital transformation journey at LEAP 2024

Najm spotlights digital transformation journey at LEAP 2024

Najm for Insurance Services Company is sponsoring the third edition of LEAP 2024, the premier technology event in the region, presently underway at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center.

Through its participation in this event, which runs until March 7, Najm is showcasing its digital services and initiatives, highlighting its recent digital transformation journey. The company will also spotlight its efforts in raising awareness around traffic safety by providing services that leverage artificial intelligence systems and data analysis, emphasizing its role as the digital partner for insurance companies.

Najm’s pavilion at the entrance of Hall No. 1 showcases the company’s latest technological developments that enhance road safety and improve the quality of life for the community.

Najm’s CEO Mohammad Al-Shehri said: “Our participation in LEAP 2024 demonstrates our remarkable journey in digital transformation, and our ability to integrate relevant parties at multiple levels, starting with offering an advanced connectivity network that supports Najm’s services across the Kingdom. Additionally, Najm has established a modern and advanced data center that supports cloud solutions. This center is linked to advanced cybersecurity systems that will help to fully protect the Najm network.”

Al-Shehri added: “Najm provides automated services to facilitate the flow of operations with partners and government entities, through an advanced connectivity system supported by AI technologies. Najm also benefits from a strong information infrastructure that provides innovative services to raise the level of customer and partner satisfaction.”

The LEAP conference is the most widely attended technology event in the Kingdom and the region. The event brings together hundreds of thousands of attendees to discover the future of technology. This year, more than 1,800 exhibitors, 1,000 speakers, and 600 startup companies are expected to participate. The number of attendees this year will exceed over 170,000 visitors who will have the opportunity to discover the latest innovations presented by some of the world’s most advanced technology companies.

Najm is a closed and unlisted Saudi joint stock company established in 2007, to promote the vehicle insurance sector in the Kingdom. It provides an integrated system of insurance solutions and services to citizens, residents, and visitors in 44 Saudi cities through a skilled Saudi workforce.


Bahri sets Guinness record for largest mobile desalination plant

Bahri sets Guinness record for largest mobile desalination plant
Updated 04 March 2024
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Bahri sets Guinness record for largest mobile desalination plant

Bahri sets Guinness record for largest mobile desalination plant

Bahri Desalination, a specialized business unit of the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia — Bahri — the global shipping and logistics leader, has established a new milestone in seawater desalination production, reinforcing its position as the industry pioneer with the largest floating desalination plant ever built on a marine barge.

The achievement was celebrated at an event held at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, where Guinness World Records officially recognized Bahri Desalination’s innovative mobile seawater desalination plant as the largest of its kind. Measuring an impressive 123 meters in length, the floating mega plant boasts a daily output of 50,000 cubic meters. Bahri, in association with the Saline Water Conversion Corporation and Metito Saudi Limited, has built three such state-of-the-art desalination units installed on customized barges.

Commenting on this achievement, Ahmed Alsubaey, CEO of Bahri, said: “We are honored to receive this distinction from Guinness World Records that validates our status as pioneers in engineering large-capacity, mobile seawater desalination solutions. As a leader in transportation and logistics, Bahri strives to develop innovative water projects that strengthen Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure and self-sufficiency. This record reflects our cutting-edge work in deploying sizable mobile floating desalination capacity where it is needed most along our coastlines.”

The record validates Bahri Desalination’s status as an industry pioneer in building large-scale, cost-effective mobile seawater desalination plants that can be deployed to new coastal locations. Going forward, Bahri will continue driving progress through projects dedicated to the sustainable development of Saudi Arabia’s maritime and water supply sectors.


stc Group unveils venture capital arm, tali ventures

stc Group unveils venture capital arm, tali ventures
Updated 04 March 2024
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stc Group unveils venture capital arm, tali ventures

stc Group unveils venture capital arm, tali ventures

stc Group, the Kingdom’s engine of digital transformation, has announced the launch of its corporate venture capital arm, “tali ventures,” which will serve as a catalyst for innovative startups, leveraging stc Group’s ecosystem. This milestone underscores the group’s commitment to propelling technological advancement and fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem across its operating markets.

tali ventures has already made significant strides by investing in startups such as Nile (network equipment solutions), Rewaa (inventory management solutions), and NearPay (digital payments solutions).

“These initial investments demonstrate the group’s dedication to adopting new technologies, embracing innovative ideas and driving technological transformation,” a statement said.

Emphasizing the fund’s ambitious vision, the launch of tali ventures marks a pivotal moment in stc’s journey to empower the world’s brightest minds. The group aims to be a leading force in nurturing entrepreneurial talent and advancing groundbreaking initiatives, by committing to investing in revolutionary startups through collaborating with renowned global funds such as Sanabil and Prosperity7.

Focusing on key areas such as artificial intelligence, fintech, proptech, ICT, cloud, IoT, cybersecurity and other digital trends, tali ventures will support ventures that have the potential to revolutionize industries. tali ventures empowers startups from their inception to growth stage, providing comprehensive support across diverse fields. This holistic approach cultivates innovation from the ground up, nurturing a thriving ecosystem of talent.

The launch signifies a continuation of stc Group’s efforts to foster innovation through strategic investments. Initiatives such as the InspireU program, which incubates and supports more than 100 startups, stand as testament to this commitment. Furthermore, STV and stc venture funds have invested in numerous startups, driving economic diversification and growth in line with stc’s “DARE” strategy.


