Announcement: COP26 Event Programme Launch

With just over three weeks to go until COP26 in Glasgow we wanted to take stock of our busy pre-event series and give you a taster of the exciting events we have lined up during the summit itself. Below you will find a roundup for each of our four work streams and links to secure your tickets for a mixture of in person and virtual events.  You can follow us on Twitter, Linkedln and our dedicated Efx Global page throughout the summit to stay up to date with the sessions and speakers on the ground in Glasgow, and make sure you follow along with the hastags: ClimateAction , #TogetherForOurPlanet, #Finance4COP26, #COP26

Net Zero Pensions

 The challenge of achieving net zero presents a complex range of issues for pension providers and financial institutions alike. With COP26 only four weeks away, financial institutions are coming under increasing pressure to commit to net zero targets. Pension providers must therefore accelerate action towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. At GEFI we have been raising this call to action as COP26 draws ever closer, with the following events and initiatives:

Pre-COP Events:

During COP:

  • Net Zero Pensions Summit, Tuesday 9th November (Glasgow University, 12.30pm – 2pm). Click here to sign up to attend in-person or virtually.


Faith in the SDGs

Pre COP Events:

  • Our latest Report 'Innovation in Islamic Finance: Innovation in Islamic Finance: Green Sukuk for SDGs' was commissioned last month in conjunction with UNDP Indonesia, explores the role of green sukuk in the context of climate change and the green economy. It highlights the potential of green sukuk to be used effectively by OIC member states and beyond, to finance NDC’s by attracting investment at scale to projects that reduce national greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. You can read the report here.
  • Part 4 of our Thought Leadership series, ‘Islamic Finance: Shariah and the SDGs’ is available now.This report is the last part of a four-part thought leadership series delivered by the International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) in partnership with the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC). It deliberates the relationship between Shariah and SDGs and highlights some of the key principles of Shariah which support the SDG agenda. Click here to download

During COP:

Faith in the SDGs Summit,  Tuesday 9th November (Glasgow University, 10am – 11.30am). Click here to sign up to attend in-person or virtually.


Finance for Nature in Nature

Pre-COP26 Event (Virtual)

Monday 4th – Thursday 7th October – UNDP (Virtual)

  • Nature for Life Hub – A programme of virtual events focusing on the transformations required to achieve the SDGs, and to bend the curve on biodiversity loss, climate change and nature-dependent livelihoods and wellbeing. 

Events at COP26 (Ross Priory, Loch Lomond)

During COP:  Finance for Nature (F4N) Programme, Thursday 4th & Friday 5th November (Ross Priory)
Email to attend in-person.


Other Events:

GEFI, Scottish Government & Scottish Enterprise Green Finance Day Wednesday 3rd November (Lighthouse, 2pm – 5pm). Click here to sign up virtually or email to attend in-person.

GEFI, Scottish Government & Scottish Enterprise Finance Day Reception Wednesday 3rd November (Lighthouse, 5pm – 6.30pm) Email to attend in-person.

Private Events
In addition to our public programme, we will be curating a number of private events with our stakeholders during the period.

Lunch and launch event for our SDG-Aligned Finance Platform
Tuesday 2nd November, 2pm – 4pm

FaithInvest and Climate Investment Funds round table
Wednesday 3rd November, 8.30am – 10am

Islamic Finance Programme
Wednesday 3rd November, 9am – 12pm

Recap: Pension Providers and the Path to Net Zero Launch

The challenge of achieving net zero presents a complex range of issues for pension providers and financial institutions alike. With COP26 now less than four weeks away, financial institutions are coming under increasing pressure to commit to net zero targets. Pension providers must therefore accelerate action towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Last Tuesday on the 28th September, GEFI were delighted to marked the official launch of our Pension Providers and the Path to Net Zero Policy Paper. You can read the report here.

