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Citi launches sustainability-linked supply chain financing in Algeria

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A Press Release of Zawya‘s FINANCIAL SERVICES informs that Citi launches sustainability-linked supply chain financing in Algeria. Here it is.

The above image is for illustration and is of the ICC Academy.

12 January 2022

Dave Aldred, Citi Regional Head of Treasury and Trade Solutions – Middle East and North Africa, Bülent Pehlivan, Henkel Regional Head of Finance – India, Middle East and Africa, Daniel Lopez Wismer – Regional Treasurer of India, Middle East, Africa & Turkey (next to Dave)

Algeria – Citi has launched its first Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Sustainability-linked Supply Chain Finance (SSCF) program in Algeria with the aim of supporting clients as they advance their ESG priorities, improve the resilience of their supply chains and manage their working capital needs. 

Supply Chain Finance (SCF) programs benefit companies and their suppliers as they prioritize their working capital positions respectively. In using Citi’s SCF program, for example, the bank would provide financing to a client’s suppliers from the date of collection of specific goods/provision of services to the date on which payment is owed to these suppliers. The cost of this financing is borne by suppliers at a rate lower than their usual cost of funds. As a result, suppliers benefit from cash flow acceleration, quicker payment, and improved financing costs. 

Citi’s first MENA SSCF program has been implemented for German chemical and consumer goods company, Henkel. The program has been initially launched with suppliers in Algeria and will be expanded to include additional markets and suppliers in the coming months. 

The program is also a first for Henkel in IMEAT and is targeted at existing or new suppliers who demonstrate strong or improving sustainability performance. Qualifying suppliers can access Citi’s supply chain financing at preferential rates, improving as a supplier’s sustainability score improves. Henkel, with the support of a global leading sustainability assessment agency, will periodically assess the sustainability performance of its suppliers. 

Commenting on the collaboration, Bülent Pehlivan, Regional Head of Finance – India, Middle East and Africa said: “With sustainability being at the core of our company’s strategy, we are engaging in a range of activities with new ways of growing and innovative solutions to create value. We are delighted to collaborate with Citi Group to introduce a sustainable supply chain financing program for the first time in the region. Launching first in Algeria, we are committed to continue to implement it in other countries of the region in the near future.” 

Citi’s SSCF program in MENA aligns with the bank’s ESG commitments. To help accelerate the transition to a global low-carbon economy, Citi launched its updated Sustainable Progress Strategy in July of last year, which includes its global US$500 Billion Environmental Finance Goal. Citi also recently established a commitment to US$1 trillion in sustainable finance by 2030, which includes the environmental finance goal and a US$500 Billion Social Finance Goal. 

“We are proud to be collaborating with Henkel in this first SSCF program in the MENA region.  It is really pleasing to see that Henkel and Citi share a strategic focus on ESG.  At Citi we are looking forward to this partnership and journey with Henkel which will ensure that we continue to adapt and develop our ESG solutions even further”  said Dave Aldred. MENA Head, Treasury and Trade Solutions, Citi.

 “We are excited to be partnering with Henkel and helping them to achieve their sustainability goals via the launch of the first Sustainable Supply Chain Financing Program for Citi in the MENAPT region. Like Henkel, our ESG commitments are an essential part of our firm’s strategy and we are committed to provide innovative ESG-linked solutions to our clients and to expand the use of our Sustainable Supply Chain Financing Program in the region,” said Marcel Hanen, Citi Regional Head of the Global Subsidiaries Group – Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey

 

About Henkel

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA is a German chemical and consumer goods company headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany. It is a multinational company active both in the consumer and industrial sector. Founded in 1876, the DAX 30 company is organized into three globally operating business units (Laundry & Home Care, Beauty Care, Adhesive Technologies) and is known for brands such as Loctite, Persil,[2] Fa, Pritt, Dial and Purex, amongst others.

