Environment, Social, Governance

empty Description of term "Environment, Social, Governance"

Over 50% of GCC career women eye board position

Career women in the GCC are ambitious and want to lead in their organizations, with over 50 percent of those surveyed aiming at senior or board level position within the next seven years, according to a breakthrough report conducted by the Pearl Initiative. The report, titled ‘Women’s Careers in the GCC – The CEO Agenda’, follows a GCC-wide research program on women in senior management. Its findings and recommendations are consistent with the Women Empowerment Principles. While the report acknowledges the significant progress that has been made in the region for working women, it highlights several key areas of concern.

12m MENA children not in school, says UNICEF

At least 21 million children in the Middle East and North Africa are either not attending school or are at risk of dropping out, according to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The organisation said there had been “impressive” progress in raising school enrolment in the region during the past decade, with a 40 percent reduction in the number of out-of-school children. However, a combination of poverty, discrimination, poor quality learning and conflict had caused progress to slow in recent years. There were now one-in-four children and young adolescents out of school or at risk of dropping out.

Malaysian ICM Bi-annual Bulletin published

We are pleased to inform you that the July - December 2014 issue of the Malaysian ICM Bi-annual Bulletin published by the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) is now available online at the Source link below.

“Fundamental reform of the monetary system must be considered.” Says head of Iceland Parliament's Committee for Economic Affairs


Monetary Reform - A better monetary system for Iceland

Frosti Sigurjonsson, Member of the Parliament of Iceland and Chairman of the Committee for Economic Affairs and Trade, today published a report outlining the need for a fundamental reform of Iceland's monetary system.

The report, commissioned by the Prime Minister, considers the extent to which Iceland's history of economic instability has been driven by the ability of banks to ‘create money' in the process of lending.

The Icelandic economy has struggled with inflation and unstable exchange rates. Iceland also suffered one of the costliest banking crises in history.The report describes how commercial banks in Iceland created far more money than was needed for economic growth. The Central Bank failed to bring the money supply under control using conventional means.

Lebanon goes through growing pains of CSR

While awareness of CSR has improved in Lebanon, it has not at all become a trend, it’s still in its infancy. Most companies think they are doing CSR but they are doing philanthropy. Corporate social responsibility involves a business going beyond its fundamental profit-making motive to comprehensively and sustainably address social, ethical and environmental considerations in its workplace and the communities it affects. While CSR Lebanon has established itself as a leading authority on the topic and is the only consultancy of its kind in Lebanon, its clients remain located in the Gulf. Moreover, businesses in Lebanon tend to think short-term rather than investing in a multiyear strategy.

Istanbul to host G20/OECD Corporate Governance Forum

Representatives from G20 and OECD countries will meet in Istanbul on Friday to discuss how companies can avoid too much risk. The G20/OECD Corporate Governance Forum will consider sound corporate organization, safer financial markets, and well-regulated financial systems in emerging markets. The Forum will also address issues of systemic importance to sustainable private sector growth, including the institutionalisation of growth companies and capital market development in emerging market economies. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, a key figure responsible for the economy is scheduled to make the opening speech at the event.

Extreme poverty reduced from 2b to under 1b in 25yrs – WB President

The number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut by more than half in less than three decades, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim has said. He gave a speech on ‘Ending Extreme Poverty by 2030: The Final Push’ at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., United States. Despite the massive global migration to urban areas, 70 percent of the world’s extreme poor still live in rural villages, he added. They are mostly farmers or work in informal jobs – providing services to rural populations. The WB's experience in China shows that, in poorer economies, growth in agriculture is four times more powerful in lifting people out of poverty than growth in manufacturing and services.

Azzad Asset Management Becomes 1st Islamic Financial Firm to Join Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

Representatives from the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and Azzad Asset Management have announced that Azzad will join ICCR as its newest member—the first Islamic firm to be affiliated with the group. As a member organization focused on corporate social responsibility and environmental advocacy, ICCR leverages the influence of its shareowner members to enact change. The two organizations expressed optimism about the opportunities this collaboration affords. Azzad representatives reportedly hope to bring a fresh, Islamically inspired perspective to the many corporate and social issues confronted by ICCR.