The webinar explored some of the key issues facing pension providers around Net Zero, including the all-important question of whether to make ambitious commitments and seek to live up to them, or remain cautious and focus on what is practically achievable. During the session, lead author Natalie Jackson (GEFI) presented key takeaways from the Paper before facilitating a discussion between industry experts David Hickey (Lothian Pension Fund) and Eva Cairns (Aberdeen Standard Investments) who presented on key topics relevant findings for pension providers. The presentations were followed by a lively audience Q&A where issues such as decarbonisation, offsets and practical action points for professionals in financial services and local government pension schemes alike.

You can watch a recap of Natalie’s Presentation here

You can watch a recap of Eva’s Presentation here

You can watch a recap of David’s Presentation here

You can also listen to the paper author Natalie Jackson give a radio interview to Good Morning Scotland on BBC Scotland

We are also delighted to invite you to join us during COP26 in Glasgow on Tuesday 9th November at Kelvin Gallery, University of Glasgow, for our Net Zero Pensions Summit. The event will showcase best practice and provide practical guidance for pension providers to ensure that the pensions we pay are worth more in a world worth living in. Following the digital launch of the Net Zero Policy Positioning Paper​ in September 2021, and in anticipation of our Net Zero Transition Roadmap launch (late October), this Summit, held in partnership with abrdn, will explore the urgent action required by pension providers and ensure they play a key role in addressing the existential threat of climate change.  The Summit will showcase best practice and provide practical guidance for pension providers to ensure that the pensions we pay are worth more in a world worth living in.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Barry O'Dwyer, Chief Executive, Royal London
  • Faith Ward, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Brunel Pension Partnership
  • David Russell, Head of Responsible Investment, Universities Superannuation Scheme
  • Eva Cairns, Head of Climate Change Strategy, Aberdeen Standard Investments

Secure your place by signing up here.

Report Launch: Islamic Finance Can Unlock $50 Billion Funding For Climate Emergency Ahead of COP 26

With less than 6 weeks to go until COP26, a new report entitled 'Innovation in Islamic Finance: Green Sukuk for SDGs' has been published by the UK Islamic Finance Council (UKIFC) and GEFI as part of our Path to COP Faith in the SDGs workstream. As the report rightly outlines, the principles of Islamic finance are underpinned by the objectives of Islamic law and match many of the aims and objectives of the agenda for sustainable development goals adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to provide a shared blueprint for an urgent call for action by all countries to end poverty, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.

The report, which will be officially launched at the UKIFC's Islamic Finance and Global SDGs summit on Tuesday September 28th, estimates an additional US$30-50bn can be raised by 2025 through green and sustainability sukuk  to deliver the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Moreover, sales of new Green sukuk bonds have grown from US$500m in 2017 to US$3.5bn in 2019. The Republic of Indonesia (ROI), in partnership with the UNDP, issued the world’s first Government  green sukuk in March 2018 (raising US$1.25bn) and the world’s first retail green sukuk in November 2019 (raising IDR1.4trn or USD$104.4m).

The report also demonstrates how this unique alignment of the SDGs and Islamic finance provides a clear opportunity for green sukuk bonds to bridge the gap in private sector finance needed to meet countries’ climate targets and  accelerate achieving their wider Sustainable Development Goals. It takes a detailed look at the best practice approach to green sukuk taken in ROI and other Islamic finance regions.


  • Upfront investment is needed to develop a green framework and independent certification to assure investors that green sukuk bonds are not greenwashing.
  • Demand from western global investors for Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) investments gives green sukuk bonds the opportunity to attract  major new investors who otherwise would not have considered sukuk bonds for their portfolios.
  • Green or sustainability sukuk bonds might lower the cost of raising vital climate finance. Malaysia has seen the largest volume of sukuk issuances supported and facilitated by a number of Government initiatives.
  • Indonesia has a very limited corporate sukuk market and has not seen any corporate green sukuk issuances. There is a need to ensure sukuk have a level playing field with no additional burdens in comparison to conventional bonds; in addition, tax incentives could encourage corporate sukuk issuances.
  • The opportunity is there for Shariah scholars to positively influence ESG aspects as part of their Shariah review of sukuk issuances.
  • A challenge within the Islamic finance industry is the general lack of experience and depth of knowledge in relation to ESG matters. It is recommended organisations such as the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions take a lead and develop guidance for Shariah scholars.

