Global Ethical Finance Forum.

Focused Session at Global Ethical Financial Forum to highlight the strong investor appetite for Green Bonds
Under the patronage of the Scottish Government and supported by the UK Government, the 2nd edition of GEFF will spearhead an exclusive session focused on the growing interest in green bonds, sustainable energy finance and the sharia-perspective on good environmental stewardship.

Edinburgh, Scotland – August 2017: Middle East Global Advisors, a leading financial intelligence platform spearheading the agenda of sustainable and inclusive finance, will convene the second edition of the much-coveted Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF) in Edinburgh, Scotland. Based on a strategic partnership with Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), the Forum will be held under the patronage of the Scottish Government, supported by the UK Government and will be hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), building upon the legacy of the inaugural Forum held in September 2015.

The theme for GEFF 2017 – “Ethical Finance: Merging Profit & Purpose”, is in line with the Forum’s aspiration to serve as a platform for convergence and collaboration across the responsible finance universe, and to forge a vision for a more inclusive and sustainable financial system.

serve as a platform for convergence and collaboration across the responsible finance universe, and to forge a vision for a more inclusive and sustainable financial system.

According to NASA & NOAA, 2016 was the hottest year on record, with the global sea ice cover at a record low and the Carbon Dioxide levels passing the 400 ppm threshold, highlighting grim ramifications for the planet. To keep the global temperaure increase below 2 Degrees Celsius and adapt to the impact of climate change, an urgent shift towards a more sustainable economy is the need of the hour.

A tax-exempt bond issued by federally qualified organizations to fund projects that apart from fulfilling financial obligations, possess environmental or climate benefits, green bonds came into prominence in 2007 when they were launched by a few development banks like European Development Bank and World Bank. Since then, however, the appetite for green bonds has grown manifold with the past 4 years proving to be a key period in the rapid development of the market.

While green bonds are most suited for long-term projects, they could also be used in instruments to steer capital for urgent environmental transitions. Preliminary estimates for Green Bond Issuance in 2017 by HSBC, Moody’s & Climate Bonds Initiative are all in excess of USD 100bn signifying the massive opportunity this sector harbours.

Interestingly, the green bond market has grown at an impressive 50% compound growth rate, from close to zero at its inception in 2007 to US$91Bn in 2015. However, this statistic still represents less than 0.1% of the total global market for debt securities. (KPMG, 2016)

While the financial industry-led Green Bond Principles launched in 2014 have triggered market growth, organizations like Climate Bonds Initiative have greatly raised the awareness of the importance of green bonds and helped in developing standards for specific asset classes that would qualify as green bonds.

However, despite the significant opportunities that lie in green financing, the sector faces a number of key obstacles. These include an extremely diversified market making it complicated to develop standards effectively, the mindset of bond issues whereby they believe that meeting such standards could lead to additional costs and treating the relevant expertise, additional monitoring and reporting needed in such cases as a big burden. (KPMG, 2016)

Another key instrument in green financing is Green Sukuk – Shari’ah compliant investments in renewable energy and other environmental assets which also address the Shari’ah concern for protecting the environment. Proceeds from green sukuk are used to finance construction, to refinance construction debt, or to finance the payment of a government-granted green subsidy.

While there are significant opportunities for Green Sukuk in the solar energy plans of Gulf countries due to the ease of understanding underlying assets and how the return is generated, there is however, a shortage of product. As per the Climate Bonds Initiative, an estimated 25-40% of institutional investors’ assets under management are dedicated to fixed-income debt, including asset-backed securities. The sukuk market is most suitable to channelize the growing global pool of Shari’ah-compliant capital to fund renewable energy and climate change projects.

In light of the above developments, GEFF 2017 will spearhead an exclusive session focusing on how green bonds and sukuk can go mainstream. The session will focus in-depth on decarbonizing portfolios, the recent Paris Climate Change Agreement, the investor pool for green sukuk in OIC & OECD markets, challenges unique to green bonds and sukuk and delve into relevant country-specific case studies. A key issue that will be taken into account are the opportunities for the green bond in the solar energy plans of Gulf countries. Key Speakers at the session include Mike Clark, Founder Director, Ario Advisory, Lim Say Cheong, Executive Vice President, Tawreeq Holdings, Lilian Georgopoulou, ORB Product Specialist, London Stock Exchange and Yasser Saud Dahlawi, CEO, Shariyah Review Bureau.

Across two power-packed days, GEFF 2017 will spearhead a series of sessions focusing on the massive opportunity that lies in mainstreaming ethical finance, one that requires concerted efforts to build a meaningful dialogue across its three segments: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Islamic/faith-based finance. The forum aims to drive thought leadership across a wide range of topics including green bonds, financial inclusion, ethical banking, amongst others, with the vision of bringing ethics to the forefront of business.

The forum will take place on 13th and 14th of September at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)’s prestigious Conference Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland.

To find out more about the 2nd Global Ethical Finance Forum, visit www.geff2017.com
ABOUT THE GLOBAL ETHICAL FINANCE FORUM (GEFF)

 The Global Ethical Finance Forum is an initiative of Middle East Global Advisors and the UK Islamic Finance Council (IFC), two leading institutions spearheading the agenda of sustainable and inclusive economy and of forging connections with the broader ethical finance industry, encompassing Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Islamic/faith-based Finance.

 At its inaugural edition in September 2015, the vision ascribed to GEFF was to become a catalyst for an all new encompassing form of inclusive finance that connects key stakeholders from the various ethical finance sectors and facilitates previously untapped opportunities for convergence & collaboration.

 GEFF 2017 endeavors to play a critical role in enabling stakeholders from the traditional responsible and Islamic finance sectors to forge and nurture new relationships aimed at building cooperation across various sectors and geographies.

 For more information, visit www.geff2017.com

 ABOUT MIDDLE EAST GLOBAL ADVISORS

Connecting markets with intelligent insights & strategic execution since 1993

 Middle East Global Advisors (MEGA) is the leading gateway connectivity and intelligence platform to Islamic finance opportunities in the rapidly developing economic region that stretches all the way from Morocco in the West to Indonesia in the East- The Middle East North Africa Southeast Asia (MENASEA) connection. For 24 years, our exclusive focus on achieving business results for the Islamic finance industry has enabled us to create significant value for the leading players in the Islamic banking, finance and investment markets.

 Visit us at www.meglobaladvisors.com

ABOUT ISLAMIC FINANCE COUNCIL UK (UKIFC)

 The Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) is a specialist advisory and development body focused on promoting and enhancing the global Islamic and ethical finance industry. As a dynamic and forward-thinking not-for-profit, the UKIFC Advisory Board brings together seasoned practitioners who are recognised leaders in the Islamic finance market. The UKIFC’s core service areas are Ethical Finance, Advisory, Training and Awareness and Thought Leadership.

 For more information, visit www.ukifc.com