Countdown to COP28

 

The countdown to the 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) has begun. As the world gears up to address the cross-cutting themes of finance, technology, innovation, and inclusion, here are key reasons you should keep an eye on COP28:

  1. Learn about the latest trends:

Islamic finance principles of social responsibility naturally align with sustainability objectives. With COP28 being hosted in Dubai, there will be more of a focus on Islamic Finance than ever before, offering an opportunity to understand how Islamic finance instruments like green sukuk can support climate mitigation and adaptation projects. The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) in partnership with the Islamic Finance Council, UK (UKIFC) is putting together the largest Islamic Finance focused event at COP, set to share insights on how Islamic finance offers an ethical model for financing sustainability.

  1. Ethical Investments:

, aligning well with the goals of COP28. There will be opportunities to explore ethical investments that adhere to both Islamic finance principles and environmental sustainability. Companies like NuQi Wealth which provides opportunities for ethical investment will be at COP.

  1. Contribute to shaping policy:

With sustainability a growing priority worldwide, policymakers are looking for solutions. COP28 will negotiate policies like emissions reductions, adaptation goals, and climate funding mechanisms. With key policymakers from all over the world attending, participants will have the opportunity to share their perspectives on how Islamic finance can be furthered through policies, regulations, and tax frameworks to drive sustainable development.

  1. Join the global community:

COP events are global in scope, with participation from governments, businesses, and organizations from around the world which offers the chance for attendees to network and collaborate with international stakeholders who are shaping the future of finance and sustainability.

Islamic banks like Gatehouse Bank, takaful providers, law firms, fintechs, consultants, and other professionals will be in attendance. Also, DDCAP Group, a company that offers the Islamic financial sector ethical, sustainable intermediary services, will be at COP28.

  1. Innovative Solutions:

The conference is a hub for innovation and solutions. Discover the latest advancements in green technology, climate mitigation, and adaptation strategies.

The UKIFC will be launching the Tayyib Project at the Unlocking Islamic Finance Summit at COP28 on Tuesday, 5th December 2023. This innovative kitemark unites best practices of ESG and Shariah compliant finance, aimed at facilitating the development of sustainable financial products that are both Islamic and conventional finance approved.

The "Unlocking Islamic Finance at COP 28" event is where the intersection of Islamic finance and climate action will take centre stage. Learn more about it here!

#IslamicFinance #COP28 #Sustainability #EthicalFinance

 

 

 

 


UKIFC to host Global Islamic Finance and the SDGs Series 2022

Global Islamic Finance and the SDGs Series (19, 20, 21 September)

UKIFC in partnership with United Nations, GEFI, Refinitiv and IsDB is organising a virtual global summit on Islamic finance and the SDGs, to coincide with the UN General Assembly 2022 and taking place on 19, 20 and 21 September. Click here to sign up now, or click here to find out more.


SHARE YOUR VIEWS | Islamic Finance and Sustainable Banking: Global Retail Survey

We want to hear your views on sustainability in the Islamic banking industry! Our Islamic Finance and Sustainable Banking: Global Retail Survey is a landmark study that aims to understand the views of customers of Islamic banks on environmental sustainability and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The survey takes 4 minutes to complete, and will help inform the direction of the Islamic banking sector going forward. Please click here to share your valuable feedback.


The SDGs and Islamic finance: 5 publications to read

By Mohammad Hashimi

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) represent the global development agenda and need mobilization of capital from a variety of sources including Islamic finance. Here are five publications in on Islamic finance and SDG that those interested in the topic should read.

1. Innovation in Islamic Finance: Green Sukuk for SDGs

Innovation in Islamic Finance: Green Sukuk for SDGs, The Islamic Finance Council UK, 40 pages, 2021

The report, commissioned by UNDP Indonesia, explores the role of green sukuk in the context of climate change and the green economy. Indonesia has issued the world's first sovereign green sukuk in 2018 and the world’s first retail green sukuk in 2019. The report highlights the opportunity for Islamic finance industry to play a major role in achieving the UN SDG. The report suggests green sukuk could bridge the gap of funding towards sustainability and provides several recommendations for the development of the green sukuk market.