About Citi’s Treasury and Trade Solutions

Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) enables our clients’ success by providing an integrated suite of innovative and tailored cash management and trade finance services to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations across the globe. Based on the foundation of the industry’s largest proprietary network with banking licenses in over 90 countries and globally integrated technology platforms, TTS continues to lead the way in offering the industry’s most comprehensive range of digitally enabled treasury, trade and liquidity management solutions.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://new.citi.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi 

Media Contact:
tara.sirinyan@citi.com  

Turkish construction firm goes carbon-neutral for sustainable future

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Daily Sabah via ANADOLU AGENCY, came up with this assertion that a Turkish construction firm goes carbon-neutral for a sustainable future. Let us see.

The above image is for illustration and is of Daily Sabah.

A project by Dorçe Prefabrik. (AA Photo)

 ISTANBUL JAN 11, 2022: The Turkish construction company Dorçe Prefabrik continues to conduct business based on environmental awareness and fair socioeconomic development by using natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

The construction sector is one of the sectors where natural resources are used the most. In addition to high energy consumption, heavy machinery and equipment also use fossil fuels.

For a sustainable world, Dorçe continues to work toward becoming carbon neutral by protecting environmental conditions, using recyclable and renewable materials and minimizing energy consumption and waste generation.

With the United Nations’ global principles and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the EU’s Green Deal carbon-neutral policy, the effect of the circular economy and technological developments via digitalization, the construction industry in developed countries is evolving into steel prefabricated modular structures.

Dorçe embodies the transformation with the “ISO 14064 Carbon Footprint Declaration Certificate.”

On July 14 last year, the EU approved the Carbon Border implementation, which was prepared with the aim of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral continent in 2050.

Participating last year in the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which was held as a follow-up to the Paris Climate Agreement and the U.N. Climate Change Framework Agreement, the company once again demonstrated the importance and determination it attaches to this transformation.

The firm considers the concept of sustainability from every angle, continuing its activities with a structure that adopts the U.N. principles and the EU Green Deal targets.

Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) in design, the firm targets reducing its environmental footprint, a zero-waste policy, a fully recyclable production structure, an employee-centered organizational structure, sensitivity to social problems, added value supporting social development in Turkey and other countries where it is active, and developing modular structure projects by benefiting from developing technology, digitalization, and research and development activities.

Sustainable steel structure

The “Workers Accommodation Camps” project, which started as an integrated worker accommodation facility for 4,000 people, was converted into a quarantine hospital by adapting to coronavirus pandemic conditions.

The Umm Slal COVID-19 Quarantine Hospital, which currently has a bed capacity of 4,000, can be increased to an 8,000-bed capacity if needed.

As part of the emergency and preventive measures taken by the Qatari government against the pandemic, the four-story hospital buildings were completed in a short time with the method of recyclable prefabricated light steel structures.

After the 2003 earthquake in Bam, Iran, the company met the emergency accommodation needs of the earthquake victims with prefabricated modular solutions in a very short time.

The modular housing units, which can be dismantled, reinstalled and easily transported, continue to serve as student dormitories throughout Iran.

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Expo 2023 Doha to help develop agricultural sector

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The above image is for illustration and is through Pinterest

Published by The Peninsula of Qatar, this article could not go without due notice by possibly the widest audience in the MENA region. So would an Expo 2023 Doha to help develop the agricultural sector pave the way towards a greener future. Or if one perhaps wonders, if yet again, another come to be interference in our good old planet’s distribution of geo-climatisation arrangements is envisioned.

Expo 2023 Doha to help develop agricultural sector

Sanaullah Ataullah

Doha: The International Horticultural Exhibition (‘Expo 2023 Doha’) will not only benefit just Qatar, but also help strengthen agricultural sector in the entire region.

The first-of-its-kind expo in GCC and MENA region is expecting large number of research works from 80 countries and their reputed universities and research institutions.

Expo 2023 Doha, spreading over 1.7 million sqm, will be held at Al Bidda Park between two Doha Metro stations from October 2, 2023 to March 28, 2024, under the theme ‘Green Desert Better Environment’.