Global Religious and Faith-Based Organization Leaders Issue Call and Commitment to End Extreme Poverty by 2030

“Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative”

Over 30 leaders from major world religions and heads of global faith-based organizations today launched a clarion call to action to end extreme poverty by 2030, a goal shared by the World Bank Group.

Ending Extreme Poverty: A Moral and Spiritual Imperative notes that remarkable progress has been made in reducing extreme poverty. Over 25 years the world has gone from nearly 2 billion people to fewer than 1 billion living in extreme poverty. Now, for the first time in human history there exists both the capacity and moral responsibility to ensure that no one has to live in extreme poverty’s grip


Saturna Capital Launches Two Funds Emphasizing Sustainability

Saturna Capital Corporation (Saturna) has announced the launch of the Saturna Sustainable Equity Fund (SEEFX) and the Saturna Sustainable Bond Fund (SEBFX), two mutual funds that will invest globally in securities of issuers rated by Saturna as low risk in the areas of the environment, social responsibility, and governance (ESG). Saturna expects the funds will appeal to the growing number of investors who seek to incorporate sustainability and social responsibility into their investments, particularly retirement portfolios. The Saturna Sustainable Equity and Bond Funds will be available on major platforms such as National Financial Services (Fidelity), Charles Schwab, Pershing LLC, and TD Ameritrade.

Sound Corporate Governance continues to rank high on the agenda of Saudi companies, as outlined by the recent sponsorship agreement between Ma'aden and the GCC Board Directors Institute.

Saudi mining and metals company Ma'aden has partnered again with the GCC Board Directors Institute ("BDI") in committing to high corporate governance standards, with the official signature of a sponsorship agreement in Riyadh. The signature of this new agreement also embeds a training platform for Ma'aden employees to access in order to always be well-informed of the latest best practices, be local or international, as well as networking opportunities with other board members across the Gulf. This month, BDI also inaugurated new half-day Focused Sessions for its members.

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IslamicFinance.de congratulates KuveytTürk Germany for obtaining full banking license

Kuveyt Türk Participation Bank has been licensed by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to offer banking services in Germany. Thus, the first bank based on an interest-free Islamic business model is licensed in Germany.

Kuveyt Türk has obtained its license from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to provide fully-fledged banking services in Germany according to the interest-free Islamic banking principles. Kuveyt Türk is the first Islamic bank that has been fully licensed to operate its deposit and debt business in Germany. With this license, Kuveyt Türk is the pioneer that introduces the Islamic banking model in Germany.

KT Bank AG with headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and as a 100 percent subsidiary of Kuveyt Türk Participation Bank, will start to offer its reliable, high-quality, fast and user-friendly services from July 01, 2015 onwards. KT Bank AG will provide its private and commercial clients with products and services according to interest-free Islamic banking principles.

“KT Bank AG is an ethical, innovative and socially responsible bank”

Islamic Development Bank and Gates Foundation approve US$718m investment in development projects

More than US$718 million will be invested in roads, power generation, water supply, sanitation, agriculture and rural development projects in a number of countries after the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) approved a funding partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The projects will be in Turkey, the Sultanate of Brunei, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Cote d'Ivoire and Benin. Technical assistance will also be given to projects in Bahrain. The first tranche of funds under the agreement will see $100m worth of grants issued before the end of this year. Operations are expected to begin in 2016.

Book of the Day: Democratizing Wealth for Building a Citizens’ Economy

The e-Book "Democratic Wealth: Building a Citizens’ Economy" by Stuart White and Niki Sethi-Smith is a collection of essays that challenges the poverty of thinking around economic policy, particularly after the 2007 financial crash. It explores the renewed interest in republicanism and suggests this as a framework to shape an economy that serves the common good. It is a selection of articles from a series published by openDemocracy and Politics in Spires, a blog run by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It ends with an afterword by James Meadway, senior economist at nef, on clearing a path for a better future.