New Murabba to bring Riyadh’s visionary downtown to life

New Murabba to bring Riyadh’s visionary downtown to life
Updated 03 March 2024
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New Murabba to bring Riyadh’s visionary downtown to life

New Murabba to bring Riyadh’s visionary downtown to life

New Murabba Development Company has signed an MoU with the Tourism Development Fund to spearhead the transformation of Riyadh. The agreement will see the two entities work closely together to create New Murabba: the world’s largest, modern downtown, serving as a model for future urban development and contributing toward Riyadh city’s evolution, in line with Vision 2030.

NMDC’s strategic partnership with TFD aims to fulfill Saudi Arabia’s potential as a leading investment destination — a go-to tourism and hospitality hotspot distinguished by a thriving tech ecosystem, an enabling business environment and a diverse and welcoming society.

The MoU was signed by NMDC CEO Michael Dyke and TDF CEO Qusai bin Abdullah Al-Fakhri. As part of the agreement, TDF will provide direct financing opportunities — in collaboration with its network of partners and contracted investors.

Al-Fakhri said: “We are pleased to have partnered with the New Murabba Development Company to bring this bold undertaking to life, an innovative undertaking that will enhance Riyadh’s status on the global stage as one of the commercial and financial capitals of the world. This is a future-focused partnership that extends our efforts to work in a fully aligned manner with the private sector to create a greater, more prosperous Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “In line with Vision 2030 and the National Tourism Strategy, our agreement with New Murabba Development Company marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Riyadh, one that adds to the richness of the Kingdom’s inspiring story of transformation. Together, we aim to create a modern downtown in the Saudi capital that provides even greater access to exceptional living, working and entertainment experiences. Representing the very best of Saudi excellence, we believe New Murabba will attract tourists — as well as investors — to the Kingdom, and improve citizens’ and residents’ quality of life.”

NMDC CEO Dyke said: “New Murabba will be a gateway to the future. We are confident that our partnership with TDF will enable us to play a transformative role in diversifying sources of income for the Saudi economy, aligning seamlessly with the objectives of Vision 2030. Together, we will create groundbreaking opportunities that will elevate the Saudi tourism landscape and drive New Murabba to the forefront of global innovation.”

He added: “Reflecting our commitment to the community and the environment, New Murabba has been designed in accordance with internationally established best practices and sustainability standards, incorporating green spaces, providing an extensive network of walking paths and promoting healthy living. Our goal is to make New Murabba a truly exceptional place to live, work, play, and visit. We will offer convenient access to a wide range of amenities and experiences that will enhance the lives of residents and visitors, fostering a sense of security and well-being. Accessibility is also a top priority for us, with New Murabba being just 20 minutes away from King Khalid International Airport by car. The Mukaab — a new architectural wonder — will, of course, serve as the centerpiece of New Murabba, redefining Riyadh’s skyline from the outside, while presenting a truly jaw-dropping experience within the inside.”

Established in 2022, NMDC is wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund, with its board of directors being chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


stc raises the bar for innovation at Mobile World Congress

stc raises the bar for innovation at Mobile World Congress
Updated 03 March 2024
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stc raises the bar for innovation at Mobile World Congress

stc raises the bar for innovation at Mobile World Congress

stc Group, a global leader in digital transformation, has successfully concluded its sponsorship and participation in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The group solidified its commitment to innovation and growth through the signing of strategic MoUs with industry giants. The following partnerships were announced:

• IBM Middle East: stc Group and IBM Middle East agree to collaborate on upgrades to current fault management systems through the implementation of the latest cloud-based Netcool fault management platform.

• China Mobile International Limited: The agreement will see both partners work together to advance the deployment and implementation of IoT connectivity services for businesses in the region.

• Channels by stc x Huawei: In collaboration with Huawei, this MoU focuses on driving growth in the devices business, engaging in yearly business plans, and exploring strategic collaborations.

• Channels by stc x Samsung: This joint business plan with Samsung aims to sustain growth initiatives, marking a significant collaboration in the consumer electronics and services sector.

“Partnerships with global entities such as Ericsson, Huawei, and Samsung signify the great strides that stc is making toward an even more globally connected future,” the group said. “With these collaborations, stc is positioned at the forefront of shaping the ever-evolving digital landscape, driving collaboration, innovation and accelerating performance.”

During the event, stc Group showcased a variety of on-ground activations, each highlighting different facets of their technological prowess and commitment to sustainability. These included the AI Selfie, a customized interactive experience that enabled visitors to create their own digital avatars.

The Digital City 3D sand table demonstrated stc Group’s vision for the future of smart cities and their advanced technology. Visitors had the opportunity to be fully immersed in a 3D tour inside Makkah through Makkah 3D Experience, further underscoring stc’s continuous efforts in promoting cultural heritage and visualization technologies, all while illustrating how 5G-Advanced can catalyze digital transformation across sectors.

The IntelliReserve activation specialized in tracking and analyzing data on various wildlife species in the Kingdom, and the Sustainable Park activation gave visitors the chance to experience a virtual journey through interactive screens.

These on-ground activations represent stc Group’s innovative approach to digital transformation and its commitment to sustainability and connectivity.