Secretary General of the National Committee for hosting Expo 2023 Doha, Mohammed Ali Al Khouri, said that the main idea behind organising such a mega event is sharing experiences in developing agricultural sector and preserving environment.

Speaking on a Qatar TV programme yesterday, Al Khouri who is also Director of Public Parks Department at the Ministry of Municipality, said that the latest research in agricultural sector will be presented at the expo to help increase the agricultural land and develop it, especially in desert countries.

“The biggest section of the expo will be dedicated for agriculture sector. Usually this expo is held in countries with big agricultural land. This edition  will be the first time it will be organised in a desert land,” said Al Khouri.

“We can feel, from now, the great importance being given by participating countries and their universities and research organisations.” 

He said that the theme of expo is ‘Green Desert Better Environment’ as the talk of the time is environment, climate change and plantation, especially in desert countries which have limited resources of water and arable lands. 

“These challenges need intervention by agricultural experts and researchers to reduce the cost of production and water consumption. This is what we will try to achieve through the expo and even after the event the researches will continue. We expect fruitful results which will serve the entire region,” said Al Khouri.

He said that over 80 countries from all over the world are expected to participate in the expo showcasing and sharing their experiences which will be utilised by the desert and even agricultural countries in developing their farming methodologies.

On the other hand, he said, the expo will also focus on preserving the environment which has become a global issue seeking a reduction in carbon footprint.

“Qatar launched many initiatives to protect the environment such as Plant Million Tree initiative which is expected to be completed before FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” said Al Khouri. He said after that another initiative targeting to plant 10 million trees in the country will be launched. “These initiatives are being implemented mainly with the support of the government, however many companies and institutions from the private sector are participating in a big way,” said Al Khouri. 

2022 – The year to redefine cities as first tiers of urban governance

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2022—The year to redefine cities as the first tiers of urban governance is by SAYLI UDAS⎯MANKIKAR, published in Observer Research Foundation might hold some inspiring words for the MENA region’s own particular and diverse built environment. Seriously would 2022 be the year to redefine cities as first tiers of urban governance anywhere else than India? Does it really; let us find out.

A holistic restructuring of federal, systemic, and financial governance is required to empower our city governments

Nations debate over issues of climate change and pandemic response amongst others, but it is finally the cities that have the unenviable task of executing the ambitious agendas set up by the national elites. Cities find themselves burdened and crippled to deliver on these promises due to the following factors. First, the lack of adequate authority, federally, to run a city. Second, the funds allocated to cities do not quite match the duties they have to perform. And third, is the lack of capacities to plan, monitor, and execute tasks adequately.

It is time that the first responders to crisis, our cities, are no longer treated as mere urban local bodies that ensure water flows through our taps, garbage is picked up, and roads are tarred, but are actually treated as the custodians of urban governance in India.

In 2022, we must make serious federal and systemic amends to enable and strengthen cities to play out this role, and not only criticise these pale urban structures when they fail to respond to our large requirements. With the Glasgow Pact endorsing ‘the urgent need for multilevel and cooperative action’ at the local level, it was for the first time that the role of cities was officially appreciated and recognised in a COP summit. The new pact has also highlighted the need for climate adaptation through planning at the local government level. This is a cue that, globally, the way cities are being perceived is changing.  Decentralisation and devolution of power should be the axis around which federal reforms should be implemented and reimagined in cities. While we constantly invoke the 74th Amendment  of the Indian Constitution, which brought in the concept of devolution, the three tiers of government which placed urban local bodies at the lowest level, must be redefined 25 years after its conception. We have to assess the reasons why most cities were not able to implement many of these reforms.

With the Glasgow Pact endorsing ‘the urgent need for multilevel and cooperative action’ at the local level, it was for the first time that the role of cities was officially appreciated and recognised in a COP summit.

During the pandemic, even within the cities, a strong and successful model that emerged in high density population areas was ward-level management. Formation of ward committees, and the involvement of citizen voices and a local say at the hyper local level was a part of the 74th Amendment, which haven’t found resonance with many city authorities. There is reluctance, even within city governments, in passing over power to the lowest level and empowering citizens and their direct representatives.

