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New report highlights how Islamic financial institutions are addressing the environmental & social impact of their financing

By RFI Foundation | 30-Apr-2018

Zurich, Switzerland, April 30, 2018 – The Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2018 concluded last week with the release by the RFI Foundation of a report about Islamic financial institutions’ perceptions and actions on their environmental and social impacts.  The report includes a detailed survey of over 30 Islamic financial institutions’ sustainable finance practices. 

The survey finds growing awareness that Islamic finance has an ethical mandate to address social and environmental impacts linked to the activities they finance.  The results of a survey, coupled with an examination of more than 30 case studies from Islamic finance and within Muslim majority countries finds that key challenges on implementation, building internal and external stakeholder awareness about the financial impact of environmental and social issues, and highlight the need for greater capacity building within the Islamic finance ecosystem. 

The report launch capped off three days of events last week starting with two roundtables and followed by the two-day RFI Summit.  These events focused on a range of topics including how technology (including the blockchain) can be applied for improving sustainable finance as well as the role of faith- and values-based financial institutions.  Speakers and participants worked together to identify strategies that enable cooperation between faith-based and conventional responsible finance institutions towards the shared goals outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. 

During the two days of the RFI Summit 2018, participants at the Summit heard a consistent call to action on impact finance from a diverse array of speakers including HRH Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano, visionary entrepreneur and venture capitalist Dr. Dr. h.c. Henri B. Meier, Dr. Iyad Abu Moghli, UN Environment’s Principal Advisor on Engagement with Faith-Based Organizations, Dr. Robert Ruttmann, Founder of Redesigning Financial Services, and Delfina López Freijido, Director for Sustainable Finance, G20 Unit at the Ministry of Treasury for the Republic of Argentina.

Participants also heard presentations from three winners of the Support Disruption for Good Challenge, which creates a forum for leading entrepreneurs selected by an independent judging panel to share their companies with the leaders from across the financial sector.   The three winners, AID:Tech, INBONIS and thirdACT, demonstrate in practice how companies can use technology to enable greater investment and financing to flow to support healthcare, agriculture and sustainable cities.

Blake Goud, CEO of RFI Foundation commented: “We are excited to take the ideas shared and recommendations created across the three days of discussions to help us continue to build awareness and encourage convergence of activities across the responsible finance industry.  The launch of our report on Islamic finance and environmental impact provides data-driven insights on where the Islamic finance industry is today and the opportunities and challenges it faces in addressing the critical environmental and social issues that will be important factors in its future competitive position.”

Mounir Khouzami, Co-Founder & President of Swiss Arab Network said: “By showcasing work being done across the responsible finance industry, we hope the RFI Summit will create a lasting impact well beyond the three days we have been together in Switzerland.  There will be a lasting imprint on responsible finance through the RFI Foundation’s report launch, the presentations by the winners of the Support Disruption for Good Challenge, and the conclusions we can draw out of discussions based on real-world case studies that will produce specific recommendations for the organizers and industry stakeholders to take forward.”

For more information about the RFI Summit 2018, please visit www.rfisummit.org.  The RFI Foundation’s “Environmental Impact in Islamic Finance” report can be downloaded on the Summit website, or at www.rfi-foundation.org.

About the Responsible Finance & Investment Summit 2018

The Summit was held on 26 and 27 April 2018 at the Atlantis Hotel by Giardino in Zurich, Switzerland, and brought together key stakeholders within responsible finance to build connections to new growth opportunities and more measurable impact. The RFI Summit plays a vital role in connecting representatives from across the global responsible finance industry to build on the growing cooperation between SRI, ESG and Islamic finance. The RFI Summit in Zurich is an initiative of the RFI Foundation and Swiss Arab Network to build awareness of shared values that can bring socially responsible investing (SRI), environmental, social and governance (ESG) and Islamic finance together to increase their positive impact.

About RFI Foundation

The RFI Foundation is a non-profit organisation with a mission to identify a neutral, nonpartisan and universal value proposition that encourages convergence of responsible finance practices. RFI evolves Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and the Islamic finance sectors towards a convergence of their shared standards, and engages stakeholders to build the responsible finance industry as a catalyst to support equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic development. Visit us at www.rfi-foundation.org

About Swiss Arab Network

The Swiss Arab Network (SAN) is a non-profit networking organisation with headquarter in Zurich and affiliations in the Arab world that strives to bridge gaps, promote sustainable exchange and intensify the mutual understanding among Swiss and Arab people. SAN is a networking platform and organises events and gives speeches on topics like Swiss and Arab finance, business, culture, art and film. Established and high-profile organisations from Switzerland and the Arab world are members of the network. Visit us at www.swissarab.org

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