August News Highlights

29 August 2017

This month includes news from LuxSE, Swiss SIX, Nasdaq; AP Fonden 7, AP4, GRI, Morningstar, UN Environment and more. Monthly news highlights are compiled by the SSE to give an overview of the capital markets sustainability news from that month. You can subscribe to our monthly news highlights by clicking here  


Center for Corporate Reporting Article on the SSE Initiative: Exchanges with Impact August 29, 2017 A stock exchange is often seen as only a market for trading stocks – a virtual point where buyer meets seller – but its role in ensuring the proper functioning of the market where it operates involves much more than providing the platform where stocks are bought and sold. As the sustainability challenges facing capital markets and the corporate sector evolve, stock exchanges are adapting, and guiding both issuers and investors in this process by facilitating the information flow between them. Nasdaq Launches Pilot Program on ESG Reporting August 29, 2017 Following the launch of its environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting guidance as part of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative’s ESG reporting guidance campaign, Nasdaq has now announced a pilot program on ESG reporting for its Nordic and Baltic markets. The program was announced at the stock exchange’s ESG Integration Summit held on 28 August 2017 in Stockholm, Sweden. EVENT: United Nations SSE Technical Workshop September 27, 2017 – Berlin, Germany This SSE roundtable event will bring together exchanges, investors, regulators and companies from around the world for discussion on closing the ESG data gap and financing the Sustainable Development Goals. This event takes place alongside PRI in Person in Berlin, Germany on 27 September. Following the success of the technical workshop in Singapore in 2016, this roundtable event takes the form of a candid, solutions-oriented conversation between technical experts that work in their day-to-day capacity on the issues addressed. EVENT: United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Green Finance Dialogue November 16, 2017 – Bonn, Germany The Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative is convening a high-level dialogue on Green Finance alongside the 23rd United Nations climate change conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany. Bringing together ministers of finance, chief capital market regulators and CEOs of stock exchanges, investors and issuers, this leadership event will help chart the path forward for stock exchanges and their contribution to climate goals. The full day event will feature a high-level leadership forum in the morning where CEOs and government officials will discuss the challenges and opportunities of green finance. The afternoon will feature four technical workshops where international experts will be on hand to share the latest state of the art in green finance. Click here for more details.  


WFE General Assembly & Annual Meeting September 6-8, 2017, Bangkok, Thailand The General Assembly is the ultimate decision-making body of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), responsible for approving policies, including admission and suspension of membership, annual budgets, and election of WFE officers. CEOs and other representatives of member exchanges worldwide attend the annual General Assembly. The Annual Meeting is an invitation-only event, where leaders of global exchanges, regulatory authorities, industry experts from academia and the media gather together for in-depth discussion on major issues surrounding the exchange industry. PRI in Person September 25-27, 2017 – Berlin, Germany PRI in Person is the leading global conference on responsible investment, which offers 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. UNEP FI Regional Roundtables on Sustainable Finance September-December 2017 – Argentina, USA, Switzerland, South Africa and Japan UNEP FI is establishing Regional Roundtables to provide an opportunity for members and actors in the sustainable finance community to come together locally to discuss the latest trends and innovations, and share good practice. Building on over two decades of successful Global Roundtables, these regional events are designed to create rich opportunities for UNEP FI members to connect with one another and to raise awareness of sustainable finance work in progress across banking, investment, and insurance. The Roudtable events will take place in Buenos Aires 5-6 September, New York 18-20 September, Geneva 16-18 October, Johannesburg 27-29 November and Tokyo 11-12 December.  


GRI Standards Public Consultation Feedback due by October 9, 2017 A 60-day public comment period is now open to review proposed changes to GRI 303: Water and GRI 403: Occupational Health and Safety. These GRI Standards – part of the first global standards for sustainability reporting – have been updated through a formal due process, overseen by the GSSB, GRI’s independent standard-setting body. Comments are due by October 9, 2017.  


The Sustainable Exchange-Traded Universe Continues to Expand August 31, 2017 Jon Hale, head of sustainability research for Morningstar, gives an overview of the universe of sustainable ETFs and his expectations for future growth in this area. Swiss SIX Opts in Sustainability with Partial Revision of Corporate Governance Directive  August 29, 2017 Given that a large number of stock exchanges have joined together worldwide on the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, SIX, which is not a member of the SSE, announced on June 2, 2017 that it will do a partial revision of RLCG (Corporate Governance Directive), effective July 1, 2017. Opting in will enable issuers publishing a sustainability report according to an international standard or within a framework such as UNCG to commit themselves to preparing a sustainability report that basically has a “seal of approval”. Improve Your Access to Capital – Attract Investors by Reporting ESG Data  August 23, 2017 In an Interview, Nasdaq Nordic President Lauri Rosendahl gives insight on the importance of ESG reporting, establishing a guideline for reporting and how it builds up company value. LuxSE: Exchanges Play a Crucial Role in Developing the Sustainable Finance Market August 22, 2017 Robert Scharfe, CEO of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange, speaks to Bonds & Loans about the evolution of green financing, background on the exchange’s plan to launch a green bond index with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange, as well as his thoughts on major challenges from a regulatory perspective when dealing with green bonds. Companies are Made of People: The Importance of Human Capital Management August 18, 2017 Chief Executive of GRI, Tim Mohin, writes about reporting on human capital, noting that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) currently only requires disclosure of the number of employees or headcount, without further detail. Executive Perspective: The Secret Life of Green Finance August 15, 2017 Simon Zadek, Co-Director of the UN Environment’s Inquiry writes in a personal capacity about the logic, journey and impact of green finance worldwide. Gender and ESG – ‘More Women’ Means ‘More Money’ August 9, 2017 In an interview, Richard Gröttheim, Chief Executive Officer at AP Fonden 7 and Nicklas Ekvall, CEO of AP4, discuss ESG integration, highlighting the important role the financial sector plays in creating more value for investors.


Largest Green Bond Fund for Emerging Markets Nearing $2 Billion August 24, 2017 The World Bank’s International Finance Corp. and European asset manager Amundi SA are targeting year-end 2017 to raise $2 billion for what is expected to be the world’s largest green bond fund dedicated to emerging markets. The fund aims to marry the goals of investors seeking more high yield opportunities and development banks seeking to expand the green economy in emerging markets. Initially, only 10 to 12 percent of capital in the Amundi-IFC fund will be invested in green bonds, said Fred Samama, deputy global head of institutional and sovereign clients at Amundi, in an interview. Lenders such as the World Bank are eager to see the market for environmentally-friendly securities grow faster to help reach global climate goals. The entire green bond market is projected to surge more than 30 percent this year

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.