The global ethical finance industry constitutes approximately USD 22.89 trillion worth of assets under management, an increase of 25% from 2014. However, this is seen in institutions and assets within developed markets.
Ethical finance is on track to developing its global value proposition. However, catalyzing the wider adoption requires concerted efforts to build meaningful dialogue between the two main areas of ethical finance: one segment that integrates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, and Islamic finance which is expected to rise from USD 2 trillion to USD 3.5 trillion by 2021.
There is a unique opportunity for ethical finance players in developed markets to connect with the Islamic/faith-based financial sector which enjoys a strong foothold in Muslim-majority emerging markets.
The Theme - Ethical Finance: Merging Profit & Purpose
The theme for GEFF 2017 - “Ethical Finance: Merging Profit & Purpose”, reflects the spirit of convergence and collaboration across the responsible finance universe, as well as a call for a more inclusive financial sector, one that inspired the inaugural forum back in September 2015.
GEFF 2015 was historic for inaugurating a dialogue where one did not exist before—between Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), and Islamic/faith-based Finance. Whilst these 3 segments share the same values-based approach, they are separated by boundaries of geography, perception and methodology.
Political developments in the US, UK and Europe have sparked domestic debates about the forces of globalization and protectionism, with ultimate roots found in financial deregulation that has been occurred since the 1990s and well into and past the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. As traditional ESG investors broaden their scope geographically (which in some places requires providing a Shariah-compliant offering), adopt things like the leverage-limiting ‘prudence’ screens from Islamic finance and as Islamic finance adopts positive screening, there is much work to be done to marry the ethical underpinnings of responsible finance with profit motivations.
GEFF 2017 will build on developments in responsible finance since September 2015 and forge a roadmap for the future trajectory of ethical finance.
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