This is the first edition of the "Environment in Context" podcast. It discusses the role of Islamic financing in the development of the global Green Bond industry. In June 2017, Malaysia was the first country in the world to issue a green sukuk in order to finance a solar power plant. Sukuk are asset-backed financial certificates that were developed over a millennium ago, which are compliant with the Islamic principle of shari'a.
Sukuk is the plural of “sakk,” which represents proportionate ownership in a pool of assets. However, in the contemporary world of climate finance, green sukuk have emerged as a new tool for investors to fund environmentally sustainable infrastructure projects, such as solar power plants. This green Islamic finance bond has now become a multi-billion-dollar industry. This industry offers some hope for public and private enterprises to raise funds for green infrastructure, but it should be approached cautiously since it also offers opportunities of “green-washing” organizations that are otherwise heavily invested in fossil fuels.
Aneil Tripathy is an anthropologist currently completing his PhD at Brandeis University. His research focuses on climate finance and the dynamics of the green bond market. Aneil has been a visiting researcher at Cass Business School, University College London, and Lancaster University. He has worked in climate finance for five years and has training in environmental economics, ethnographic research, and systems thinking.
Huma Gupta is a scholar of environmental planning and the political economy of development. She is currently a Humanities Research Fellow at New York University, Abu Dhabi. Her book project “The Architecture of Dispossession: Migrant Sarifa Settlements and State-Building in Iraq” examines state-building through the architectural production of rural migrants in cities. She did her doctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was a fellow in the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture and the Social Science Research Council. Her work has appeared in a number of scholarly venues including the International Journal of Islamic Architecture, Thresholds, Aggregate Architectural History Collective(forthcoming), Jadaliyya, and The Ottoman History Podcast. As a practitioner, she has worked on postwar reconstruction in Afghanistan, municipal administration in Syria, grassroots political mobilization in the United States, and humanitarian response and housing policies for refugees and internally displaced persons around the world.
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program and Associate Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011) and co-editor of the forthcoming book, A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East (Forthcoming, Stanford University Press, 2021). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal and the Knowledge Production Project. He is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of the series Arabs and Terrorism. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya E-zine and Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute. He serves on the Board of the Arab Council for the Social Sciences and is Executive Producer of Status Audio Magazine. Bassam is Co-Project Manager for the Salon Syria Project and Director of the Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI). He received MESA's Jere L. Bacharach Service Award in 2017 for his service to the profession. Currently, Bassam is working on his second Syria book titled Understanding The Syrian Tragedy: Regime, Opposition, Outsiders (forthcoming, Stanford University Press).