PILOT TO INCREASE PRIVATE CAPITAL TO DELIVER UN GOALS

A pilot scheme is being developed to massively increase the flow of private sector capital to achieve the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

A major new report has concluded that ‘business-as-usual’ in the financial services sector will not deliver the 2030 target to achieve the Global Goals.

With sustainability and impact quickly moving from being specialist subjects to being core drivers of investment strategies worldwide the report calls for a ‘step-change’, identifying a private equity fund-of-fund solution that provides the required scale to attract new capital from institutional investors. The new independent managed platform, a global impact fund-of-funds, will fill the gap between specialist impact fund managers and mainstream investors.

The proposal is designed to attract global institutional investors who otherwise would not deploy tens of millions of dollars in this space, ensuring they receive a financial return at the same time as delivering an authenticated positive social and environmental impact.

Detailed due diligence for a pilot scheme will now take place following a virtual workshop held this week organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative and UNDP and involving fund managers, asset owners and specialist impact investors.

The pilot is due to be launched at the COP26 climate summit, currently scheduled to be held in Glasgow in November.

The project comes after a two-year collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Scottish Government, with work led by the Edinburgh-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative and analysis in the report conducted by merchant banking group R.J. Fleming & Co.

A copy of the report, ‘Mobilising Private Sector Capital in Support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals’, can be read here.

 

Omar ShaikhOmar Shaikh, managing director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said:

“Having consulted almost 100 representatives from a cross-section of investment professionals and asset owners, representing total assets under management of over US$21.5 trillion, we have undertaken one of the most comprehensive contemporary reviews of the appetite amongst the global investor community for supporting the SDGs and ESG aligned investing.”

“By developing a deep understanding of the challenges investors face in this space we have identified a long-term, private markets solution that we believe will remain attractive despite the economic downturn. Current market conditions present significant opportunities as cash is at a premium, especially for small to medium-sized businesses.”

 

Jamison Ervin, Manager from United Nations Development Programme, said:

“There is an asymmetry between the availability of supply of private sector finance and the supply of investment-ready projects.”

“Our goal in this partnership is therefore to explore and test new ways of channelling finance to focus on inclusive, nature-based, SDG-aligned enterprises.”

“We are excited to support the development of a new, innovative finance instrument that will help accelerate the deployment of private sector financing where it is most needed.”

 

James Dauman, Managing Director from R.J. Fleming & Co. said:

“In these uncertain and troubled times, the need to support the SDGs has perhaps never been greater. We are remain fully focused on delivering capital towards making a meaningful positive impact whilst at the same time generating market-rate investment returns.”


COP26 – FINANCE SECTOR MEETS IN SCOTLAND TO BUILD GREENER ECONOMY

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

COP26 – FINANCE SECTOR MEETS IN SCOTLAND TO BUILD GREENER ECONOMY

Leading financial institutions will come together in Edinburgh today (THU) for the start of a ‘Path to COP26’ campaign to build a greener global economy. A round table event will explore the role of the finance sector in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy in the run-up to the global climate change summit in Glasgow in November.

To start the process of accelerating the combined efforts of the industry, the event will be addressed by Jonathan Taylor, former Vice President (Environment and Climate Action) at the European Investment Bank, and Gary Lapthorn, the head of sustainability and responsible business at Lloyds Banking Group Commercial Banking.The round table has been organised by the Edinburgh-based Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), which oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.

As part of the ‘Path to COP26’ campaign, GEFI will also host a series of events in the UK and beyond, ahead of the November summit. The campaign is designed to encourage banks, asset management firms and other financial companies to demonstrate their commitment to the climate agenda. According to the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative, the climate transition will require additional investment of at least $60 trillion from now until 2050 – meaning private sector commitments are vital to tackling the climate crisis.
Bold climate action could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through to 2030, compared with business-as-usual, a recent report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate found.

