Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) commits to promoting sustainability

28 September 2012

At the Rio+20 ‘Earth Summit’ in June, UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi issued an open invitation to stock exchanges around the world to commit to promoting sustainable investment. The Board of Directors of BSE has welcomed this idea and signed the Sustainable Stock Exchanges voluntary commitment.

The Bomby Stock Exchange joins five other leading exchanges that have publicly committed to promoting sustainable investment practices. These include the Brazilian stock exchange BM&FBOVESPA, Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE), Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and NASDAQ OMX.

The Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) voluntary commitment letter, asks exchanges to commit to the following pledge: “We voluntarily commit, through dialogue with investors, companies and regulators, to promoting long term sustainable investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance disclosure and performance among companies listed on our exchange.”

“The BSE is an important facilitator of development finance and a recognized pioneer in advancing sustainability indices in India,” said Mr. James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise. “We welcome this public commitment from CEO Mr. Ashishkumar Chauhan, and we look forward to working with BSE to further promote sustainable business practices.”

In 2008, the BSE was one of Asia’s first exchanges to launch a corporate sustainability index with the introduction of the BSE-GREENEX Index. The index helps investors to assess “carbon performance” and promotes investment in low-carbon companies.

The SSE initiative was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi in 2009 at UN Headquarters in New York City. It is a joint initiative co-organized by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative. The SSE aims at exploring how exchanges can work together with investors, regulators, and companies to enhance corporate transparency, and ultimately performance, on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues and encourage responsible long-term approaches to investment.

Established in 1875, the Bombay Stock Exchange is one of the oldest exchanges in Asia. With over 5,000 listed companies, it is the largest exchange in the world in number of listings. The market capitalization of the exchange exceeds 1 Trillion US dollars.

Sustainability reporting experts will meet on 2 November to discuss the role of stock exchanges in promoting improved ESG disclosure at UNCTAD’s annual session of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (ISAR).