July News Highlights

29 July 2017

This month includes news from Nasdaq, Santiago Exchange, Egyptian Exchange, Borsa Italiana, Singapore Exchange, Johannesburg Exchange, SET, LSE 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  


UNCTAD presents SSE at UN Partnership Exchange July 17, 2017 The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was invited to present the work of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative at the UN headquarters at a high-level political forum highlighting UN Partnerships with the private sector. “The SSE is a partnership between UN entities, and between the UN and the private sector,” said UNCTAD New York Chief Chantal Line Carpentier. “Together, these UN entities have partnered with capital market leaders to harness the influence of stock exchanges worldwide through specific, measurable, impact oriented work streams to support the sustainable development goals.” Inaugural Italian Sustainability Day July 10, 2017 More than 300 participants registered for Borsa Italiana’s inaugural Italian Sustainability Day. Opened by the CEO of Borsa Italiana, the gathering fostered dialogue between companies and investors on material environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. The day’s events featured one-to-one meetings between issuers and investors organized by the exchange to give market participants the opportunity to learn more about ESG risks and opportunities at the company level. 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. To request an invitation, contact Melanie Paty. EVENT: United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Green Finance Dialogue November 16, 2017 – Bonn, Germany The Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative is convening a high-level dialogue on Green Finance alongside the 23rd United Nations climate summit (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. This 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. Following a networking lunch, 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.  


ESG Integration Summit: Framework for creating a diverse and dynamic marketplace August 29, 2017 – Stockholm, Sweden Engage with institutional investors, public company executives, and board directors on how to integrate the Nasdaq ESG guidance and framework for disclosure of company practice. UNEP FI Regional Roundtables on Sustainable Finance September-December 2017 – Argentina, USA, Switzerland, South Africa, 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.  


