With the Paris Agreement, Brunei Darussalam along with other nations is committed to take action in addressing climate change.
As Chairperson of the Executive Committee on Climate Change and Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy Haji Azhar bin Haji Yahya explained in an interview with the Borneo Bulletin, Brunei looked at its situation in terms of being an oil and gas producer, being blessed with more than 72 per cent of its land covered by primary forest, and also being a young nation that is developing.
“Based on those three, we came up with the Brunei Darussalam National Council on Climate Change (BNCCC) that captures those Brunei circumstances,” he said. “The idea behind this climate change policy is that it will set the pathway for Brunei to become a low carbon economy, meaning that Brunei’s economy will be sustainable as it goes into the future, but also will be able to still grow and be a developed nation as we aspire in Brunei Vision 2035.”
He noted that recently during the 26th Session of the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP 26), Brunei was among the nations to commit to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Brunei also endorsed the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which he explained raised ambitions on forests and land in terms of sustainable production and use. Additionally, the Sultanate was among the countries to endorse the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement, where nations that signed agreed to accelerate deployment of renewable energy and phase out the use of coal by 2050.
Towards realising Brunei’s climate action aspirations, and in support of the country’s
national climate change mitigation initiatives, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) and the Brunei Darussalam National Council on Climate Change (BNCCC) intend to sign a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the first quarter of 2022.
“I think this is a very important step taken by BIBD,” said Haji Azhar. “Finance is one of
the key enablers for climate change action, and access to funds is key. By having this
dedicated focus from BIBD, this will allow companies or even individuals to have access
to these climate change funds.”
BIBD’s Acting Managing Director and CEO Hajah Noraini binti Haji Sulaiman explained
that through the MoU, BIBD is looking to work collaboratively with the BNCCC, with the
bank aspiring to become a catalyst to create awareness on the climate change agenda and
to be a driver of influence to its clients, the community and industry.
BIBD has a large following on social media, as well as a large customer base of over 200,000 people and around 10,000 corporates banking with them, she affirmed. “Hence, leveraging on our sphere of influence within the community will definitely bring the education and awareness to a more scalable audience.”
Through this MoU, BIBD’s involvement with the national climate change agenda will include progressively implementing Protokol Hijau (Green Protocol); providing funding and being the partner of choice in supporting projects for crowdfunding of the five established agendas of tree planting, nature-based solutions, renewable energy, waste management and awareness, while not exhaustive to this; to build education and awareness collaboratively and provide an ecosystem for knowledge sharing to support the Paris Agreement; to provide support towards the establishment of the ASEAN Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance; and to provide support for carbon pricing and carbon market research and development.
“Our aspiration is also to become an official partner for the Race to Zero, with a strong commitment to be the first partner for BNCCC,” she shared.
Meanwhile, on the significance of the MoU, Haji Azhar said, “I think in the Brunei context, it will become more and more apparent in terms of how useful this will be in the end. What’s also good is that the financial institution is coming to the forefront on this, and they want to make it for everyone to be really aware that we are supportive of climate change action and we are putting our commitment on it by providing this fund, so that it will help to realise the ambitions and execute the projects.”
He added that while the policy for the national climate change agenda has very much been driven by the government, it ultimately has to be a whole-of-nation approach. “So whether it’s the government, the industry or the community itself, everybody has to chip in their bit to the agenda.”
Hajah Noraini explained that the funding will revolve around the three pillars of BIBD’s Sustainability Framework – environmental protection, responsible entrepreneurship and inclusive social impact.
Under environmental protection are clean energy, renewable energy, electric vehicles, biodiversity, sustainable aquaculture, agriculture/ forestry and sustainable procurement. The responsible entrepreneurship pillar includes digitalisation, infrastructure, the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investing (UN PRI), low-carbon transportation infrastructure and asset management. Areas under inclusive social impact are financial literacy, access to financing, promoting sustainable entrepreneurship and providing access to digitalisation.
BIBD has already conducted numerous corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that align with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the focus now is on embedding sustainability within the business itself, while also working collaboratively with other partners, including companies, other organisations, NGOs and the public.
“Sustainability is a huge task. Addressing climate change is a major effort that needs to be done collectively and collaboratively. We need to act now, for the life of the next generation is really in our hands to resolve.”
“We understand we cannot do this alone. We can provide the funding to like-minded people for the cause that they want to do,” she said. “It’s not an easy task, nor a small one, but we believe as partners to society we can address this; however behemoth it seems in scale. Insya Allah, we can and will do it together.”
Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy
– Launched on July 25, 2020 to pave Brunei Darussalam’s low carbon and climate-resilient pathways for a sustainable nation.
– Driven by the five objectives (Maqasid) of Syariah.
– Highlights 10 strategic areas: industrial emissions; forest cover; electric vehicles; renewable energy; power management; carbon pricing; waste management; climate resilience and adaptation; carbon inventory; as well as awareness and education.
– Guided by the principles of achieving Brunei Vision 2035 and promoting the country’s economic security, sustainability and prosperity through a low carbon approach in three key areas: oil and gas exports; environmental sustainability; and economic diversification.
Memorandum of Understanding
– BIBD and the BNCCC intend to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the first quarter of 2022.
– Through the MoU, BIBD will work collaboratively with the BNCCC and aspires to become a catalyst to create awareness on the climate change agenda and to be a driver of influence to its clients, the community and industry.
– Will help realise ambitions and execute projects in support of climate change action.
– Will allow companies and individuals to have access to climate change funds, where BIBD will provide funding and be the partner of choice in supporting relevant projects.
– Funding will revolve around three pillars of BIBD’s Sustainability Framework – environmental protection, responsible entrepreneurship and inclusive social impact.