The UAE and Responsible Finance—Can Responsible Finance Ṣukūk Help the UAE in Fulfilling Its Sustainability Ambitions?

In: Arab Law Quarterly
Edana Richardson Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Law, Department of Law, Maynooth University, Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland

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Responsible finance ṣukūk provide market participants with a capital markets instrument through which they can fulfil the dictates of Islamic law while also participating in green, social or sustainable economic activity. However, as centres for Islamic finance (such as Malaysia and Indonesia) become prominent markets for responsible finance ṣukūk, issuances of these instruments have been noticeably slower to develop in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This has not been due to a lack of public enthusiasm for a sustainable economy from UAE authorities. However, the plethora of government sustainability initiatives, statements and targets has resulted in somewhat of a patchwork of policies, not all of which are publicly available or centrally curated. This article will aim to map the UAE’s sustainability agenda and consider where responsible finance ṣukūk fit within this agenda. Against this backdrop, it will analyse the contractual structure of the UAE’s first issuance of responsible finance ṣukūk.

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