Gail Hurley, senior consultant to the Global Ethical Finance Initiative and former senior advisor to the UN, said:
“The eyes of the world will be focused on Scotland when senior politicians from across the globe convene at COP26 in Glasgow in November to negotiate the global response to tackling climate change.
“Climate change is a large, systemic financial risk that will change asset values as investment moves away from high carbon assets towards a low carbon economy.
“For financial institutions to become enablers and catalysts they must therefore understand the commercial risks and opportunities and know how to act on them.
“Finance can be a positive force for change, and we call upon organisations from across the globe to sign up to our Path to COP26 declaration to help us assist the financial sector to commit to practical efforts to tackle climate change.”

Jonathan Taylor, former Vice President (Environment and Climate Action) at the European Investment Bank, said:
“COP26 in Scotland will be a key milestone on the road to a successful conclusion to the fight against climate change.
“Expectations are high that countries should commit themselves to demanding targets to meet the agreed goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
“So we should all think about what we can do to help ensure success, including financial institutions.
“The GEFI round table’s ‘Path to COP 26’ initiative makes an excellent contribution, and I am delighted to be part of it.”

 

Gary Lapthorn, head of sustainability and responsible business at Lloyds Banking Group, Commercial Banking, said:
“Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking is delighted to support the GEFI round table exploring the role financial institutions are playing in the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.
“As part of the UK’s leading financial services group, Lloyds Banking Group, we can make a real difference to tackling climate change by helping to finance a greener future together.
“This will require new ways of living, working and investing for our business and our customers.
“That’s why we’re setting ourselves an ambitious goal to accelerate working with customers, government and the market to help reduce the carbon emissions we finance by more than 50 per cent by 2030, equivalent to removing the emissions produced by almost a quarter of UK homes.”

 

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

More information is available at www.pathtocop26.com

Broadcast interview opportunities with GEFI are available.

A photo of Gail Hurley is available for download here.

A photo of Jonathan Taylor is avilable for download here.

What is the Global Ethical Finance Initiative?
The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change. It brings together the world’s business, political, and social leaders to build a fairer finance system for people and the planet. The organisation is based in Edinburgh, and hosts the global ethical finance summit. More information is available at www.globalethicalfinance.org/ethical-finance-2020/

What is ethical finance?
A fairer system of financial management that combines profit with better outcomes for people and the planet. The full working definition of ethical finance: A system of financial management or investment that seeks qualitative outcomes other purely the management of returns. Outcomes sought may reflect ideas from faith, environmental and governance theories.

Why does ethical finance matter?
Although ethical finance is not a new concept the financial crisis has led to a growing interest in sustainability, climate change and social justice. This has seen a collective desire to create a fairer, more inclusive and responsible global financial system. Trust in banks is diminishing and today’s generation of consumers believes that investment decisions should reflect the issues they care about. Ethical finance in the UK is valued at around £40billion, creating thousands of sustainable job opportunities. Today, with the world facing a climate emergency there is a pressing need to develop environmentally sustainable financial solutions.


2020 GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE SUMMIT ANNOUNCED

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE INITIATIVE

EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE

2020 GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE SUMMIT ANNOUNCED

The 2020 global ethical finance summit has been announced, bringing hundreds of major investors, asset owners and finance leaders to Scotland.
Supported by the Scottish Government and the United Nations Development Programme, the flagship event will focus on building a more sustainable financial system.
With the COP26 UN climate change conference taking place in Glasgow next year, the summit’s theme will be protecting our future.
There will be a focus on how financial services can support inclusive economic growth without depleting natural resources, and how the sector can help deliver the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
It comes after the COP25 climate talks in Madrid ended with a compromise deal on the global response to curbing carbon.

The ethical finance conference, to be held at the Edinburgh headquarters of RBS on October 6 and 7, 2020, is organised by the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI), which oversees, organises and coordinates a series of programmes to promote finance for positive change.
It follows a hugely successful conference in 2019, which included a keynote speech from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and video addresses from former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and attracted over 350 participants from around the world.
The announcement of the 2020 summit was made today (MON) at GEFI’s latest ethical finance round table event in Edinburgh, hosted by Baillie Gifford, which addressed responsible investment and more sustainable models for the banking sector.

