The Climate Bonds Initiative, the Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) of the Middle East and North Africa, and the Gulf Bond and Sukuk Association have launched a Green Sukuk Working Group. This working group will identify green energy projects that fall under Shari’ah-suitable categories for potential investors. A sukuk is a financial certificate, similar to a bond, that complies with Islamic religious law. The law does not allow interest payments.
The non-govermental organisation, CEBC, represents the private sector involved in the clean energy industry across the MENA region and is actively involved in the promotion of photovoltaic projects in the region. Working with the CEBC, the initiative seeks to develop financial products that comply with Islamic shariah law. "Were looking closely at a couple of prospective bond issuances," says initiative chairman and co-founder Sean Kidney.
The initiative aims to channel its market expertise to develop best practices and promote the issuance of sukuk for financing of climate change investments and projects, photovoltaic projects being a component. Aaron Bielenberg of the CEBC states, "There are a significant and growing number of projects, for example in renewable energy in the Middle East, that are ideally suited to sukuk investors. This group will help investors more easily identify Shariah compliant, clean energy investment opportunities."
Nick Silver of the Climate Bonds Initiative says that there is an urgent need to mobilise the finance for renewable energy and climate adaption projects in the region. "Green sukuk is ideally suited for the financing of many of these investments," Silver adds.
The Climate Bonds Initiative receives its funding on a per-project basis, from foundations and banks, and has yet to obtain financing for the green sukuk plan. "If you look at current projects across the region, and if a fraction of those were to be financed with green sukuks, then youre talking about $10 to $15 billion," says Nasser Saidi, CEBC chairman. "The time is right for a green sukuk."