The full report can be accessed here.

There is still time to register for the UKIFC's Islamic Finance and Global SDGs summit via their Eventbrite Page. You can find out more about our Faith in the SDGs workstream and activities at Cop26 on our dedicated Path to Cop Page.

Are you a young person with questions about COP26? Join our #26for26 campaign

With COP 26 now less than 50 days away, we are eager to encourage voices from all around the world, and in particular, young voices, to get involved with the conversation in and around finance that will be taking place in Glasgow and beyond.

The Climate crisis facing us today is immense, and the negotiations that will take place at COP will hopefully bring us closer to a solution and a combined international effort. But what is the thing you have been dying to ask the delegates? Who would you like to ask this question? No guarantees we will get you that person, but with the finance industry gathering in Glasgow in November, we will have a broad range of industry leaders we can speak with.  

As part of our #26for26 campaign, we will pick 26 questions to ask our network throughout the two weeks of COP26. You may of course submit anonymously, however, if you provide us with contact details and social media handles, we will link any posts to you, so you can share with your network, should you be chosen.  

You can submit your questions via our Questions for COP chat box on our website.

Make sure you follow us on Twitter, Linkedln and YouTube to be part of the conversation across social media.


New Global Islamic Finance and SDGs Summit Launched

As part GEFI's Faith in the SDGs workstream, the UKIFC in partnership with UN and Islamic Development Bank is organising a virtual global summit on Islamic finance and the SDGs, to coincide with the UN General Assembly.

The summit will:

  • Highlight the natural alignment between Islamic finance and the SDGs, based on the Maqasid Al-Shariah (higher goals of Islam);
  • Examine some of the challenges for Islamic finance and the SDGs;
  • Showcase the practical progress made by Islamic financial institutions on the SDGs, including multilateral organisations, governments, and commercial banks and asset managers; and
  • Showcase the role for Islamic social finance in achieving the SDGs.

By focusing on the natural alignment between the Islamic faith and the SDGs, we will seek to drive engagement with and acceptance of the Goals among communities who might otherwise not engage with them. The summit will feature a mixture of high-level discussions about the global trends facing the Islamic finance industry, scholarly debate regarding the Goals, and practical showcases of SDGs in action in Islamic finance.

The Global Islamic Finance and SDGs Taskforce, initiated by the UKIFC, was launched by the UK Government together with IsDB to promote awareness and adoption of the SDGs amongst commercial Islamic financial institutions. This summit is informed by, and builds on, the work of the Taskforce and the UKIFC’s broader activities in promoting the SDGs and its work with GEFI as part of the Faith in Finance Path to COP workstream.

Confirmed Speakers Include:

  • Dr Ahmed Al-Meraikhi, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General
  • Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Board Member, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance
  • Raja Amir Shah Raja Azwa, CEO, HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad
  • Stella Cox CBE, Managing Director, DDCAP Group
  • Rafe Haneef, CEO - Group Transaction Banking & Group Chief Sustainability Officer, CIMB Group
  • Charles Haresnape, CEO, Gatehouse Bank
  • Farmida Bi CBE, EMEA Chair, Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Dr Akram Laldin, Executive Director, International Shariʽah Research Academy for Islamic Finance
  • Arshad Mohamed Ismail, CEO, Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Berhad
  • Najmuddin Mohd Lutfi, CEO, BIMB Investment Management Berhad
  • Hajara Adeola, CEO, Lotus Capital Limited
  • Omar Shaikh, Managing Director, UKIFC

To register your interest for the summit, follow the link to the sign up page.