IFC and SSE Host Corporate Transparency Webinar to Help Asia Pacific Firms Boost Resilience, Attract Capital
18 June 2020
“Investors need accurate and reliable information to make sound investment decisions, particularly in emerging markets where governance is at times weak and inherent risks are high,” said Vivek Pathak, IFC’s Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific. “It is therefore critical for companies to improve their disclosure and transparency. This will inspire confidence in investors, thereby encouraging them to consider adding those companies to their investment portfolios. Subsequently, this will help these countries build strong local capital markets and a thriving private sector.”Built on the “Beyond the Balance Sheet: IFC Disclosure and Transparency Toolkit,” the webinar provides practical step-by-step guidance to help emerging market companies report better to investors and other key stakeholders. The award-winning toolkit is a collaborative effort involving more than 100 representatives of development partners and key capital market players, such as investors, regulators, stock exchanges, asset managers, and index providers.
“The training materials used in this webinar will be especially helpful in elevating disclosure and transparency standards in emerging markets,” said Emilio B. Aquino, Chairperson of the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission. “Responsible corporate reporting not only allows companies to better mitigate risks and prepare for crises such as future pandemics, but also brings in additional value to the companies, making them more attractive to investors.”This is the first time IFC is introducing this toolkit in Asia Pacific. The aim is to help companies develop comprehensive integrated annual reports that incorporate relevant environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information increasingly sought by investors. Banks can also use this toolkit to support their valuation and credit analyses, while regulators and standard setters can use it for designing ESG disclosure, and transparency codes and guidelines.
“The number of markets with formal guidance on ESG disclosure has more than tripled in the last five years to the point where today more than half the stock markets in the world have explicit expectations that companies produce high-quality ESG disclosure,” said Anthony Miller, Coordinator of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative. “IFC’s technical assistance on ESG disclosure is an important contribution toward helping firms meet market expectations of the 21st century.”The topic has attracted widespread interest among participants from Asia to Africa, Europe, and the Americas. In Asia Pacific, regulators and business leaders from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong SAR, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam took part in the event. Since 2018, IFC — in partnership with SSE — has been spearheading efforts to enhance ESG disclosure and reporting globally. Using IFC’s toolkit and SSE’s guidance, many countries, including Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Peru, the Philippines, and Rwanda, have already launched national ESG reporting guidelines. Companies around the world are also using the tools to prepare annual reports.
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.