CIBAFI reaffirms Commitment to Sustainability Agenda
The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), the global umbrella organisation for Islamic financial institutions (IFIs), held a successful webinar recently on "Islamic Finance and ESG: Bridges to Sustainability Integration."
Pandemics and calamities, climate change, and social issues all have an impact on global economic growth. As a result, financial institutions are increasingly expected to set high sustainability goals and integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) frameworks into their operations.
To achieve this goal, financial institutions must first understand their sustainability impact to build strong sustainability and ESG plans with transparent reporting.
The CIBAFI Webinar on Islamic Finance and ESG: Bridges to Sustainability Integration is co-organised with the United Nations Global Week to Act4SDGs.
The webinar presented an overview of the definition of ESG, its requirements, and the primary benefits of using it. It also sheds light on its progress and key challenges in putting its ideas into action.
It also explored options for attaining ESG and sustainability integration through ESG variables optimisation and Islamic finance principles, as well as the development impacts on financial institutions.
Dr. Abdelilah Belatik, Secretary General of CIBAFI, inaugurated the webinar. Dr. Belatik stated in his address that incorporating sustainability into an institution's strategy and operations is a difficulty for many financial institutions' boards of directors (BoDs).
In this context, the CIBAFI Sustainability Guide suggested that IFIs use a top-down approach to sustainability integration, with the board and senior management first understanding the principles and importance of sustainability to their business. Dr. Belatik stressed the significance of cultivating a supportive culture to promote the sustainability agenda and launch sustainability-related activities within the finance industry.
Following the opening remarks, a panel discussion addressed and shared the thoughts and experiences of international prominent experts from leading organisations on the process of embedding sustainability and ESG frameworks into the basic strategy of Islamic financial institutions.
The panelists included: Mr. Bashar Al-Natoor, Global Head of Islamic Finance, Fitch Ratings, United Arab Emirates; Ms. Vivi Yulaswati, Senior Advisor to the Minister, National Development Planning for Social Affairs and Poverty Reduction, Indonesia; Ms. Sina Bassam Hbous, ESG & Sustainable Finance Advisor, Egypt; Dr. Dalal Assouli, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar; Mr. Shafi AlMannai, Director of Human Resources & ESG, GFH Financial Group, Bahrain. The session was moderated by Dr. Muhammad Bilal, Research Economist at CIBAFI. CIBAFI also wishes to thank the webinar partner, Al Baraka Bank – Egypt for its contribution in making the webinar a success.
Through different programmes and projects, CIBAFI continues to help the Islamic financial services industry. These initiatives include creating a forum for industry stakeholders to debate emerging issues, representing the industry at major global financial events, and disseminating knowledge through specialist publications and extensive training programmes.