 

Omar Shaikh, managing director of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, said:Omar Shaikh
“The 2019 ethical finance summit attracted major international attention, bringing global leaders together to discuss key challenges including products, culture, system change, regulation and maintaining returns in financial services.
“A new way requires holistic thinking which is why the summit uniquely convenes the banking and investment ecosystem, addresses the big challenges we face that rethink capitalism, and connects people to enable partnerships to produce ethical financial solutions.
“To build on this desire for positive change, we’re bringing the finance world back to Scotland in 2020 for our next global summit in October.
“With COP26 taking place in Glasgow just a few weeks later, it significantly enhances the global prominence of this year’s summit and provides an excellent opportunity to focus on climate finance.
“Moving from talk to action, our theme will be protecting the future for everyone.”

 

Kirsty Britz, director of sustainable banking at RBS, said:
“We are looking forward to once again hosting the Global Ethical Finance Summit next year.
“The conference will be an important milestone in an exciting year for Scotland, with world leaders set to come to Glasgow for the UN’s COP26 climate talks in November.
“As a founding signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Banking, RBS has committed to further align our strategy with the Paris Climate Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals.
“The global ethical finance summit provides an excellent opportunity for us to work collaboratively with stakeholders, peers and partners who are leading the agenda.”

 

Andrew Cave, head of governance and sustainability with Baillie Gifford, said: 
“Following the success of this year’s event we are delighted to be supporting Ethical Finance 2020 in Edinburgh next year.
“The global summit is an important platform for facilitating collaborative and insightful discussions that challenge and inspire asset owners and financial institutions to invest responsibly and take practical actions to deliver positive impact for people and the planet.”

 

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

More details on Ethical Finance 2020 can be found here: https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/ethical-finance-2020/

A 2019 event summary can be found here:
https://www.globalethicalfinance.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/EF19-Summary.pdf

A photo of Omar Shaikh can be downloaded here


The Faith in Finance Round Table, organised in partnership with UK Islamic Finance Council and the Church of Scotland

As part of Ethical Finance 2019 summit, on 9th October 2019, UKIFC and Church of Scotland organised a private Faith in Finance round table and dinner at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church.

The event included contributions from across the faiths on topics such as:

  • Interfaith collaboration and the role of faith-based values in modern finance
    • Benefits of bringing different perspectives together
    • Identifying shared values – the Edinburgh Finance Declaration
    • Heritage role of the Church influencing the values of banks and what the current paradigm can take from this history
  • Faith groups sharing leading practice:
    • Engagement strategies
    • Creating a space for religious actors in formal governance models
    • Addressing the common global goals – role of faith traditions to address the SDGs

Participants included Lord John Alderdice, David Pitt-Watson, Shayk Ruzwan Mohammed, Prof. Mohamed Iqbal Asaria, Rev. Fiona Stewart-Darling, Datuk Noripah Kamso, Saker Nusseibeh and Peter Greengrass.


“THE EDINBURGH FINANCE DECLARATION” – AN INTERFAITH INITIATIVE ON ETHICAL FINANCE

MEDIA RELEASE

EMBARGO – 0001 (UK) Tuesday 23rdOctober 2018

“THE EDINBURGH FINANCE DECLARATION” – AN INTERFAITH INITIATIVE ON ETHICAL FINANCE

‘The Edinburgh Finance Declaration’ – The Church of Scotland and the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) will officially unveil an interfaith shared values framework on ethical finance at a reception in Greyfriars Kirk this evening (Tuesday 23rdOctober 2018). The event marks the end of the international Ethical Finance 2018 conference that has convened 300 experts in Edinburgh this week.

The Declaration, thought to be the first of its kind globally, represents the culmination of the first stage of an historic collaboration initiated in February 2016 when the Church and UKIFC signed a partnership agreement to co-develop an ethical finance solution open to all society, regardless of faith or ethnicity, that is built upon the shared values between the two faith traditions.