ESG reporting — The ‘analytical fuel’ for better performance August 3, 2017 In an interview, Nasdaq Global Head of Sustainability Evan Harvey discusses how stock exchanges can and are supporting sustainability and ESG disclosure in their markets. “Some stock exchanges — in Johannesburg and Brazil, most notably — have long understood the market value of ESG performance data, and actually required their listed companies to publicly report it. But the rise of exchange interest in ESG reporting en masse really coincides with the rise in mainstream investor interest in the same topic” said Harvey. Integrated reporting: The South African experience July 28, 2017 Few countries can claim that integrated reporting (IR) is common among domestic companies. An exception is South Africa, with many listed and public organizations having produced integrated reports for over six years. As the principles of King III were included in the Listings Requirements of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), listed companies were required to prepare an integrated report or explain why they were not doing so. An insider explains why wall street’s big money focus on sustainability is here to stay July 27, 2017 Mutual fund and ETF complexes like BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard, Fidelity and others, which control trillions of dollars in stock holdings, have become increasingly intent on holding public company boards of directors and management teams accountable to higher environmental, social and governance standards. ESG reports and ratings: What they are, why they matter July 27, 2017 Most international and domestic public (and many private) companies are being evaluated and rated on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance by various third party providers of reports and ratings. Institutional investors, asset managers, financial institutions and other stakeholders are increasingly relying on these reports and ratings to assess and measure company ESG performance over time and as compared to peers. This assessment and measurement often forms the basis of informal and shareholder proposal-related investor engagement with companies on ESG matters. Details of NZ’s first Green Bond revealed July 27, 2017 “This issuance demonstrates the continued and expanding role of capital markets in mobilising international savings to help close the climate finance gap,” said IFC director for treasury market operations Monish Mahurkar. Santiago Exchange launches its first integrated annual report July 26, 2017 “Sustainability is one of the newest and greatest challenges imposed by today’s market. It involves properly integrating social, environmental and corporate governance aspects into each company or intuition’s management model. Given our full commitment to meeting this challenge, we decided to publish our first Integrated Report this year. In addition to describing our performance over the course of last year, this report addresses key aspects of our development in social, environmental and governance matters,” reads the Letter from the Chairman at the beginning of the report. ESG reporting shows increased significance for REITs July 26, 2017 When it comes to sustainability, REITs have made significant strides over the years in terms of environmental practices. They’re reducing energy and water use, lowering carbon footprints and improving waste management. New UN Secretary General to capital markets: Get on board with sustainable development July 20, 2017 “We need to make sure that the international financial institutions are able to leverage resources and to multiply their capacity to fund the implementation of the SDGs,” Guterres said elsewhere during the high-level political forum. He also said it is critical “we help countries to be able to access global markets, financial markets, and to be able to attract private investment without which it would be absolutely impossible to achieve these goals.” The Egyptian Exchange and AUC’s School of Business collaborate to improve the representation of women on corporate boards July 18, 2017 “This MOU is yet another key milestone that confirms EGX pioneering efforts in sustainability, with a special focus on promoting gender equality among various capital market participants in Egypt”, declared Dr. Mohamed Omran, Chairman of EGX. He added: “EGX was one of four pioneer exchanges that joined the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative (SSE) in 2009. How companies can lead fight against $150 billion human trafficking trade July 18, 2017 Dr. Bob Eccles gives readers a look into the extensive, yet often overlooked, issue of human trafficking, and he explains the role that the topic of materiality has in perpetuating these abuses as well as the opportunities that are available to curb them. In particular, Dr. Eccles highlights the importance of exchanges and regulators in guiding corporate disclosure. Passive managers are increasingly interested in ESG July 24, 2017 Passive managers are no longer treating stewardship responsibilities as a ‘box-ticking’ exercise, but are actively looking to influence investee companies and help improve environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards across the board. They vote and engage directly with firms on prominent issues such as executive pay, board diversity and climate change. ‘Smart’ money moving to ‘green’ financing, reveals new UN report July 14, 2017 In its new report on green finance, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) has noted that the G20 and other countries have taken huge strides over the last year towards mobilizing public resources and private capital needed to make sustainable development and climate action a reality. “The world has committed to creating a better future for people and planet. But we will not be able to achieve [this] vision without the global financial system using its capital to fuel the transformation,” said the Executive Director of UNEP, Erik Solheim, in a news release announcing the findings. FTSE Russell’s CEO Says ESG is becoming mainstream July 14, 2017 Mark Makepeace, chief executive officer at FTSE Russell, discusses the movement into ESG Assets, the filtering process for companies to be included in ESG baskets and dual-class shares. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: Asia”- see the video here. The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance released their interim report July 13, 2017 The interim report identifies two imperatives for Europe’s financial system. The first is to strengthen financial stability and asset pricing, by improving the assessment and management of long-term material risks and intangible factors of value creation, including those related to ESG issues. The second is to improve the contribution of the financial sector to sustainable and inclusive growth, notably by financing long-term needs such as innovation and infrastructure, and accelerating the shift to a low carbon and resource-efficient economy. Click here to read the full report. Blog – Mandatory climate change disclosure in the G20: where are we at? July 3, 2017 CDSB’s Technical Manager, Nadine Robinson, explores the state of mandatory climate-related reporting in G20 countries following the release of the final TCFD recommendations report. Stock Exchange of Thailand named “best sustainable securities exchange Southeast Asia emerging markets 2017” June 29, 2017 The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) affirms its leading role in sustainable development in the region with the “Best Sustainable Securities Exchange Southeast Asia Emerging Markets 2017” award by the London-based magazine Capital Finance International (CFI.co). SET has launched initiatives to boost financial literacy, savings and investment planning among investors, students and general public; undertaking of environmental, social and governance or ESG practices among listed companies; as well as various projects on community and social development towards sustainability.  


UK and Brazil agree on green finance and capital market support July 31, 2017 In a joint statement by UK and Brazil the countries agreed to work together on green finance, and recognized the role of capital markets in mobilizing green finance. The statement comes out of meetings held in Brasilia, Brazil where a business delegation included the London Stock Exchange. SGX lists the world’s first multi-country/multi-sector, gender-lens investing instrument July 7, 2017 A new bond of its kind, designed to foster social sustainability, the “women’s livelihood bond” is listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX). The US$8 million (S$11 million) bond offers loans to social enterprises and microfinance institutions that, in turn, aim to help more than 385,000 women in Cambodia, the Philippines and Vietnam. Singapore-based firm Impact Investment Exchange (IIX), which is dedicated to impact investing, worked with DBS on the project. Swiss Re shifts entire $130bn portfolio to ethical indices July 6, 2017 Swiss Re, one of Europe’s biggest insurers, is to move its entire $130bn investment portfolio to new, ethically-based benchmark indices. World’s largest pension fund selects 3 ESG indices for $9 billion investments July 5, 2017 Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the world’s largest pension fund, announced that it will shift 3% of its passive domestic equity investments (roughly $8.8 billion) into environmental, social, and governance (ESG) indices. The first of the $1.2 trillion fund’s picks include MSCI’s “Empowering Women” WIN index, in favor of its gender equality agenda. The index focuses on companies that “encourage more women to enter or return to the workforce,” ranking companies according to the gender balance of staff from their new hires to their executive board.  


Arabesque announces appointment of Georg Kell as new chairman July 7, 2017 Former Executive Director of the UN Global Compact succeeds professor Robert G. Eccles.  

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.