03 Oct, 2021
Islamic finance integrates universal moral values with economic activities and therefore has an essential role to achieve sustainable development and overcome the climate crisis the world is facing today.
Dr. Sami Al Suwailem, the Acting Director General of the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) and Group Chief Economist, said this in a keynote speech during the Virtual Global Summit on Integrating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into Islamic Finance.
The summit, held online on 28 September 2021, was organized by the Islamic Finance Council (UKIFC), in partnership with the UN, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI). The summit featured a mixture of high-level discussions about the global trends in the Islamic finance industry, scholarly debate regarding the SDGs, and practical showcases of SDGs in action in Islamic finance.
In his keynote speech, Dr. Al Suwailem spoke on how the SDGs can be integrated into Islamic finance in order to achieve human development globally and curtail climate change.
“Sustainable economic progress requires sustaining resources and therefore economizing on them,” he said, explaining that in order to sustain resources economic activity must prioritize production over consumption, thereby building productive resources for the future.
According to Dr. Al Suwailem, Islamic finance is a paradigm based on the principle of sustainable resources. “The essence of Islamic finance is that finance must be integrated with the real economy. We cannot make money out of money—we must participate in trade or production to earn profits,” he explained.
The IsDBI Acting Director General also spoke on how Islamic finance can help to overcome the climate crisis the world faces. “Earth was created for all mankind, of all races and cultures. A threat to the environment is a threat to humanity as a whole. Saving humanity is a decent Islamic value,” he said.
The virtual summit was held in three sessions where speakers highlighted the natural alignment between Islamic finance and the SDGs, based on the Maqasid Al-Shariah; examined some of the challenges for Islamic finance and the SDGs; showcased the practical progress made by Islamic financial institutions on the SDGs; and discussed the role of Islamic social finance in achieving the SDGs.