It finds that “green sukuk are a relatively new development with limited issuances but have a clear alignment with the value system of Islamic law. As Islamic finance evolves, innovative products such as green sukuk represent the potential for a new class of products that consider more than legal permissibility, moving towards a positive impact in line with SDGs.”

2. How Islamic Finance Contributes to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

How Islamic Finance Contributes to Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, OECD Development Co-operation Directorate, 44 pages, 2020

In this report, the authors argue that in Muslim-majority contexts, Islamic finance could be socially, culturally and ethically more acceptable than conventional finance and better suit development. The report discusses Islamic social finance instruments and opportunities that can be used for achieving UN SDGs.

The report “identifies the opportunities that Islamic finance presents for donors, as they look to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve the SDGs by 2030, Arab and OECD DAC donors need to mobilize innovative forms of financing and deliver the UN Secretary-General’s call to deepen the transformation of development finance systems.”

3. Reforming Islamic Finance for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Reforming Islamic Finance for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals, Tariqullah Khan, 19 pages, 2019

The author explains the possibilities of Islamic finance contributing towards SDGs in the light of objectives of Shariah. The paper examines that a change in the perspective current system will be helpful in achieving SDGs.

The paper suggests that Maqasid should be given more importance, and argues that “The paradigm of Islamic economics and finance is guided by the motivation of comprehensive human development (CHD) and its preservation as manifested in the objectives of Sharīʿah (maqāṣid al-Sharīʿah)”

4. Role of Islamic Finance in Sustainable Development Goals

Role of Islamic Finance in Sustainable Development Goals, Abdul Ghafar Ismail, Salman Ahmed Shaikh, 16 pages, 2017

The paper explains the potential of achieving UN SDGs in light of the philosophical foundations of Islamic finance. The authors focus on environmental and climate changes caused by human beings. The paper suggests Islamic social finance instruments like zakat (obligatory alms) and waqf (charitable endowment) can contribute towards scaling up efforts in commercially non-viable but socially vital projects and programs.

They find that “there is much potential for Islamic finance to promote sustainable economic development through such approaches as widening access to finance, financing infrastructure projects, and expanding the reach of Takaful. Real sector based productive enterprise in Islamic finance has positive implications for the ecosystem.”

5. Sustainable Development Goals and Role of Islamic Finance

Sustainable Development Goals and Role of Islamic Finance, Habib Ahmed, Mahmoud Mohieldin, Jos Verbeek, Farida Aboulmagd, 47 page, 2015

According to the authors, basic principles of Islamic finance stabilize the economic system and give importance to social responsibility. The working paper explains how social financing tools like Zakath and Waqf help to achieve SDGs by enhancing stability and resilience to the financial sector, financial inclusion, reducing vulnerability of the poor, contributing to environmental and social issues, and infrastructure development.

They argue that “practical measures are required to enhance the contribution of the Islamic financial sector to achieve the SDGs. We have identified five tracks through which Islamic Finance could support efforts to achieve the SDGs: financial stability, financial inclusion, reducing vulnerability, social and environmental activities, and infrastructure finance.” 

Concluding thoughts

Together, these reports and papers display the harmony between Islamic economic thought, Islamic finance, and the SDGs. However, they also show that the majority of the work to practically utilize Islamic finance for achieving the SDGs remains to be done. 


'The Future of Green and Sustainable Finance'- UKIFC at Dubai Expo 2020

The UKIFC are thrilled to be delivering a Global Leaders event in partnership with the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, as part of the Scottish Government’s Expo 2020 Dubai Race to Net Zero Day. Taking place in Dubai International Financial Centre, the event will look at future of green and sustainable finance with a particular focus on financing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speakers include:

  • HE Dr Reza Baqir, Governor, State Bank of Pakistan
  • Christian Gueckel, Chief Risk Officer, Head of Research, Sedco Capital
  • Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Scottish Government
  • Mustafa Adil, Head of Islamic Finance, Data & Analytics, London Stock Exchange Group
  • Graham Burnside, Senior Advisor, GEFI & Chair, UKIFC
  • Syed Samar Hasnain, Executive Director, State Bank of Pakistan
  • Omar Shaikh, Managing Director, GEFI

Scotland has a unique and strong heritage in ethical finance through the world’s first mutual savings scheme, the world’s first savings bank and indeed the father of modern economics Adam Smith. Smith’s reconciliation between self-interest and innate goodness through his enquiries into moral philosophy and the causes of the wealth of nations created the chassis by which modern markets and economies functions.

