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SPOTLIGHT


Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group President Dr Bandar M H Hajjar shares his organization’s take on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, explains the importance of the IsDB’s green bonds (Sukuk) and outlines how COVID-19 represents an unanticipated opportunity for rethinking and forging a more equitable, resilient and sustainable path to meet global development goals.


ESG:


OPEC Fund Quarterly: How does the IsDB approach environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related challenges and opportunities? Dr Bandar M H Hajjar: As a development Bank, ESG is at the heart of what we do and IsDB is committed to ESG best practices in the manner we do business and operate in our member countries. In fact, at its core, Islamic finance is enshrined in the basic tenets of Shariah and has the principles of sustainability, fairness and equality. Shariah-compliant investments encompass all investments that are good for the community and do not cause harm. Because Islam promotes social trust, cooperation and solidarity, Islamic finance products are well suited to ESG impact. These products’ characteristics include


34


THE KEY TO RESILIENT DEVELOPMENT


being asset-backed, ethical, subject to good governance and an equitable sharing of risks. They are in line with the ESG factors that are taken into account increasingly by financial institutions to ensure responsible investment. In concrete terms, the Bank’s Board


of Executive Directors (BED) approved several policies and strategies to support the Bank’s ESG mainstreaming efforts and overall sustainability agenda. Specifically, the Bank developed a climate change policy, gender and youth policies, fragility and resilience policies and environmental and social safeguards policy. Moreover, it has developed a detailed climate policy implementation framework to incorporate and mainstream ESG in various interventions and strategic partnerships of the Bank with member


countries. The Bank also adheres strictly to the ‘do no harm’ principle that protects both the natural environment and takes into account the social considerations in the overall design of its investments in member countries. We consistently adhere to the applicable ESG standards in the industry we operate in (i.e. the multilateral development bank (MDB) / international financial institution communities). The Bank currently applies the joint MDB climate change reporting methodology and standard for its annual climate investments, as well as reporting to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Bank reported its climate finance contribution for 2017, 2018 and 2019 using applicable reporting standards and methodology


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