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission, 2008 recommended that cities adopt a bottom-up approach of functioning on the principle of subsidiarity, which puts wards as the first level of governance that has people closest to it. The tasks are then pushed upwards to higher authorities when the local units are not enabled to perform them. The delegation of work is bottom-up. Such citizen involvement has been tried in Mumbai through its Advanced Locality Management (ALM) groups, and in Delhi through the Bhagidari scheme, where Resident Welfare Groups are set up to work on local civic issues. However, these were never empowered in their participation, through funds or functions. Recently, cities like Vishakapatnam have made requests to the government that the devolution should not be restricted to power but to development, where authorities of the region are able to administer all development work of that region and not be dependent on centrally-allocated funds for an infrastructure push.

The delegation of work is bottom-up. Such citizen involvement has been tried in Mumbai through its Advanced Locality Management (ALM) groups, and in Delhi through the Bhagidari scheme, where Resident Welfare Groups are set up to work on local civic issues.

The 15th Finance Commission report tabled in the Budget Session in 2021 was a ray of hope for urban governance. The issue of devolution of taxes to cities after local taxes like Octroi and VAT were subsumed into Goods and Services Taxes (GST) had attracted a lot of clamour and there was demand that a separate City GST must be constituted. But while the consideration of this demand still seems a long time away, the 15th Finance Commission has made an absolute allocation of 4.15 percent of the divisible pool—approximately INR 3,464 billion from the divisible pool of taxes—to local governments. After it is distributed, this will constitute almost 25 percent of the total municipal budgets of most cities. The Commission has also given a fiscal thrust to metropolitan governance by introducing outcome funding to 50 million metropolitan regions with population of over 150 million. Here, an outlay of INR 380 billion has been laid out for 100-percent funding for indicators related to water and sanitation, air quality, and other services.

But this is again a double whammy, considering it is still going to flow top-down from the centre to state governments, which then devolve the money to cities. There has always been a question mark on whether the amounts allocated to a city get used completely, since this will depend on the absorption capacities of cities and their ability to spend municipal funds.

The Commission has also suggested that other avenues such as city incubation grants should be used to develop smaller towns and regions in the country. This has gained significance in areas with strong political leadership or cities supported by the Smart Cities Mission, which encourages, handholds, and sets up guarantee mechanisms for private investment into the urban sector.

City governments must make their own efforts to ensure that the taxes which are within their ambit—like property tax—are paid by citizens, for which unique mechanisms need to be put in place for ensuring collections are made.

Along with devolution of financial or other powers comes transparency and accountability in its systems, the onus for which lies on the city governments. The first step to transparency will be to ensure that city budgets are put in the public domain and follow a simple format that is both easy to understand and comprehensible. City governments must make their own efforts to ensure that the taxes which are within their ambit—like property tax—are paid by citizens, for which unique mechanisms need to be put in place for ensuring collections are made. As issues like climate change gain ground, city governments must introduce tax rebates for green infrastructure to achieve their targets.

In conclusion, a three-pronged holistic approach of reimagining federal governance, reworking financial governance, and restructuring systemic governance in urban agglomerations might be the magic pill for creating strong cities. If we want our first responders and drivers of our quality of life to succeed, our political leaders and administrators will need to lend their muscle to put cities first.

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Grassroots Food Security Initiative Fosters Agricultural Self-Sufficiency

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F
OOD SECURITY‘s article on this new trend is merely a description of the rediscovery of oneself’s subsistence way of living one’s life in the large but empty regions of the MENA. It addresses the particulars of how the Lebanese grassroots food security initiative fosters Agricultural self-sufficiency as if by chance. Here it is anyway.

Lebanese Grassroots Food Security Initiative Fosters Agricultural Self-Sufficiency

A grassroots national food security initiative is working to revive the Lebanese food system through projects that foster agricultural self-sufficiency.

Ardi Ardak—which translates to my land, your land in Arabic—launched in 2019 to rehabilitate abandoned arable lands and decrease Lebanon’s dependence on food imports. The initiative is a collaboration among The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) at the American University of Beirut (AUB), the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), the Food Heritage Foundation, and Zico House.

