March monthly news highlights

29 March 2018

This month includes news from Euronext, ASX, B3, Botswana, Shanghai, NSE India, SGX, Colombo, SET, LSE, ICE/NYSE, IEX and more. Monthly news highlights are compiled by the SSE to give an overview of the capital markets sustainability news from that month.
 
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SSE INITIATIVE NEWS & EVENTS

Sri Lankan exchange launches sustainability guidance March 15, 2018 The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) fulfilled its commitment to provide guidance to its market on sustainability reporting by launching its guidance Communicating Sustainability. The CSE now joins 37 other exchanges worldwide that are providing guidance on reporting environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for listed companies in their markets. Read the publication here. Global markets support gender equality: 65 stock exchanges ring their bells to raise awareness on gender equality March 9, 2018 For the fourth year running, a global coalition of stock exchanges committed to “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” to mark International Women’s Day. The partnership between the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, IFC, UN Global Compact, UN Women, the World Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs aims to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development. Exchange in Focus: Nasdaq Nordic and Baltic exchanges firmly support gender equality March 8, 2018 This year all seven Nasdaq exchanges in the Nordic and Baltic markets joined more than 60 stock exchanges around the world in the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” initiative. “It was time to join our forces and come together to emphasize our commitment to gender equality and sustainable development in the finance industry also in our Nordic-Baltic region,” said Lauri Rosendahl, President of Nasdaq Nordic and Nasdaq Stockholm. EVENT: UN SSE 2018 Global Dialogue October 23, 2018 | Geneva, Switzerland The SSE flagship Global Dialogue is a unique global gathering designed to bring together market leaders to analyze, promote and foster communication on stock exchanges’ sustainability initiatives. Attracting speakers and audience members from around the world, the SSE Global Dialogue has become the main global platform for convening dialogue on sustainable capital markets. The 2018 Global Dialogue will take place as part of the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in Geneva, Switzerland.  

WEBINARS AND EVENTS

Ceres Conference April 24-26, 2018 | Boston, MA Join more than 600 influential investors, company executives and capital market leaders to hear the business case for sustainability and learn how to build leadership and drive change within your firm or organization. At Ceres Conference 2018, you will hear from a wide-range of forward thinking investors, C-Suite company executives and capital market leaders on the most up-to-date sustainability trends, the biggest challenges and innovative breakthroughs on issues related to corporate board governance, clean energy investing, Sustainable Development Goals, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure, sustainable agriculture and food, and more. 5th International Reporting 3.0 Conference June 12-13, 2018 | Amsterdam This year’s Reporting 3.0 Conference will feature final findings from all four Reporting 3.0 Blueprints and will profile pilot projects of companies and others implementing Blueprint Recommendations under the Beta Testing Program. It will also feature the formal launch of the Global Thresholds & Allocations Council, a body of respected experts to vet and validate thresholds for the carrying capacities of the multiple capitals and methodologies for companies to set fair share allocations for access to those capital resources. PRI in Person 2018 September 12-14, 2018 | San Francisco, USA PRI in Person is the leading global conference on responsible investment, offering a platform for PRI signatories and other investment professionals to learn, network and collaborate in person over a three day period. The annual event allows attendees to discuss topical issues and share experiences from their own organisation and region with peers from around the world. UNCTAD World Investment Forum 2018 October 22-25, 2018 | Geneva, Switzerland Established in 2008, the UNCTAD World Investment Forum (WIF) is the pre-eminent global forum for investment policy-making. It is a platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue on investment in sustainable development and strives to achieve actionable outcomes for the world’s investment related challenges. Registration is now open here, and find the preliminary programme here.

CONSULTATIONS

British Columbia Securities Commission consultation on disclosure requirements for women on boards and executive roles Deadline: April 10, 2018 The British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) is seeking input on gender diversity disclosure requirements in National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices (NI 58-101). Japan Financial Services Agency: call for public comments on the guidelines for investor and company engagement Deadline: April 29, 2018 Japan's Financial Services Agency published the draft of the Guidelines for Investor and Company Engagement that will be open for comment through the end of April. World Benchmarking Alliance consultation Deadline: April 30, 2018 The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) founding partners have launched consultations aimed at gathering inputs and insights on the WBA’s objectives and governance structure, as well as identifying and prioritizing critical intersections between industries and the SDGs. Upcoming in-person roundtables will be held Amsterdam, and Washington, DC. There is also an ongoing open online consultation.