The shared values framework emerged from efforts led by finance practitioners. This included in-depth interviews, consultation papers and a series of structured round tables held over a two year period. This process engaged over 200 senior stakeholders ranging from banking and finance experts to religious theologians, parliamentarians and academics from across the UK and abroad. Six core shared values emerged that were refined to create the Edinburgh Finance Declaration.

The shared values – which include Stewardship, Love of the Neighbour, Human Flourishing, Sustainability and Purposefulness, Justice and Equity, and Common Good – align contemporary trends in the financial markets such as climate, UN Sustainable Development Goals and impact investing. The Declaration is designed to inform the development of financial products that support an ethical economy. It also provides a values framework that can inform organisational cultures to help rebuild the loss of trust in financial institutions and markets that has arisen since the global financial crisis.

Rev Dr Richard Frazer, Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council said:

“Since the global economic crash in 2008 public trust in financial institutions has been shaken, with seemingly little change as a result. From our Christian and Islamic faith traditions we believe that a different world of finance is possible, one in which ethics and economics go hand in hand. We believe that these shared values provide a solid foundation from which we might arrive at a financial sector that contributes to the flourishing of all.”

Faith organisations are estimated to command assets valued at $7 trillion. That jumps to $13 trillion when charities, endowments and philanthropic entities are included. As a consequence, these bodies are well placed to influence investment decisions and to demand that financial institutions are responsive to the values set out in the Declaration. One obvious starting point would be making a commitment to advancing the common good by adopting the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

UKIFC Advisory Board member Omar Shaikh outlined the next stage in the journey: “Faith groups have always had an important role in promoting social causes. Moving forward, taking these values coupled with strong business acumen and a solid commercial approach we hope to develop an ethical finance solution that is both commercially sustainable and creates positive societal impact.”

The Declaration, which forms part of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, is a symbolic development sending a strong and positive message of interfaith collaboration and furthering Scotland’s growing reputation for innovation and ethical finance.

 

Further Information

www.edinburghdeclaration.org

 

Chris Tait

Project Manager, UKIFC

chris@ukifc.com

(m) 07931 103573

 

Helen Silvis

Communications Manager

Church of Scotland

HSilvis@churchofscotland.org.uk

(m) 07817 995887

 

QUOTES   

 

“A remarkable and admirable document, reflecting very great credit on both the collaborative process and fine draftsmanship that generated it.”

Sir David Alan Walker, Former Chairman Barclays, Morgan Stanley, Spearheaded Walker Report of corporate governance

 

“This collaboration is an important example of how different communities can not only talk of, but demonstrate shared values. It is also very encouraging to see the role the faith communities can play in inspiring a more inclusive, ethical and responsible financial system.”

Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby

 

“The Christian and Islamic faith traditions share a commitment to economic justice…. By collaborating and “putting our money where our morals are” we have an opportunity to live out our common values and make a tangible change for those most affected by poverty.”

Rt. Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Ex- Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland

 

“This is powerful example that many globally can take from, including us in Nigeria. Well done to the Islamic Finance Council UK and the Church of Scotland for showing their vision, leadership and bravery.”

His Highness Emir Sanusi Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria

 

“We were delighted and astonished to discover that the Church of Scotland and UKIFC had been working together to produce a theological statement of core values. Bringing faiths together in ethical finance has never been done and this work is very impressive.”

Martin Palmer, Secretary-General, Alliance of Religions and Conservation

 

About the Global Ethical Finance Initiative

The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) is a global movement and co-ordinated programme of ethical finance projects and activities originating from Scotland. GEFI consolidates some of the pioneering ethical finance work being undertaken in Scotland under one brand to create a compelling global proposition.

www.globalethicalfinance.org

 

About the UKIFC

The UKIFC was established in 2005 as a specialist advisory and developmental body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. As a dynamic and forward-thinking not-for-profit organisation the UKIFC’s Advisory Board Members, who provide pro bono support, have defined and evolved the role the organisation plays in making a tangible impact in the global Islamic and ethical finance sectors. Principle service areas are: Advisory, Ethical Finance, Training and Awareness and Thought Leadership.

The UKIFC has been recognised globally for its work in promoting shared values and increasing connectivity between ethical and Islamic finance stakeholders across the UK. For more than 5 years the UKIFC has been leading an award winning debate on ethical finance through a series of events based in Edinburgh.

www.ukifc.com

 

About the Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland is Scotland’s national church and is also one of the UK’s largest charities. It serves almost 400,000 members, with more regularly involved in local congregations and our community work. Within the organisation, the Church has around 800 ministers serving in parishes and chaplaincies, supported by professional and administrative staff. The Church has a proud tradition of working to benefit those less well off in society, and campaigns on a range of economic and social welfare issues.

www.churchofscotland.org.uk

END.


Christians and Muslims forge ahead with pioneering ethical finance plans

A world leading interfaith initiative aimed at creating a practical ethical financial solution will move a step closer on Monday (24th  October 2016) at a private round table to be held in the House of Lords in London.

MEDIA RELEASE
Monday 24th October 2016

 

The Church of Scotland and Islamic Finance Council UK are convening the unique gathering of faith leaders, parliamentarians, and finance practitioners to agree a shared values framework upon which a financial solution, open to all in society, will be developed.

The joint venture, t he culmination of many years of dialogue, was launched earlier this year in response to the systemic failure and non-sustainability of the current financial model that has struggled to recover from the economic, operational and reputational damage caused by the global crisis in 2008/09. By developing a pioneering new model of interfaith engagement the initiative aims to move from dialogue to action by creating a fairer, more socially responsible financial system.

According to the Rev Dr Richard Frazer, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church & Society Council: “Two of the most important tasks that we face as a society are developing a fairer and more sustainable economy – one which has a passion for equality at its heart – and building stronger relationships across faith communities. This initiative does both and it is hugely exciting to be a part of it.”

The event is the second in a series of three workshops. The first, held in Edinburgh in May 2016, reviewed the theological and philosophical underpinnings of Christianity and Islam in order to identify commonalities. Shared values identified during the discussions included: our role as stewards on a planet with limited natural resources, tackling excess and greed and encouraging moral responsibility.

At the House of Lords workshop on Monday the shared values framework will be reviewed and refined before participants explore the practical obstacles to realising a vision of ethical finance today. Leading asset managers, banks and economists will share their insights on different type of economic model where ethical finance deepens the economy, encourages inclusion and creates positive social impact.

Omar Shaikh of the Islamic Finance Council UK commented: “We are delighted with the positive response received from parliamentarians and practitioners which reinforces the significance of this initiative. Bringing the debate to the heart of London, a leading a global financial centre, sends a strong international message that faith communities can work together for the greater good of society.”

The initiative emerged from an Interfaith Ethical Finance Roundtable, attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, in 2013 and the Church of England continues to take an active involvement. “The need for a fairer, more ethical banking system has never been more pressing. What emerged clearly in 2013 is that those from faith perspectives have an important contribution to make in creating a shared solution for the industry and the communities that they serve. I look forward to contributing to the development of a solution in the months and years ahead.” Ed Mason, Church of England.

It is expected that the shared values framework, the first of its kind globally, will be announced early next year, informing the development of a viable ethical finance business solution.

 

For more information contact:

Chris Tait, Islamic Finance Council UK
chris@ukifc.com
(m) 07931103573

Rob Flett, Communications Manager, Church of Scotland
rflett@churchofscotland.org.uk
(m) 07764 335793

 

 

About the Islamic Finance Council UK

The UKIFC was established in 2005 as a specialist advisory and developmental body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. As a dynamic and forwardthinking not-for-profit organisation the UKIFC’s Advisory Board Members, who provide pro bono support, have defined and evolved the role the organisation plays in making a tangible impact in the global Islamic and ethical finance sectors. Principle service areas are: Advisory, Ethical Finance, Training and Awareness and Thought Leadership.