“The idea back then was to create a mechanism that would link local production to the markets,” Nicolas Gholam, founding coordinator of Ardi Ardak, tells Food Tank. Working with rural, small-scale producers under an agroecological, climate-smart approach is central to Ardi Ardak’s mission, explains Gholam.

The food security initiative formed as “a response to the deteriorating socioeconomic situation in Lebanon,” says Gholam.

In October 2019, protests ignited against government corruption and austerity measures. Prior to the 17 October Revolution, Lebanon faced a massive economic downturn. By the end of 2019, Lebanon’s public debt ballooned to the world’s third highest, estimated at 171 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2020, with the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy worsened. During the first six months of 2021, the inflation rate averaged 131 percent, disproportionately affecting the poor and middle class. 

According to a recent report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.N. Economic and Social Commission For Western Asia (ESCWA), the loss of purchasing power renders 40 percent of Lebanese households unable to satisfy their basic food necessities.

In 2020, the explosion in Beirut’s port—which handled 70 percent of food imports in a country importing about 85 percent of its food—devastated Lebanon’s food supply. The blast destroyed a major grain silo and damaged 120,000 metric tons of staple food stocks stored at the port, including wheat, soy and other beans. Food prices skyrocketed.

Ardi Ardak emerged in response to these events. The initiative links investors and large landowners with small farmers and rural women, and rehabilitates abandoned arable lands. Almost 89 percent of Lebanon’s population lives in urban areas, while agricultural land comprises 64 percent of the country. According to Gholam, “Those people who came from rural areas still have lands they were not looking after.”

According to a 2020 report from the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, the agrifood sector remains a low priority from the government. This has resulted in limited public investment in infrastructure and research, and poor organization of the agrifood value chain.

To address these challenges, Ardi Ardak first conducts assessments on the agricultural viability of abandoned lands. The initiative aims to act as a hub connecting large landowners who have left their lands—whether they are “bankers, or restaurateurs, or anything,” says Gholam—with farmers still living in rural areas. Then, the initiative provides technical guidance to promote sustainable agricultural practices for farmers willing to work the land.

“In the first year, we reached 180 assessments, and it’s been steady ever since,” Gholam tells Food Tank.

Ardi Ardak believes it is also important to provide market access and adequate infrastructure for rural small-scale producers. The initiative aims to ease the burden of managing every single aspect of the value chain for smallholder farmers, because, Gholam says, “not all smallholders are entrepreneurs.” Through partnerships with humanitarian organizations and private sector start-ups, the initiative works to create an environment where farmers can focus on production.

Gholam notes that, on average, rural small-scale producers spend two and a half days per week focused on delivery or selling activities. “This time should be spent in the workshop, or on the farm, or testing products,” Gholam says.

The marketing channel Soul aal Souk helps to achieve this goal. A monthly farmers market established in partnership with AUB, it fosters linkages between urban residents and rural producers, offering city residents access to healthy, traditional food. Ardi Ardak supports food trails promoting smallholder Lebanese producers through rural tourism. To further cultivate market access, Ardi Ardak also collaborates with Food and Roots, a company that gathers, packages and sells traditional and innovative products from rural areas.

In the future, the grassroots initiative hopes to complete two projects to transform landscapes, livelihoods, and the Lebanese food system. Ardi Ardak is partnering with a local municipality in the Beqaa Valley to implement an agroforestry model on a large swath of land. They hope to help residents sustain the local forest, work the agricultural land, and enjoy a public park. In Tripoli, Afif Wehbe, an Agricultural Engineer at AUB, says Ardi Ardak is in the early stages of plans to build a small urban garden divided among community members, which would include a section for a farmers market. 

“We have potential, but we need the infrastructure,” Gholam tells Food Tank. “We’ll start by giving people an option they did not know existed beforehand, and that’s a good enough thing to start with.”

Photo courtesy of Ardi Ardak

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