Emirates Islamic celebrates International Women’s Day

Emirates Islamic marked International Women’s Day by celebrating female achievement across the organisation. Jamal Bin Ghalaita, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Islamic and other senior management of the bank honoured 32 women employees at Emirates Islamic, who are seen as an inspiration to the rest of the organization. The women were presented a trophy and certificate of recognition at a special ceremony held at Emirates Islamic’s Healthcare City headquarters. The ceremony was part of Emirates Islamic’s initiative to commemorate International Women’s Day.

Egypt: New Dfid/Islamic Development Bank Initiative

Arab Women's Enterprise Fund (AWEF) aims to empower poor women, increasing their income and well-being and ultimately improving their livelihoods and growth opportunities. The programme will do this by increasing their participation in markets through working with market actors to encourage the adoption of new practices and also by addressing constraints in the enabling environment. AWEF is an 10 million pouns market development programme that will work in Egypt, Jordan and the Overseas Palestinian Territories (OPTs). DFID will work in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) who will contribute an additional 10 million pounds in sharia-compliant concessionary finance through financial intermediaries.

International Islamic honoured for its CSR contribution

International Islamic (QIIB) was honoured for its distinctive role in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at a ceremony held at the Qatar University. QU’s College of Business and Economics partnered with the Qatar CSR Network in organising the event, which also saw the launch of the ‘CSR Report Qatar 2014’. Ali Hamad Al Mesaifri, Chief of Human Resources and General Services at QIIB, received the honorary award from the President of Qatar University, Dr Sheikha Al Misnad. The Bank has cooperated and still is cooperating with major and active institutions engaged in community services at various spheres such as health, education, charitable and social activities, and culture and sports.

New DFID/Islamic Development Bank Initiative

Arab Women's Enterprise Fund (AWEF) aims to empower poor women, increasing their income and well-being and ultimately improving their livelihoods and growth opportunities. The programme will do this by increasing their participation in markets through working with market actors to encourage the adoption of new practices and also by addressing constraints in the enabling environment. AWEF is an 10 million pouns market development programme that will work in Egypt, Jordan and the Overseas Palestinian Territories (OPTs). DFID will work in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) who will contribute an additional 10 million pounds in sharia-compliant concessionary finance through financial intermediaries.

Working Paper: Why does financial sector growth crowd out real economic growth?

As Islamic finance emphasizes the connection between real economy and financial activity this BIS Working Paper is very interesting and supportive for the understanding:

"In this paper we examine the negative relationship between the rate of growth of the financial sector and the rate of growth of total factor productivity. We begin by showing that by disproportionately benefiting high collateral/low productivity projects, an exogenous increase in finance reduces total factor productivity growth. Then, in a model with skilled workers and endogenous financial sector growth, we establish the possibility of multiple equilibria. In the equilibrium where skilled labour works in finance, the financial sector grows more quickly at the expense of the real economy. We go on to show that consistent with this theory, financial growth disproportionately harms financially dependent and R&D-intensive industries."

Does Charity Fill The Economic Gap In Egypt?

Regardless of its average GDP growth, the widening of the gap between the rich and poor is certain to affect the well-being of everyone, the rich included. Although some governments aim to achieve narrower gaps through reducing gaps in earnings, others realize that goal through taxation and redistribution of wealth. Many Egyptians abide by redistribution constituted both by the state, in the form of taxes, and religion. Among the five main pillars of Islam is Zakat, which calls on well off Muslims to annually pay 2.5% of their net monetary wealth. Putting the previous through a simple mathematical calculation while bearing in mind that Egypt’s population has grown to 95 million, it isn’t hard to imagine the amount of money being willingly circulated in Egypt out of faith and spirituality.

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