On 13 February 2020, around 30 academics, economists, lawyers, Sharia’a scholars and other Islamic finance industry practitioners were invited to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University of London for the 14th annual Workshop on Islamic Finance sponsored by SOAS and the Qatar Finance Centre (QFC) in cooperation with Hamad bin Khalifa University and the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA). The topic selected for the 2020 SOAS – QFC Workshop was “Islamic Social Finance and the SDGs” and participants were encouraged to submit their opinion papers on the topic prior to the day. The day’s discussion points alongside the participants’ submissions will inform a paper on the topic, including industry recommendations, which will be published later this year. DDCAP Group’s Head of Corporate Responsibility was invited to attend, marking her 10th year of participation in the workshop.
The day began with a presentation on sustainable finance and the UN SDGs to help focus the discussion on the topic at hand. As the discussion evolved, participants collaborated on how Islamic Finance can contribute to the development of the broader social and responsible finance sector and Shari’ah compliant products can be used to meet the SDGs and other part of the global sustainability agenda. The discussion also focused on where responsibility sits within the Islamic financial institutions and the industry generally to promote sustainable and responsible practices.