Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) announced the implementation of its sustainable finance regulatory framework with immediate effect, following significant support received through public consultation, reinforcing its position as a leading sustainable financial hub and a natural hub for sustainable finance activities. The framework encompasses rules on sustainability-orientated investment funds, managed portfolios and bonds as well as requirements for environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures by ADGM companies. The measures will accelerate the growth of a sustainable finance ecosystem in the jurisdiction and support the UAE’s transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
The framework for green and climate transition funds and portfolios, green and sustainability-linked bonds and sukuks is a significant step in enabling capital to be channelled towards financing the transition to net zero. In order to recognise products and services that are aiding the transition, ADGM will confer a designation on those that purport to meet its robust minimum standards. It will also permit ADGM’s “designation mark” to be used in marketing materials and client communications. A designation mark will provide investors with a level of confidence that those products and services purport to meet ADGM’s minimum standards, catalysing investors to channel capital towards the green transition.
In keeping with ADGM’s keen focus on stakeholder engagement, a feedback statement has also been issued that reflects on the meaningful feedback received and addresses the key issues raised in response to the consultation paper and through associated stakeholder engagements. The overwhelming support for its proposals from industry, including stakeholders who indicated their plans to launch products under the proposed framework, crystallised ADGM’s intention to proceed with one of the first and most comprehensive sustainable finance frameworks in the region.
The feedback statement reflects how industry engagement has not only helped to shape the framework as implemented but also provided a clear indication of the areas that ADGM will examine in a post-implementation review to be undertaken in 2025 as part of its commitment to further develop and refine its regulatory framework going forward. ADGM will continue to rely on input from its stakeholders to help shape its ecosystem into a world-class hub for sustainable finance and a significant enabler to further the UAE’s net zero strategic initiative.
The framework and its stakeholders are further supported by knowledge acceleration initiatives such as the School of Sustainable Finance and the Research Centre at the ADGM Academy.
His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, President Designate of COP28 UAE said, “I warmly welcome ADGM’s regulatory framework for sustainable finance. The lack of available, accessible, affordable finance is putting the world’s climate goals and sustainable development at risk and addressing this issue is one of the top priorities of the COP28 Presidency. To make transformational progress, we need to shift gears in mobilizing private finance.”
“ADGM’s endeavours in advancing such a crucial initiative and in establishing a global hub for sustainable finance are highly commendable. This initiative will play a vital role in mobilizing capital for the transition to net zero not only in the UAE, but also in EMDEs, and will enable increased green transactions from local and global financial institutions.”
“I also welcome the ongoing work of the Sustainable Finance Working Group, chaired by ADGM and composed of UAE regulatory authorities, Federal Ministries and exchanges. These initiatives encompass joint efforts to advance frameworks for ESG disclosures, measures to require sustainability-focused corporate governance and the development of a UAE green taxonomy.”
“Finance is the key to turning good intentions into real results. The Paris Climate Agreement set our collective ambition, and we need initiatives such as ADGM’s Sustainable Finance Regulatory Framework to help us keep 1.5C within reach.”
His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market said, “In the year that the UAE is hosting COP28, ADGM proudly aligns its actions with those of the country’s leaders who have declared this year as the Year of Sustainability. We believe our regulatory framework for sustainable finance is the most comprehensive in the Middle East and South Asia region, and comparable in scope and content with the most comprehensive regulatory frameworks globally.”
“Our requirements, particularly those which set minimum standards for sustainability-focused products and services, will help to channel capital into projects and activities that advance the country’s transition to net zero. We are grateful to market participants for their feedback, which reflects the excellent relationship between ADGM and its stakeholders within our sustainable finance ecosystem. Their engagement will continue to be essential as ADGM actively supports the UAE’s progress towards its goal of net zero by 2050 and the continuing development of Abu Dhabi’s green falcon economy.”
The new sustainable finance regulatory framework is further supported by several ongoing initiatives of ADGM such as the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Declaration which has over 100 signatories, and the School of Sustainable Finance at the ADGM Academy. ADGM FSRA’s regulatory amendment to the capital markets framework last year, introduced an environmental instrument as a class of financial instrument, allowing carbon offsets to come under its regulatory framework and AirCarbon Exchange, the world’s first regulated voluntary carbon exchange platform, to be established in the financial centre.
These strategic endeavours, combined with a regulatory framework for sustainability-focused funds, portfolios, bonds and sukuks, as well as requirements for ESG disclosure and the regulation of carbon offsets distinguish ADGM as a premier hub for sustainable finance.