Sustainability and Social Responsibility is, in essence, an approach towards all aspects of an organization's business activities with the aim of meeting the needs of the organization, its shareholders, employees and customers whilst sustaining the resources - human and natural - that will be needed over the long term.
Sustainability and Social Responsibility aims to create long-term economic growth through the careful management of natural resources (e.g, reduction of energy usage, waste management, etc.), development of human resources (through training, personal development and career and succession planning), and the general enhancement of the quality of life throughout society.
The conecept of Social Responsibility fits easily with the business ethics of Islam and, therefore, with AL Baraka's traditional principles and philosophy.
Our philosophy, in essence, is that Allah grants mankind the capacity to inherit the land on this earth and therefore that mankind is not the owner of wealth, but is entrusted with it. As the purpose of mankind is to construct, embellish and build on this earth, we are therefore ordained to create jobs and opportunities for others. Thus, the wealth bestowed upon us must therefore be invested in creating the wealth and opportunities in the society. As members of a banking group founded on Islamic principles and values, we at Al Baraka believe that we have a particular obligation to society, through patronage and sponsorship of educational and social projects, to enhance the living conditions and quality of life of needful individuals in the local communities, of which we are part.
In meeting this commitment to society, we make all possible efforts to apply one of the important philosophical pillars of Islamic banking: the concept of E'mar Al Ardh (or construction, or development of land), which means, adding tangible value to assets (whether natural or human).
This concept has a direct relevane to the development of society and its social and economic progress and we seek to apply it through active investment mediation, which complements real and value-added production, and through the exchange of commodities and services, to be able to offer practical alternatives to those financial intermediaries that provide no benefit to society at large".
We consider the role of Social Responsibility in our organization to be essential to our business model in all the countries we operate in, are based. All our subsidiaries embrace Islamic ethical principles and apply them to their banking operations and services.
Our Bank's relation with you, dear Client, is based on the following principles:
Investments may only be made in sectors and industries that meet ethical standards. The moral values of Islam dictate that Muslims must invest in the production of, and trade in, useful and beneficial goods only. They therefore forbid investment in such activities as, for example, contribute to the production of alcoholic beverages, tobacco or weapons, or are associated in any way with gambling, pornography or the abuse of children, women and minorities, or any other morally questionable practices.
All Islamic banks and financial institutions issue the payment of interest in their relations with depositors, consumers and businesses, as Islam prohibits the paying or charging of interest. Instead, ABG's banking subsidiaries, like all Islamic banks; accept deposits on an investment basis whereby depositors share with the bank in the actual results of the realization of their investments, Financing is provided to businesses in turn mainly on the basis of installment sale, leasing or equity participation.
In this way. they and their depositors share the financial risk with the entrepreneurs and together they reap the benefits of the investments. The essential difference in Islam is that the practice of profit sharing in such that wealth creation is the result of a partnership between investors and etrepreneurs in which both the risks and the rewards are shared: returns on invested capital are based on profits actually generated rather than predetermined interest rates.
All contracts entered into by Al Baraka's banking subsidiaries, and all their relations with businesses and depositors, must comply with the ethical standards of the Shari' a.
We have established the "Al Baraka Social Responsibility Program", the first such Program to be introduced by any Islamic banking and financial services institution.