The FINANCIAL -- Partner Exchanges of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative have begun publishing a Communication to Stakeholders to engage capital market participants in a dialogue on responsible investment and sustainable business practices. The Communication explains each exchange’s approach to promoting sustainability among investors and companies. These are the first such disclosures done by exchanges through the SSE.
“In addition to promoting transparency with external stakeholders, the Communication to Stakeholders document is a very effective tool for engaging internal stakeholders including the board of directors, senior leaders, and employees,” said Gavin Power, Deputy Director, UN Global Compact. “Our Partner Exchanges are already using it to start an internal conversation about their role in sustainable development and sustainable capital markets.”
The Communication guides exchanges on the types of information sought by investors, companies, employees, peer exchanges, civil society, and others. Exchanges are encouraged to use this format to guide their Communication, but also have the freedom to adapt it as needed. It enables exchanges to elaborate on their sustainability rationale and activities, and engage stakeholders on their role in promoting sustainability within their markets. The Communication to Stakeholders includes questions such as:
How does your exchange define and view the rationale for corporate sustainability and the exchange's role in promoting it?
What objectives does your exchange have in regards to advancing sustainability in your market?
How do you track sustainability reporting of your listed companies?
What incentives and/or sanctions do you have in place to encourage environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure and discourage non-compliance?
How has your exchange supported the development of financial products that address sustainability-related issues?
“As one of the newest Partner Exchange to the SSE initiative, the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is proud to participate in this inaugural Communication to Stakeholders. The NSE is at the vanguard of promoting transparency, increasing quality of disclosures and encouraging the adoption of world class corporate governance norms by its listed firms and trading participants,” said Geoffrey Odundo, Chief Executive, Nairobi Securities Exchange. “We plan to continue hosting various fora and events to create awareness and inculcate the merits of ESG reporting.”
“Acting as pioneers of capital markets, exchanges have the mission of enhancing awareness on ESG issues in the market. The Communication to Stakeholders is no doubt an important milestone for promoting sustainability among the market participants,” said Mustafa K. Yılmaz, Executive VP, Borsa İstanbul.
The Communication to Stakeholders does not represent a new annual reporting requirement for Partner Exchanges. After submitting their first Communications to Stakeholders, exchanges are asked to update them when needed, for example, when new policies and sustainability objectives are initiated. Where possible, exchanges also integrate their Communications to Stakeholders into their own public communication channels, according to Global Compact.
“We are delighted to be taking this opportunity to engage with companies, investors and other stakeholders on how we continue to support sustainable global economic growth. We have also incorporated our ‘Communication of Progress’ within our recently published LSEG Corporate Responsibility report, and look forward to continuing to develop our activity in this area as we grow our global business,” said Paul Froud, Head of Investor Relations, London Stock Exchange Group.
The SSE Secretariat developed the suggested content for the Communication to Stakeholders in collaboration with its Partner Exchanges and PRI Investor Working Group. The Communications to Stakeholders can be found on the SSE website, along with a database of fact sheets the SSE Secretariat maintains that detail the sustainability initiatives of over 55 stock exchanges.
“Greater transparency will lead to improved performance and this will lead to an environment more conducive to sustainable investment,” said Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). “The Communication is another step forward towards accomplishing that goal.”
“This Communication to Stakeholders is another important element in our broader efforts to promote alignment between capital market signals and public policy goals,” said James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD’s Investment and Enterprise Division. “More than ever before, stock exchanges are engaging with the rest of the investment community in a global dialogue on investment for sustainable development.”
The SSE encourages all exchanges, including those that are not Partner Exchanges of the SSE, to use the Communication to Stakeholders to promote transparency in their markets and facilitate an open dialogue. Beyond that, investors, issuers, regulators and policy makers may use this to engage with exchanges and encourage further sustainability leadership and transparency.
"Sustainability metrics are telling vital parts of a company’s story, signaling their commitment to long-term economic strategy, and thus every bit as useful to exchanges as “traditional” financial reports and governance disclosures,” said Evan Harvey, Director of Corporate Responsibility, Nasdaq.
“BM&FBOVESPA congratulates the SSE for creating the Communication to Stakeholders. This is an important instrument to increase the transparency of sustainability information for all of the signatory exchanges’ publics of interest, especially investors, at global and regional levels. The adhesion of the exchanges is one more example of the proactive and engaged position that they have taken on as part of this agenda, conscious that their role encompasses being drivers and market makers in socio-environmental and corporate governance questions too. The support and encouragement of the SSE has been fundamental in this field,” remarked Sonia Favaretto, BM&FBOVESPA Press and Sustainability Officer and Chair of the Deliberative Board of the Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE).