Saudi Bank for Social Development allocates $3.5 billion to self-employed and ‘productive’ families

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RIYADH: The National Bank of Bahrain, known as NBB, ranked first for its environmental, social and governance performance across all sectors in the Arab world based on the Refinitiv ESG rating.

The bank’s ESG score rose from 72 to 76 points in the third quarter, thanks to the BNB’s multiple initiatives aimed at ensuring responsible environmental practices, as well as providing environmentally friendly products to its customers, reported Trade Arabia, citing a press release.

According to the report, Refinitiv assigns ESG scores to companies based on 10 key sustainability themes, based on publicly available data.

An organization with a score above 75 is considered a company with excellent relative ESG performance and a high degree of transparency in publicly reporting material ESG data, according to the Refinitiv website.

Focus on sustainability

“Sustainability continues to play a key role within our organization. NBB recognizes the importance of adopting sustainable methods that will have a positive impact both within our organization and our community,” said Jean-Christophe Durand, CEO of NBB.

He added: “Our range of ESG-focused products and services has enabled us to help our stakeholders reduce their carbon footprint and, simultaneously, add value to our community.”

The high ESG score achieved by the BNB is crucial as Bahrain has set itself the goal of net zero in 2060.

“We are proud to have obtained the highest ESG score in all sectors in the Arab world. BNB’s tireless efforts have been recognized throughout our sustainability journey, reflecting our collective efforts to engage sustainability at all levels, from board members to employees,” said Dana Buheji, director of human resources and sustainable development of the bank group.

At this year’s Euromoney Middle East Awards for Excellence, BNB was recognized as the “Best Bank for ESG in Bahrain”.

The NBB was also awarded “Best Bank for Sustainable Finance” in Bahrain and “Outstanding Leadership in Sustainability Transparency” regionally from Global Finance’s Sustainable Finance Awards 2022.

In September, BNB signed a memorandum of understanding with Honeywell to further strengthen its sustainability footprint, according to a press release.

With this agreement, BNB aims to maximize its reach and offer more sustainable financing plans to more customers, while supporting its existing customer base with advice and financing, the press release adds.

ESG ratings should be used with caution: EFAMA

Meanwhile, the European Funds and Asset Management Association, known as EFAMA, has come under pressure over the ambiguity of ESG ratings, as it found low correlation between the ratings of different companies. .

In its latest installment of the Market Insights series, EFAMA analyzed ESG ratings provided by Morningstar Direct and Refinitiv.

He found that while there is a positive correlation between these two providers’ ratings, “it’s quite weak” and investors should use ESG scores “with caution.”

“There is a positive correlation. However, this correlation appears to be quite low, as many funds with a very low Refinitiv score have a high Morningstar score, and vice versa,” EFAMA said in a statement.

EFAMA further noted that the results were not surprising as the two agencies use different proprietary ESG assessment measures to determine the scores.

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