GENERAL NEWS

Botswana works with UN to promote private sector sustainability April 4, 2018 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) have commissioned this short research to determine the overall state of sustainability practices among BSE-listed companies. The findings of the research will provide the starting point and help identify the issues to focus on in subsequent engagements with the private sector on sustainable development and the SDGs. They will also guide the development of sustainability principles that listed companies can adopt and use to promote sustainability performance and transparency in the capital market. These activities and processes will contribute to the BSE fulfilling its commitments towards the SSE initiative and the Marrakech Pledge, while also helping Botswana to implement the SDGs and realising its national Vision 2036 (Achieving Prosperity for All). Shanghai Stock Exchange releases its first social responsibility report March 29, 2018 The report shows that the Shanghai Stock Exchange has adhered to the idea of green development, actively practiced its social responsibility, and explored the development of green finance in 2017. The exchange notes that the launch of this report corresponds to the SSE's green finance voluntary action plan. Read the report in Chinese here. Intercontinental Exchange releases 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report March 29, 2018 The report is an overview of the company’s efforts to support the communities in which it operates, invest in its people, promote principles of good governance, and uphold its commitment to environmental sustainability. Euronext endorses the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) March 22, 2018 Euronext endorsed the TCFD recommendations and committed to further support transparency on climate-related risks and opportunities on financial markets. The Belgian Ministry of Finance, the National Bank of Belgium and the Belgian Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) also endorsed the recommendations during the bell ringing ceremony in Brussels. The Long Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) applied to handle IPOs March 19, 2018 The LTSE and Investor’s Exchange (IEX) formally filed with the SEC for permission to handle initial public offerings via special securities listings on IEX. The exchange aims to combat short-term thinking by introducing extra rules designed to reward long-term shareholding and long-term business strategies. BNV promotes the Green Bond Market in Costa Rica March 15, 2018 Bolsa Nacional de Valores (BNV) committed to promoting green bonds in Costa Rica. On April 4, BNC held a seminar to publicize green bonds among investors, private sector companies and governmental entities, making use of the SSE's green finance voluntary action plan. Global 'Green Finance' Index launch boosts sustainable investing drive March 14, 2018 The new Global Green Finance Index (GGFI), which was launched by Finance Watch and commercial think tank Z/Yen today in Brussels, ranks the world’s financial centers according to “perceptions of the quality” and depth of their green finance offerings. The index is based on a worldwide survey of finance professionals’ views on the quality and depth of green finance offerings across 108 international financial centers. SGX and New Zealand bourse to expand collaboration in Asia-Pacific markets March 7, 2018 The stock exchanges of Singapore and New Zealand signed an agreement to expand their cooperation in Asia-Pacific markets, including partnering on green finance and sustainability initiatives. Thailand May Unleash Online Shareholder Activism March 2, 2018 The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is pushing for rule changes so investors can take part and vote in shareholder meetings through the Internet. Regulations currently force owners or their proxies to be physically present. "This would increase participation of all shareholders, especially foreign investors, in firms’ policies and operations,” said Pataravasee Suvarnsorn, an executive vice president at the SET.  

ESG INDICES AND PRODUCTS

Ellevest expands platform by targeting women-centric ESG funds March 28, 2018 The Ellevest Impact Portfolios will include funds that invest in companies aiming to make a positive social impact by tackling three issues: women in leadership, sustainable, accountable companies, and thriving communities. As vehicles for the initiative, Ellevest has added three ETFs and two mutual funds. India Index Services & Products (IISL) launches two new indices March 27, 2018 IISL of India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) launched two indices to capture the environmental and social governance score of NIFTY 100 companies. The Nifty100 ESG Index and Nifty100 Enhanced ESG Index serve as both benchmarks and reference indices for passive investments in the form of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), index funds and structured products. Amundi closes largest targeted green bond fund March 19, 2018 The Amundi Planet Emerging Green One, the world’s largest targeted green bond fund, is expected to deploy 2 billion USD into emerging markets green bonds over its lifetime, as proceeds are reinvested during seven years. Lyxor enters ESG space with launch of trend leaders ETF March 16, 2018 Listed on Deutsche Börse, the Lyxor MSCI EM ESG Trend Leaders UCITS ETF provides investors with exposure to the performance of high ESG-rated companies from emerging markets. Fiji’s green bonds to be listed on London Stock Exchange next month March 14, 2018 Fiji’s green bond is focused on adaptation and climate resilience projects. In accordance with the cross listing, Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama will be opening the London Stock Exchange next month. Ringing the bell for Chinese domestic green bonds March 12, 2018 ADBC, a policy bank owned by China’s central government, listed a $450M green bond on the Luxembourg bourse. This is the first time a domestic Chinese green bond has been registered on an international exchange. There are more details in this article. VanEck launches new international sustainable equity ETF March 9, 2018 VanEck launched a new ETF on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the VanEck Vectors MSCI International Sustainable Equity ETF, which provides investors with access to a portfolio of international companies meeting sustainability criteria. B3 launches the 2018/2019 ISE process March 6, 2018 B3 launched its 2018-2019 Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE) questionnaire process. The last full review of the questionnaire was in 2015, and this review raises the bar for the ISE process leading to a significant strategic and structural improvement in the questionnaire through seven thematic axes.  

MANAGEMENT NEWS

WFE names Richard Metcalfe as head of regulatory affairs March 19, 2018 Metcalfe joins the WFE following a consulting project at BNY Mellon and as Director of Regulatory Affairs at the Investment Association, where he developed the trade body’s regulatory and compliance analysis, and spearheaded its international lobbying on markets, investor protection and systemic risk.        

About the SSE

The SSE initiative is a UN Partnership Programme organised by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, UNEP FI and the PRI. The SSE’s mission is to provide a global platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, companies (issuers), regulators, policymakers and relevant international organizations, can enhance performance on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues and encourage sustainable investment, including the financing of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The SSE seeks to achieve this mission through an integrated programme of conducting evidence-based policy analysis, facilitating a network and forum for multi-stakeholder consensus-building, and providing technical assistance and advisory services.