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Exchange in Focus: Botswana Stock Exchange fulfils commitment to publish guidance on ESG reporting

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), a partner exchange of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative (SSE) since 2016, fulfilled its commitment to publishing a guidance for its listed companies on reporting environmental, social and governance (ESG) information to investors. The BSE made the commitment as part of the SSE’s campaign to close the gap of ESG disclosure guidance, and they are the 28th exchange to publish such guidance since the beginning of the campaign. In total there are now 42 stock exchanges with guidance on ESG reporting, with a further seven having made commitments to do so in the future.

Whilst ESG reporting remains voluntary for BSE issuers, the availability of guidance will make transparency on ESG issues easier to achieve and should increase the incidence of companies choosing to disclose such information.

Mr Thapelo Tsheole, CEO of the Botswana Stock Exchange said “we see this guidance as an opportunity for issuers to meet the ever-increasing demands by investors and regulatory bodies in relation to the consistency and depth of corporate reporting. This tool also enables issuers to help investors understand the drivers of, and the risks to, sustainable value creation. On an ongoing, we will monitor the reporting of issuers in relation to ESG so that we develop capacity where necessary and, most importantly, develop instruments that publicise and incentivise those that consistently promote ESG reporting as well undertake sustainability initiatives.

The guidance is structured around five guiding principles for ESG reporting; responsibility and oversight, clarity of purpose, relevance and materiality, accessibility, and credibility and responsiveness. The document also suggests 25 questions that ESG reports should be able to answer, as well as providing a reference list of global sustainability practices.

For a list of all the guidance documents assisting issuers to report on ESG published by stock exchanges, visit this page. For a list of markets that require ESG reporting as a mandatory listing rule, use the SSE’s new searchable database here.