The UKIFC has been recognised globally for its work in promoting shared values and increasing connectivity between ethical and Islamic finance stakeholders across the UK. For more than 5 years the UKIFC has been leading an award winning debate on ethical finance through a series of events based in Edinburgh.

www.ukifc.com

 

About the Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland is Scotland’s national church and is also one of the UK’s largest charities. It serves almost 400,000 members, with more regularly involved in local congregations and our community work. Within the organisation, the Church has around 800 ministers serving in parishes and chaplaincies, supported by professional and administrative staff. The Church has a proud tradition of working to benefit those less well off in society, and campaigns on a range of economic and social welfare issues.

www.churchofscotland.org.uk

 

END.


Christians and Muslims unite to tackle banking crisis

The Church of Scotland and Islamic Finance Council UK have announced a partnership to create ethical financial services.

MEDIA RELEASE
Tuesday 22nd March 2016

 

The joint venture will draw on how the Christian and Muslim communities have supported ethical finance in the past and examine the practical commercial viability of new models which can tackle inequality and poverty. This pioneering initiative is the first time the Church and Islamic finance have come together to collaborate and will aim to create solutions open to everyone regardless of religious or ethnic background. This initiative has come into being through a shared belief that existing financial institutions have in recent years lost their social conscience. Following the banking crisis of 2008, further ongoing scandals of misselling payment protection and interest rate fixing have raised the question if reforms have worked. We believe this is an exciting opportunity for faith groups to work together on solutions which will benefit the whole of society, regardless of faith or belief.

On announcing the project  Rt. Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, said: “In 2012 the Church of Scotland’s special commission on the purpose of economic activity identified human flourishing and the protection of the planet for future generations as two of the most critical purposes for financial interaction. Our current system has gone badly wrong, creating massive inequality and the destruction of our shared natural resources by money-making machines overtaking commerce that serves the common good.

“The Christian and Islamic faith traditions share a commitment to economic justice and a call to an equal distribution of the gifts of God. By collaborating and “putting our money where our morals are” we have an opportunity to live out our common values and make a tangible change for those most affected by poverty. Active concern for our communities is an obligation and we look forward to meeting the challenge together.”

The Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC) is inspired by a commitment to developing a fairer, more responsible finance system. It has been recognised globally for its work in promoting shared values and increasing connectivity between ethical and Islamic finance stakeholders across the UK. For more than 5 years the IFC has been leading the debate on ethical finance through a series of events based in Edinburgh.

IFC Advisory Board Member Omar Shaikh said: “In recent years we have developed a strong relationship with the Church of Scotland and this project is a result of that positive engagement and the mutual desire to work collaboratively on a project which brings together the best of our respective faiths. The positive message of faith groups working together presents a beacon of light which we hope can inspire many others across the world.

“Scotland has a proud heritage in ethical finance with the savings bank movement able to trace its origins back to the Rev. Henry Duncan of the Church of Scotland. This model was also used as the blueprint for the early Islamic banking attempts in the 1960s, which makes it particularly poignant that this new initiative in being led in Scotland.”

The project will research, shortlist, test and then establish a viable ethical finance business solution. The consultation and business plan phase is expected to last a year, with the first workshop to take place this May in Edinburgh with theological and financial experts coming to Scotland from as far afield as Nigeria, Malaysia and Bahrain.

 

Additional Notes

International Islamic Finance

Worth over $2trn, the Islamic finance sector has witnessed tremendous growth over the past decade. Moving forward a key growth strategy for Islamic financial institutions will be their ability to successfully enter and tap the considerably larger ethical finance arena. Along with the commercial opportunity, by focusing on the inherent convergence in ethical values will increase the appeal of Islamic finance in new global markets and allow an avenue to address the aspirational dissatisfaction growing within the industry as witnessed by key stakeholders raising concerns over excessive synthetic imitation of conventional structures.

Africa and Nigeria specifically is well known for its triple heritage. Often referred to as non-interest finance, Nigeria has been taking a lead in developing this sector to promote financial inclusion.  Ex-Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, HH Emir Sanusi commented, “One immediate success of this initiative is how it is bringing together faith communities on their common values. This is powerful example that many globally can take from, including us in Nigeria. Well done to the Islamic Finance Council UK and the Church of Scotland for showing their vision, leadership and bravery.”

