ADVERTORIAL : 38 GATEHOUSE BANK
THE UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS?
On September 22, 2019, more than 130 banks signed the first-ever global sustainability framework for the banking industry: the UN Principles for Responsible Banking. The CEO of Gatehouse Bank, Charles Haresnape in the presence of the UN SecretaryGeneral and banking delegates from around the world, signed the UN Principles, which provides a framework for a sustainable banking system and helps the financial sector demonstrate how it can make a positive contribution to the society . Today, more than 180 banks from around the world have joined up to change the way banks do business and help deliver a fairer and more sustainable global economy. These signatories serve more than 1.6 billion customers worldwide and represent around 40% of the global banking assets. Gatehouse Bank is an award-winning UK Shari’a-compliant bank offering savings products and finance for businesses and individuals. As a founding signatory to the UN Principles, Gatehouse is committed to further aligning their business strategy with the society’s goals. These goals are expressed in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and other relevant frameworks that identify the most pressing societal, environmental, and economic needs of our time. Gatehouse is proud to be part of this initiative and is taking action to better understand the environmental and social impact of their business, and innovate ways to improve this impact. As society’s expectations change, banks must be transparent and clear about how their products and services can create value for their investors, customers, and society. The Bank has committed to monitoring their performance and remaining accountable for the ways their business impacts society and the environment. The principles of Shari’a-compliant banking underpin Gatehouse Bank’s operations and form the basis of their product offering. With 20 years of experience in the Islamic Finance sector, Mohaimin Chowdhury, General Counsel of Gatehouse Bank sees a natural alignment with the principles of Islamic finance and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
This is because the Islamic economic model excludes funding for socially harmful activities and highly speculative financial products. Gatehouse Bank has developed policies, procedures and products that ensure their activities fulfil Shari’a criteria; including never financing the arms industry, alcohol, tobacco, adult entertainment or gambling. This exclusion list represents a range of industries that can be detrimental to society. Additionally, Islamic finance principles require that all of Gatehouse Bank’s investments involve real assets. This helps buffer society and the economy from some of the well documented negative effects and consequences of highly speculative investment and derivative products. Gatehouse Bank recognises that there is an opportunity for Islamic finance institutions like them to expand their social impact assessment beyond Shari’a compliance to achieve an enhanced level of alignment with the society’s goals and the needs of their regions of operation. Action on climate is growing but it is still far short of what is needed to meet the global targets to combat climate change. Ecology is under threat and pollution is damaging lives and the planet. Private sector ambition and investment are needed to tackle these global challenges.
“GATEHOUSE BANK IS A GROWING FORCE IN THE UK BANKING SECTOR AND IS COMMITTED TO HAVING A POSITIVE IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE. THE PRINCIPLES FOR RESPONSIBLE BANKING FITS WITH THE BANK’S ETHICAL APPROACH TO FINANCE AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WILL ENABLE US TO CONTINUOUSLY REVIEW AND DEVELOP OUR APPROACH AS A RESPONSIBLE PROVIDER.” CHARLES HARESNAPE, CEO GATEHOUSE BANK
There is a tremendous business opportunity in such an investment. It is estimated that addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals could unlock USD12 trillion in business savings and revenue annually and create 380 million more jobs by 2030.1 Islamic finance is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the global financial industry and is well placed to drive the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, the UN Sustainable Development Goals present Islamic finance with the opportunity to widen the evaluation of social impact beyond Shari’a compliance to achieve a broader relevance to the global sustainable development context. Gatehouse Bank has partnered with the Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC) and the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) – both not-forprofit organisations committed to driving finance for positive change. The UKIFC is the first advisory body dedicated to Islamic finance to endorse the UN Principles. The Bank is working with the UKIFC as part of a global taskforce intended to encourage Islamic financial institutions to embrace the SDGs and show the world that commitment to planet and people lies at the heart of Islamic finance. Through its partnership with GEFI, the Bank has been able to reinforce its position as a progressive ethical bank by presenting at events involving some of the world’s leading financial institutions as well as demonstrating its commitment to climate action by supporting the Path to COP26 campaign. With assets currently at USD2.5 trillion and expected to reach USD3.8 trillion in 2022, Islamic finance has an important role to play in building momentum for achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the same time, Islamic finance can capture the exciting business opportunities available to organisations that are a part of the drive towards positive, sustainable growth and an economic system that works for everyone. To find out more about how Gatehouse Bank is part of this momentum and working to create products and services that create value for our investors, clients, and society at large, visit www. gatehousebank.com.