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Exchange in Focus: JSE launches new Sustainability and Climate Change Disclosure Guidance

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has recently launched its new Sustainability Disclosure Guidance, along with a new Climate Change Disclosure Guidance specifically tailored to the South African context. Based in part on SSE model guidance, both documents were released for public comment until 28 February 2022. 

During the launch presentation, Leila Fourie, CEO of JSE said: “In response to the rapidly evolving landscape of sustainability standards and frameworks, this guidance provides JSE-listed issuers with guidelines specifically tailored to the South African context, while being fully cognisant of global best practice. It is intended that this disclosure guidance will serve as an umbrella for sub-topic guidance as needed, with the first such guidance on climate disclosure to be released at the same time.”

The guidance documents seek to:

- Help issuers to navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of sustainability reporting

- Link sustainability disclosures to the fundamental drivers of value creation

- Outline the business case for disclosing sustainability data

- Stimulate interest in the innovation opportunities in sustainability challenges

- Support the convergence of global reporting standards

- Assist in contributing to the achievement of national and international sustainable development commitments and priorities, such as the UN SDGs (United Nation Sustainable Development Goals)

Who is this Guidance for?

While intended primarily to assist JSE-listed companies, these guidance documents will also be of value to institutional investors and the different entities that they invest in (including non-listed companies and debt issuers), as well as a range of stakeholder groups interested in sustainability/ESG disclosure and performance. 

The JSE Sustainability Disclosure Guidance is aligned with the most influential global initiatives on sustainability and climate change disclosure – including the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, and the IIRC’s International <IR> Framework – as well as an extensive range of other frameworks and standards, and the Sustainability/ESG guidance of various peer exchanges. This Guidance is not intended to replace any of these global initiatives but rather seeks to help companies navigate the landscape of reporting standards, and to provide explicitly for the South African context.

The Climate Change Disclosure Guidance aims to clarify current global best practices in climate-related disclosure and provides a step-by-step guide to get issuers started on this journey. This guidance can be a starting point for report preparers that wish to integrate climate-related information for the first time, while also providing additional resources that can help deepen the journey into climate-related disclosure for those that are more advanced. 

For more information or to submit your commentary here or link to [email protected]

(the comment period closes on 28 Feb 2022)

UN SSE actively support

To assist stock exchanges to support their market participants, the SSE developed the Model Guidance on Climate Disclosure and the Action Plan to Make Markets Climate Resilient: How stock exchanges can integrate the TCFD recommendations.  

The UN SSE also launched a 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. 

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.