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   2019
   
 

Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C. becomes the first bank in West Asia region to commit to the Principles for Responsible Banking

 Manama I October 28, 2019

Al Baraka Banking Group became the first bank in the West Asia region to officially sign the new Principles for Responsible Banking, which were developed through an innovative global partnership between banks and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).  Al Baraka is the first in the Islamic banking sector to do so.

UNEP FI is a partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector to encourage private sector involvement in the establishment and promotion of sustainable environmental practices. On 22 September 2019, the UN and 130 leading banks around the globe launched the Principles for Responsible Banking ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. The Principles provide the framework for a sustainable banking system and establish best practices that will assist banks in creating and demonstrating positive impact within the communities they are embedded in, and society at large. 

Al Baraka Banking Group's commitment to the Principles for Responsible Banking follows a period of increased collaboration between the bank and the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia, after entering into a strategic partnership that was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding earlier in May 2019. As part of Al Baraka Goals (2016-2020), Al Baraka pledged $197 million for 2019-2020 in support of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in the bank's operating countries, including; Jordan, Bahrain, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia from the West Asia region.

During a ceremony, which was held on 28 October, Al Baraka Banking Group's President  & Chief Executive, Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, signed the Principle of Responsible Banking, in the presence of the Director and Regional Representative of the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia, Mr. Sami Dimassi. During his remarks, Dimassi highlighted that "joining the Principles for Responsible Banking shows the commitment from Al Baraka Banking Group to climate action and sustainability for the people of Bahrain, the region, and further. I would like to again congratulate Al Baraka for being the first bank from the region to commit to the Principles and for ensuring that the bank will focus where it has the greatest impact - in its core business - and set, publish and implement ambitious targets to promote positive impact in line with global and local goals." Dimassi also encouraged other banks in the region to align with the Principles for Responsible Banking and work with the UNEP Regional Office for West Asia to achieve society's goals as expressed by the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

On his part, Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif stated, "We are very excited see the Principles of Responsible Banking being adopted globally.  Our huge thanks and congratulations to the UNEP/UNEP-FI teams for their dedication and leadership for articulating the Principles for the global banking industry.  Our particular thanks to Mr. Sami and his wonderful team for being active in the West Asia region.  We are also excited about the Principles as they are aligned with our commitment to sustainable banking and finance.  We launched the Al Baraka Goals (2016-2020) in November 2015 precisely for the reasons articulated in the Principles and we are absolutely delighted to see the trend scaling up in the banking industry."
                                                        
NOTES TO EDITORS

About the UN Environment Programme
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About Al Baraka Banking Group
Al Baraka Banking Group B.S.C. ("ABG") is licensed as an Islamic wholesale bank by the Central Bank of Bahrain and is listed on Bahrain Bourse and NasdaqDubai. It is a leading international Islamic banking group providing its unique services in countries with a population totaling around one billion.

The Group has a wide geographical presence in the form of subsidiary banking units and representative offices in 17 countries, which in turn provide their services through over 700 branches. Al Baraka Banking Group has operations in Jordan, Egypt, Tunis, Bahrain, Sudan, Turkey, South Africa, Algeria, Pakistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco and Germany, in addition two branches in Iraq and two representative offices in Indonesia and Libya.

ABG and its Units offer retail, corporate, treasury and investment banking services, strictly in accordance with the principles of the Islamic Shari'a. The authorized capital of ABG is US$ 2.5 billion.

ABG is rated BB (long term) / B (short term) by Standard & Poor's and BBB+ (long term) / A3 (short term) by Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA). IIRA has also rated ABG on the national scale at A+ (bh) / A2 (bh) with a fiduciary score of 81-85, the highest level amongst Islamic Financial Institutions in the region.

About the Principles for Responsible Banking
The Principles for Responsible Banking were developed by a core group of 30 Founding Banks through an innovative global partnership between banks and the UNEP Finance Initiative. UNEP FI is the UN-private sector collaboration that includes membership of more than 240 finance institutions around the globe.

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