World Halal Forum gets Thumbs Up from the World

A summary of resolutions and direction forward for World Halal Forum

Kuala Lumpur, 6 April 2011 – The 6th World Halal Forum (WHF) provided the platform for fundamental change within the global Halal industry yet again, with several important announcements and launches held over the two days, from 4th to 5th April. Based on feedback from over 600 delegates who came from over 40 countries, this year’s WHF hit the right note by converging Islamic Finance and the Halal Industry, into one integrated Halal Economy. This positive response is a promising step forward for both industries to work closer together to elevate the Halal economy, with Islamic Finance as the key driver in this new world economy that seeks to serve 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide.

Abdalhamid Evans, Director of World Halal Forum, commented:

“This year’s World Halal Forum was a new milestone for the global Halal industry. We have been able to move past the discussions about standards development and slaughter methods, and address many of the wider strategic growth issues in the Halal marketplace. The initial steps towards the convergence of the Halal and Islamic Finance industries opens up the market from both sides, and this is going to be much bigger than most people realise. This is what thought leadership is all about; and this is why the WHF is the most important Halal sector forum in the world.”

The convergence of these two Shariah-based industries forms a strong economic platform that is built on a set of shared values – values that will play an increasingly strategic role in shaping global markets in the coming decade, hence the theme for WHF 2011: “Towards a Halal Economy: The Power of Values in Global Markets”.

This year’s World Halal Forum featured cutting edge speakers in both Islamic Finance and the Halal sectors giving birth to a whole new direction in the progress of the Islamic economic sector. The line-up of speakers feature industry thought-leaders such as Rushdi Siddiqui (Global Head, Islamic Finance & OIC Countries, Thomson Reuters), Rafe Haneef (Executive Director &
CEO, HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad), David Smith (Chief Executive, Global Futures & Foresight), Fazal Bahardeen (Founder & CEO, Crescentrating Pte Ltd), Jalel Aossey (Director, Midamar Corporation), Rafi-uddin Shikoh (CEO, DinarStandard), Navid Akhtar (Managing Director, Gazelle Media), Joohi Tahir (VP Marketing & Sales, Crescent Foods Inc.), and Zahed Amanullah (Director, American Halal Corporation).

Rafe Haneef, CEO of HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad commented, “If we are going to move towards a Halal economy, we have to take a holistic approach; the whole cycle, the whole chain has to be Halal from the production to the financing.”

David Smith, Chief Executive of Global Futures & Foresight, UK, said: “The convergence of Halal food industry and Islamic Finance is actually a bigger issue. It’s about people running their lives, living their lives according to their value sets. For the Muslim population, according to Halal, Shariah-compliance, Tayyib…tied to the Qur’an. The important thing here is it isn’t one or two industries converging, it’s 10 and 20 industries converging; “

The world’s first ‘SAMI Halal Food Index’ (SAMI stands for Socially Acceptable Market Investing) is a physical manifestation of this concept of converging the two massive Shariah-compliant industries and was launched at the opening of the 6th World Halal Forum. The index which comprises over 200 companies listed in Muslim-majority countries with a total market capitalisation of over USD100 billion, positions Halal as an Asset Class within the investment community. The ‘SAMI Halal Food Index’ is powered by IdealRatings with the backing of Thomson Reuters and supported by World Halal Forum.

According to Rushdi Siddiqui, “If you look at the Asset Management industry, an index is a DNA for the Asset Management industry. So, this Halal Index is going to be the DNA for the Halal industry.”

Some of the immediate initiatives that are now underway include:

  • Developing a new member-based structure for the WHF
  • Implementing IHI Alliance’s solutions for the Halal industry’s generic problems
  • Increasing stakeholder involvement in programme and decision-making
  • Developing a new online interface for the Halal industry’s stakeholders
  • Communicating the new landscape within the Halal market arena.

Apart from these milestone achievements that will serve as a catalytic force in driving the industry forward, the World Halal Forum also announced that it is undergoing a structural change moving away from an event under KasehDia, into a Not-For-Profit entity under the International Halal Integrity Alliance (IHI Alliance) – a move that will allow the brand to propagate change on a different level altogether, working within the strong international network and support system of IHI Alliance.
“Through our Halal Supply Chain Initiative (“HSCI”), we bring together all the global stakeholders through a comprehensive private-sector driven framework in ensuring an unbroken chain of Halal integrity and market access” mentioned Darhim Dali Hashim, CEO of IHI Alliance. “WHF provides the ideal platform for all these stakeholders to interact with each other.” This change will also mean that it will be modelled into a membership-based structure with the announcement of an Executive Board and Advisory Board soon, and a year-round programme in different parts of the world.

In opening the 6th World Halal Forum, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, said: “I congratulate the World Halal Forum for continuing in its quest to be the beacon of knowledge and a catalytic force of change in the global Halal industry. The industry needs leadership and for many years, people have looked to the World Halal Forum to fill that vacuum. It is good to witness the progress and maturation of the World Halal Forum that is now ready to take on that role to steer direct change in the industry.”

The 6th World Halal Forum was hosted by IHI Alliance, and was supported by Platinum Sponsor, HSBC Amanah Malaysia Berhad, and Event Sponsors, Colgate-Palmolive, Nestle Malaysia, Chemical Company of Malaysia and HPA Industries.