Bahrain has undertaken major steps towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in its Economic Vision 2030.
Various initiatives by a few leading banks have introduced sustainable and ESG-related products and reporting, but also efforts are there to promote sustainable and transparent
capital markets in Bahrain.
Bahrain Bourse issued its ESG voluntary reporting guidelines for listed companies in June 2020.
It has also joined the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange, the SSE: an initiative to demonstrate its voluntary commitment towards creating sustainable capital markets underpinned by the principles of sustainability, fairness and competitiveness.
In early 2022 the Central Bank of Bahrain set out guidelines for the banking sector around how it should be working to incorporate climate-related risks in its strategies.
Banks have a key role to play in transitioning to a more sustainable economic model.
The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to an acceleration of the trend towards ESG. It acted as a wake-up call about the vulnerability and fragility our world is currently facing.
The issuance of green, social and sustainable finance has picked up sharply. GIB issued a sustainability-linked syndicated loan in October 2021, which was the first in Bahrain and one of the first in the region. This transaction raised $625m, having upsized the offer following strong investor demand.
It encouraged human resource policies that are female friendly.
It was the first loan with ESG targets, including female gender ratios.