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Not the proverbial “best kept secret”, but certainly under-reported in the West: CSR, Islam and global business

There is a vital but unseen rising force in the Islamic world  — a new business-minded middle class – that is building a vibrant new Muslim economy … their distinct blending of Islam and capitalism is the key to bringing lasting reform and defeating fundamentalism … They are the people the West can and must do business with.”

 – Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Now comes the Islamic Reporting Initiative founded by management consultant Daan Elffers. IRI is a non-profit, innovative CSR reporting framework for companies that “increase profit and growth in concert with Islamic principles and values”. Founded last year, IRI has reportedly established a member base in some 30 countries. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, membership is said to include Zain, the International Medical Center and Glowork. 

The Saudi Gazette reports that multilateral organizations such as The World Bank and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have embraced IRI as “an excellent combination of Islamic values and the advancement of CSR.”The tragic humanitarian turmoil in the Middle East — and in too many other countries — persists. And cultural/political systems vary significantly. But beneath the surface of media attention many good and influential people are cooperating to advance quality of life, standard of living, security and a sustainable environment. Global business, even between people of very different cultures, can help.