Carbon emissions in public markets in G20 countries

12 November 2021

The UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative launches today a new Policy Brief on Carbon emissions in public markets. The research analyzed carbon emissions in public markets of over 2,000 companies on 22 stock exchanges in G20 countries.  Key findings include:
  • The top 100 issuers on the Shenzhen exchange in China and the Nasdaq exchange in the United States have the lowest levels of Scope 1 emissions.
  • Over half of Scope 1 emissions from the top 100 issuers in the G20 are emitted by companies listed on just 5 exchanges.
  • Collectively, the 2,199 largest issuers in the G20 produce 5,225 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent direct Scope 1 emissions.
  • There are enormous differences between exchanges on the Scope 1 emissions of their top 100 issuers.
  • All exchanges will have to work with issuers to support the net zero transition. The starting point is understanding the market baseline.


Stock Exchanges and Climate Action 

Stock exchanges can play an important role in promoting emissions reductions in their markets. This policy brief provides a unique analysis by examining the Scope 1 carbon emissions of the top 100 companies by market capitalization listed on each of the G20’s major stock exchanges. Focusing on companies that are listed on exchanges (rather than a country level view that is more traditionally presented) allows exchanges to understand the state of carbon emissions associated with their largest issuers.



COP 26 

The COP26 summit brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. UN SSE held two events to discuss the key trends shaping this work being undertaken by stock exchanges, building on the SSE’s Model Guidance on Climate Disclosure and Action Plan to Make Markets Climate Resilient, providing real-world examples of how stock exchanges are tackling these important issues.  Know more about UN SSE COP 26: CEO Roundtable: Race to Zero – How stock exchanges can tackle the climate crisis and UN SSE COP 26: Role of exchanges in promoting innovative climate solutions: financing, standards, and education  

UN SSE actively supports exchanges 

To assist stock exchanges to support all capital market participants through these new advancements and to ensure concurrency both within their market and globally, the SSE has convened a Climate Advisory Group and together developed  the SSE’s Model Guidance on Climate Disclosure and the Action Plan to Make Markets Climate Resilient: How stock exchanges can integrate the TCFD recommendations.   Regardless of their unique market circumstances domestically, all stock exchanges are encouraged to act now to prepare for changing trends in investment strategies, policy and regulation and legal and reputational risks. The key trends shaping this work are discussed in greater detail in the SSE’s Model Guidance on Climate Disclosure. SSE also works with derivative exchanges and published recently How Derivatives Exchanges can Promote Sustainable Development – An Action Menu. This report provides an overview of the role of derivatives markets generally, presents some of the things derivatives exchanges are already doing in relation to sustainability, and highlights ways in which these exchanges can support the transition to more sustainable development pathways. For further information on what net zero commitments mean for exchanges, download the new SSE Policy Brief on the Net Zero Movement. If your exchange would like to join this new net zero alliance, please contact the SSE secretariat ( and we’ll guide you through the process. The full text for the Commitment to the Net Zero Financial Services Providers Alliance can be found here, including the supplemental text that provides interpretative guidance.  

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.