In January 2023, the Financial Markets Committee of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced unified ESG metrics for regional listed companies, representing an important step towards standardising ESG disclosure across the Middle East.

COP28 kicks-off in Dubai next week, and the expectations and urgency for action have never been greater.

With all eyes on Dubai, local corporates can expect the global investment community to continue to pay close attention to ESG considerations. Just last week Bahrain introduced ESG reporting frameworks for financial firms, including investors, which will be effective next year. Will we see this trend spread throughout the Gulf post-COP28?

The UAE has made significant strides towards sustainability and ESG integration, and the Metrics are a concrete indicator that the GCC countries, all of which are oil-producing, are committed to creating more sustainable economies.

The Metrics are also a positive response by the GCC to regulatory, political and market pressures related to the ESG narrative, which is under considerable scrutiny as the region hosts COP28.

The IPO boom this year has put the Middle East firmly on the map for global investors. Against this backdrop, the publication of the Metrics aligns with the priorities of local and international investors.

Will COP28 bring increased interest from international investors in the regional markets? The proof will be in the outcomes and what is agreed at the conference.

Visit our COP28 hub for more insight from the conference.

While currently the Metrics serve as guideline for listed entities, they represent an important milestone in the region's move towards standardised ESG disclosure.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.