Islamic finance in Malaysia has taken considerable market share and attracted many Chinese Malays and those not of the Islamic faith.  Dr Akram Laldin, CEO of Malaysia based Bank Negara body ISRA commented, “Islamic finance is founded on moral and ethical values and these values are shared by different faiths. This joint venture with the Church demonstrates that people from different faiths can work together on the common ground that we share. Together we can strive for the betterment of humanity.”

Scottish communities show leadership

Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf, said: “Ethical finance offers a great opportunity to diversify Scotland’s financial services industry, allowing it to grow and prosper. I’m delighted to see the Islamic Finance Council’s hard work in this field acknowledged by the EFICA. The Scottish Government is committed to creating a more socially responsible and fairer economy in Scotland and is building upon our progress to become a worldwide industry leader in the field.”

Since the issuance to the public, in 2013, of its report on the purpose of economic activity the Church of Scotland has promoted a range of new initiatives including the development of the Churches Mutual Credit Union in partnership with other UK churches and support for WEvolution, a pioneering movement developing Self Reliant Groups and social enterprise in Scotland’s poorest communities.

Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church & Society Council said: “In the Church we don’t just want to talk about how we need to do things differently. We want to demonstrate how we can and are. Working with the Islamic Finance Council UK is an important part of that work. Not only are we trying to build a fairer economy together. We are also building vital friendships and relationships across our faiths. That is also really significant in today’s world where these relationships are so often defined by division.”

Scotland’s leading Sunni Muslim theologian, Shaykh Ryzwan commented, “Today marks the beginning of extensive consultation between Muslim faith representatives headed by IFC and its associates and the Church of Scotland on working towards a shared principles framework distilled from the intellectual legacy of the two great faith traditions that will inform the debate on ethical and sustainable models of economy. As the financial crisis of the last decade is being pushed firmly to the back of the collective memory, the systemic non-sustainability of the current financial model further amplifies the need to highlight alternative practice that places human nurturing and the environment at the core of deliberation on what economy should be.

In doing so, it also engages those that question the relevance of religion in the creation of the common good, and provides a new model of Interfaith engagement - moving from dialogue to action. The Scottish context of this initiative, with its unique history in the development of the Enlightenment, in ethical banking as well as its pioneering ecumenical work, serves as the perfect environment in which to embark on this journey.”

UK leading innovation as a global financial hub

Prime Minister David Cameron has stated the UK’s position as a center for Islamic finance. As the first Western government to issue a sovereign sukuk, today’s pioneering development of interfaith collaboration showcases the UK’s ability to innovation and contribute to the global Islamic finance sector.

Lord Sheikh, Patron of the Islamic Finance Council UK and Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamic Finance and Diversity in Financial Markets, said, “The UK has successful positioned itself as the leading Western Hub for Islamic finance with over £20bn in shariah-compliant assets. This pioneering retail focused initiative presents a great opportunity to build not only a robust sustainable business but also demonstrates British communities working together building stronger, interdependent communities.”

 

For more information contact:

Chris Tait, Islamic Finance Council UK
chris@ukifc.com
(m) 07931103573

Rob Flett, Communications Manager, Church of Scotland
rflett@churchofscotland.org.uk
(m) 07764 335793

 

About the Islamic Finance Council UK

The Islamic Finance Council UK (IFC) is a specialist advisory and development body established to promote and enhance the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. Operating since 2005, the IFC Executive Board brings together a unique blend of seasoned practitioners who are recognised leaders in the Islamic finance market and have worked for leading global institutions. The Council has successfully pioneered a number of unique developmental and educational programmes.

www.ukifc.com

 

About the Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland is Scotland’s national church and is also one of the UK’s largest charities. It serves almost 400,000 members, with more regularly involved in local congregations and our community work. Within the organisation, the Church has around 800 ministers serving in parishes and chaplaincies, supported by professional and administrative staff. The Church has a proud tradition of working to benefit those less well off in society, and campaigns on a range of economic and social welfare issues.

www.churchofscotland.org.uk

END.