unctad.org | Five stock exchanges win inaugural award for commitment to sustainable development
Five stock exchanges win inaugural award for commitment to sustainable development
23 October 2018
SSE Initiative
Brazil, Egypt, South Africa, Turkey plus Nasdaq joined by transparency pioneers in first Sustainable Stock Exchanges Awards, which were presented at the World Investment Forum.

The founding five partner exchanges of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative – B3 (Brazil), The Egyptian Exchange, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Borsa Istanbul and Nasdaq – received the first-ever SSE Ground-Breaker Award for their commitment to sustainable development at a meeting during the World Investment Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, on 23 October.

The award acknowledged innovative or ground-breaking efforts by a stock exchange contributing to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Back in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, these five exchanges took a courageous step forward to commit publicly to the United Nations that they would actively promote sustainable finance in their markets,” UNCTAD’s director of investment and enterprise James Zhan said.

SSE Initiative 

“As I walked into the meeting room that day in Rio, where these first five exchanges were about to announce their commitment, I turned to colleagues, and I asked, ‘Do you think any other exchanges will commit after these five?’ Today we’re happy to see most of the world’s exchanges as SSE Partner Exchanges – 78 and counting!”

In addition, two SSE Market Transparency Awards were presented to Nasdaq Helsinki (best overall) and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (best emerging market) for their market disclosure ranking in the newly launched SSE Report on Progress 2018.

“The Nasdaq Nordic exchanges have long been active in promoting high-quality sustainability reporting,” Mr. Zhan said. “In 2015, Nasdaq Helsinki hosted an SSE Regional Dialogue for markets across the Nordic and Baltic regions to focus their efforts. These collaborative efforts led to the launch last year of new guidance for issuers on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) disclosure that applies to all the Nasdaq Nordic exchanges. The experiences of the exchanges in this region are an example we can all learn from.”

Announcing the award for the Stock Exchange of Thailand, Mr Zhan said: “The Stock Exchange of Thailand has made great efforts to promote sustainability reporting in its market. The exchange also hosted an SSE Regional Dialogue in 2015, it offers guidance and training to issuers on ESG disclosure and leads by example with its own sustainability report.”

Global dialogue

The SSE Awards were presented during the initiative’s flagship Global Dialogue meeting, which included chief executives of 18 stock exchanges, chief capital market regulators, senior UN officials and civil society.

Paul Andrews, Secretary General of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, delivered the keynote address.

“What are we seeing in the marketplace today?” Mr. Andrews said. “We are seeing a substantial increase in the number of sustainability-focused financial instruments, green bonds, social impact bonds, sustainability funds, energy investment funds. What are we seeing from institutional investors? We are seeing an increased focus on issues around disclosure and addressing ESG risks; there’s real interest there. What are we seeing from exchanges? We are seeing things like ESG indices, disclosures, sustainability indexes – there has been an incredible and substantial set of progress being made on his key issues that face us and our children.”

“You are now beginning to see an increased focus by capital markets regulators on these very same issues,” Mr. Andrews added. “You just have to look what's happening in places like Morocco, like Hong Kong, what's happening in the European Union. Policymakers in those places, but also capital markets regulators, have decided that this is an issue that must be addressed and must be addressed today.”

Nandini Sukumar, chief executive officer of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), moderated the Global Dialogue.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to engage with exchanges, securities regulators and investors on the collective role of the securities industry in promoting sustainable finance,” Ms. Sukumar said.

“The WFE’s recently released Sustainability Principles demonstrates how WFE member exchanges are thinking about their role and we look forward to further collaboration with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative and other key stakeholders in advancing this agenda,” she added.

Eric Usher of the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI), thanked Ms. Sukumar for her organization’s participation in the event.

The SSE launched two key reports at the Global Dialogue: its biennial Report on Progress, and a new report sharing experiences of how securities regulators can support the SDGs.

The SSE initiative, a United Nations Partnership Programme founded in 2009, organized by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, UNEP-FI and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative, provides a global platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, companies (issuers), regulators, policymakers and relevant international organizations, can enhance performance on ESG and encourage sustainable investment, including the financing of the SDGs.


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