With the meteoric rise of ethical/sustainable finance (over $80trn signed up to PRI) once again modern markets face the challenge of reconciling profit and purpose. This event will unpack and explore key thematic in the financial markets in addressing this global trend which aligns with Expo 2020 Dubai’s focus on sustainability and the UN SDGs.

We will also be officially launching our latest report with State Bank of Pakistan (SBP on implementing the SDGs into national economic framework.

There is still time to register to join us here.


The best Islamic Finance Qualifications in 2022

Islamic finance has been hailed as a means to catalyze economic growth in the UK in 2022. For those of just starting out in the field- or looking to solidify our practice within it- now might be the perfect time to gain a qualification.

Islamic Finance Qualifications are a great way to integrate a Shariah and faith-based perspective to your pre-exisiting financial knowledge. Gaining an Islamic Finance Qualification represents a fantastic opportunity to learn how to implement Shariah principles in a business and insurance capacity, and to increase your subject-awareness more broadly.

Knowing what qualification to take can be a challenge, whatever stage of your career you’re currently at. To help you take your next step on your Islamic Finance journey, we have put together a directory of UK-based and remote qualifications to suit your learning needs.

UK-Based:


Remote Learning / Outside of the UK
:

The UKIFC has specialist capability in advising government agencies, regulatory bodies and financial institutions on creating enabling frameworks for Islamic finance, as well as empowering Shariah scholars and finance professionals. To find out how we can help you or your organisation, contact  info@ukifc.com


UKIFC COP26 sessions available on Efx.Global

The UKIFC was delighted to support the Global Ethical Finance Initiative through their ‘Faith in the SDGs’ programme at COP26  across the 2 weeks of the summit, with a series of public and private meetings. A number of these sessions are now available to watch back on EFX.Global, including the whole of the Faith in the SDGs mini-summit which took place at the University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School.

Take me to the Faith in the SDGs mini summit on Efx.Global

Watch all Faith and Finance related content on Ex.Global

Look back at the photos of Faith in the SDGs at COP26


New: COP26 'Faith in the SDGs' photobook released

The UKIFC were honoured to be parth of the programme of activities around Faith in the SDGs at COP26 which took place across the 2 weeks of the summit, with a series of public and private meetings. The activities were held in partnership with The Global Ethical Finance Initiative, FaithInvest, Wahed Invest, Gatehouse Bank and the Church of Scotland.

The private meetings took place at Ross Priory, on the beautiful banks of Loch Lomond, near Glasgow.

You can view all of the photographs here.


Islamic Finance & Faith in the SDGs at COP26

For many, a warming climatic system is expected to impact the availability of necessities like freshwater, food security, and energy, while efforts to address climate change, both through adaptation and mitigation, will similarly inform and shape the global development agenda. The links between climate change and sustainable development are strong. Poor and developing countries, particularly least developed countries, will be among those most adversely affected and least able to cope with the anticipated shocks to their social, economic and natural systems.

As national ministers and heads of state convened in Glasgow, Scotland, to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) curated a unique programme to focalise this sustainable development challenge through the prism of Islamic finance, a proxy to the global south.

To raise awareness and drive climate action at COP26 GEFI, a non-profit dedicated to enabling finance to deliver positive change and help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ran a Path to COP26 campaign. The “Faith in the SDGs” workstream, led by the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), curated a unique one-day hybrid Islamic finance programme to coincide with the COP26’s finance day (Wednesday 3rd November 2021). Islamic finance experts from across the globe gathered both in-person, at the stunning Ross Priory on the banks of Loch Lomond, and remotely to demonstrate the important role Islamic finance can play in supporting climate action in the global south and beyond.

