UKIFC launch ‘Islamic Finance and the SDGs’

The Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), in partnership with Malaysia based International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) and the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), has today launched the third report in its 4-part thought leadership series that aims to assist and encourage active engagement in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the global Islamic finance sector.

UKIFC Senior Adviser Sultan Choudhury will formally announce the report, to an audience of over 3,000 financial practitioners, at GEFI’s flagship annual Ethical Finance Summit.

The report provides an analysis of responsible banking in the Islamic finance sector, assessing the level of engagement with the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) amongst banks in Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states and analysing the approaches used by 9 Islamic finance signatories. It also features notes from interviews with Al Baraka Banking Group, Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad, CIMB Group, Gatehouse Bank, Gulf International Bank (UK) and Jaiz Bank who have all shown notable leadership in responsible banking.  

The PRB, which launched in 2019, is the world’s leading framework for responsible banking and is underpinned by six Principles that help signatory banks to align with the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.

With its underlying Shariah principles, Islamic finance is naturally aligned to responsible banking and is well positioned to lead the financial services sector’s efforts towards achieving the SDGs. However, whilst a small number of organisations are making significant progress the report has highlighted the pressing need to raise awareness, in OIC member states and beyond, of responsible banking and the benefits to be achieved by integrating Shariah compliance with sustainable finance strategies and becoming PRB signatories.

TAKEAWAYS FROM THE REPORT INCLUDE:

  • 49 of the 57 OIC member states do not contain any PRB signatory organisations.
  • When the PRB was launched in 2019, 14.3% of the founding signatories were based in OIC member states. Now only 10.0% of the 221 PRB worldwide signatories are based within OIC member states despite the OIC member states having a collective population of over 1.82 billion (24% of the total world population).
  • Of the 61 countries containing PRB signatory organisations, 13.1% are OIC member states.
  • Within the 8 OIC members states that contain PRB signatories there are 22 signatory organisations, located in Africa (50.0%), Europe (27.3%) and Asia (22.7%).
  • 38 PRB signatories offer Islamic finance products and services, which equates to 17.2% of all PRB signatories.
  • The majority of Islamic finance institutions that are PRB signatories, 27 of the 38 organisations, are based outside OIC member states, across Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
  • Only 3 of the 38 institutions offering Islamic finance products or services are fully Shariah-compliant, namely Al Baraka Banking Group (Bahrain), Gatehouse Bank (UK) and Jaiz Bank (Nigeria).  
  • The most popular Islamic product / service offered by non-OIC member states signatories is corporate finance, with 40.7% of signatories offering this. Amongst OIC member states the most popular product / services are personal banking and personal, business and corporate banking, at 27.3%.

PRB signatories are currently underrepresented in OIC member states, suggesting the PRB should increase its activities within OIC member states. Awareness of the PRB in OIC member states could be increased through working groups, targeted awareness and outreach activities. Given the mutual benefits of becoming PRB signatories to both Islamic finance institutions and the responsible banking industry, increasing engagement should be treated as a priority.

Download the report.

AUTHOR

Sam Wheldon-Bayes

All stories by: Sam Wheldon-Bayes