In the SDGs, UN Member States express their commitment to protect the planet from degradation and take urgent action on climate change. One of the most salient factors that challenge the achievement of the SDGs by 2030 is the shortage of financial resources. Several reports and studies have stated that around US$5-7 trillion dollars are required every year to achieve the SDGs, and with governments and donor agencies unable to meet demand, private sector funding is required.

The natural alignment between the SDGs and Islamic principles together with the size of the industry (currently US $2.5 trillion and expected to reach US $3.8 trillion in 2022[1]) mean that Islamic finance is well placed to create instruments that drive significant capital towards the SDGs and climate action.0 The ambitions of the SDGs are consistent with the objectives of Shariah (maqasid al-Shariah) which aim to bring benefits to mankind and prevent harm as well as ensure sustainability of life on earth. SDG alignment presents a unique opportunity for Islamic financial institutions to showcase the inherent social good and ethical basis of Islamic finance.

One of the key challenges in implementing the Paris Agreement and addressing climate change is the funding required to implement projects that contribute positively to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Whilst three quarters of countries have adaptation plans in place, financing remains an issue. According to UNEP FI “annual adaptation costs in developing countries are estimated at USD 70 billion” with his figure “expected to reach USD 140-300 billion in 2030 and USD 280-500 billion in 2050”.[2]

Islamic finance is not limited to Muslim countries and has the potential to support the delivery of NDCs. This could be particularly attractive to the 57 Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states which collectively represent over 1.82 billion people (24% of the total world population) and include several low-income countries that are politically or culturally marginalised.

The GEFI / UKIFC Islamic Finance programme at COP26 provided a high profile platform to explore the role Islamic finance can play in attracting the capital needed to achieve the Paris Agreement and deliver the SDGs.

The first session, delivered in partnership with the United Nations (UN) and UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), discussed how Islamic social financing instruments can collectively promote the principles of social justice, solidarity, brotherhood and mutuality which can serve to help communities respond to and become more resilient to climate change whether related to food and water shortages, displacement as a result of natural disasters, or environmental education amongst other impacts.

Dr. Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary of UNESCWA noted the heavy debt burden in the Arab region, with eight times more debt received than grants for financing climate projects between 2013 and 2019. She highlighted zakat and wakaf assets (which exceed USD$3trillion throughout Muslim countries) as an importance source of grant funding to support innovation in sustainable development. She also provided details of the ESCWA Climate-SDGs Debt Swap / Donor Nexus Initiative which supports the conversion of national debt servicing payments of foreign debt into domestic investment for implementing climate-resilient projects that advance national SDGs. She asked that we all act collectively to utilise Islamic social funds to support the acceleration of the SDGs.

Dr. Al Meraikhi, Humanitarian Envoy to the UN Secretary-General highlighted the launch of International Dialogue on the Role of Islamic Social Financing in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals between the UN and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and noted that faith-based organisations have a crucial role in addressing the finance gap to achieve the SDGs.

The next session saw the UKIFC, Her Majesty’s Treasury, Ministry of Finance in the Republic of Indonesia Ministry, Islamic Development Bank, London Stock Exchange Group and GEFI jointly announce the launch of a High-Level Working Group on Green Sukuk (HLWG).

The 3-year initiative will direct investment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the world’s regions in most need. The announcement followed work of the Global Islamic Finance and UN SDGs Taskforce and a recent report “Innovation in Islamic Finance: Green Sukuk for SDGs” commissioned by UNDP Indonesia in which the UKIFC estimated that an additional US$30+ billion of capital towards the SDGs can be raised by 2025 through green and sustainability sukuk. To unlock this finance the HLWG has been launched to coordinate international efforts. The report showed how green and sustainability sukuk can be a viable financial instrument attracting billions of dollars of capital for green projects that support the delivery of the Paris Agreement.

The HLWG, led by the founding partners, will bring together expert global stakeholders with the UKIFC and GEFI acting as Secretariat. It will focus on the following objectives:


  • Ensuring green and sustainability sukuk is highlighted at annual COP summits up to and including 2023 to increase awareness of the instrument and proactively encourage the issuance of such sukuk by all market stakeholders (corporates, multilaterals and sovereigns) as a key Islamic financing key tool.
  • Assist and enhance existing established global standard setting bodies and regulatory initiatives run by the UN, IsDB and others (e.g. PRI, NGFS, Transform, PRB) to encourage better alignment of the Islamic finance industry with the global green and sustainability financial movement.
  • Identify and address specific existing challenges for green and sustainability sukuk on the supply and demand side.

As part of the introduction to the session UKIFC Managing Director Omar Shaikh outlined the natural alignment between the principles of Islamic finance and the role that green sukuk can play in channelling finance towards the climate emergency and the SDGs.

John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister then highlighted the UK’s strong credentials in green and Islamic finance and positioned green sukuk as an important route to secure investment for sustainable projects. He noted the vital role that Islamic finance must play in the green agenda. Julia Hoggett, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange plc later welcomed the HLWG as a significant milestone for the development of Islamic finance and sustainable finance globally and stated that Islamic finance is a key component of sustainable finance. She also stressed the need to scale green sukuk to ensure that access to finance in a manner consistent with faith values.

As a pioneer in the issuance of international green sukuk, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, explained the Republic of Indonesia’s commitment to using the HLWG to share experiences and provide valuable precedents at the same time learning and applying best practices approaches. With the world recovering from global pandemic, Sri Mulyani Indrawati said that the HLWG provides the urgent momentum for nations, multilateral institutions and corporates across the world to work together to grow sustainably for future generations.

The Islamic Finance programme concluded with a Global Islamic Finance and SDGs Taskforce meeting. The Taskforce is a unique collaboration between the public and private sectors spearheaded by the UKIFC, HM Treasury, IsDB and assisted by GEFI. It brings together global Islamic finance practitioners to explore the opportunities for OIC member states to develop a collective approach to sustainable finance and funding the SDGs and climate-linked NDCs.

The meeting included:


  • An update from Sima Kamil, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan who presented on the pioneering work in sustainable banking being undertaken as part of the Pakistan working group.
  • A presentation by Gatehouse Bank, Chief Executive Officer Charles Haresnape on a Guidance Note prepared in partnership with UKIFC and GEFI to provide a consistent approach to reporting and disclosure for Islamic banks signed up to the UNEP FI Principles for Responsible Banking.
  • An update from UKIFC Advisory Board member Sultan Choudhury on the progress of the largest ever global Islamic finance survey on sustainability.

After two weeks of negotiating, the Glasgow Climate Pact was successful in maintaining the focus on 1.5 degrees Celsius as well as creating a 2-year timetable for agreeing to more ambitious and faster NDCs to provide a lever for more progressive countries to ensure slower countries make the step up. Although the agreement to “phase down” coal power angered some it is notable that this is the first COP agreement that has made a direct reference to phasing down fossil fuels.

The Pact urges developed countries to “fully deliver” the $100bn per year goal through to 2025 as agreed in 2009. It also agrees to double the proportion of climate finance going towards adaptation and, despite a lack of progress, it confirms that a “technical assistance facility” will be introduced to support loss and damage in relation to climate change in developing countries.

Whilst private finance is not a substitute for increased public finance, it will be vital in increasing the scale and reach of climate action and enabling the transition. The programme was a high-profile platform for Islamic finance at COP26 and through the practically focused discussions has demonstrated how Islamic finance can be used effectively by developing countries to support NDC’s by attracting investment, at scale, to projects that, in line with the Paris Agreement, reduce national greenhouse gas emissions.

View all of the videos from our Path to COP26 programme at https://www.efx.global/cop26/.

[1] ICD – Refinitiv, ‘Islamic Finance Development Report 2019: Shifting Dynamics’ https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/ifg-publications/231019121250Z/

[2] United Nations Environment Programme (2021). Adaptation Gap Report 2020, Nairobi.


UKIFC Featured on Radio 4's You and Yours

We were delighted to be featured on BBC Radio 4 ‘s You and Yours last week to discuss Islamic Student Finance in the UK and the need for Sharia-compliant student loans and finance.

You can find a full link to the programme below:




https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00114t9