March News Highlights

7 April 2021

This month includes news from BME, LSEG, HKEX, NSE, ZSE 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. SSE INITIATIVE NEWS & EVENTS  SSE welcomes Zagreb Stock Exchange 24 March 2021 The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) has solidified its commitment to transparency and sustainability by becoming a member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative. The SSE’s newest member joins a network of 101 stock exchanges around the world that are committed to promoting sustainable development. New SSE Publication: The State Of Gender Equality In G20 Markets 08 March 2021 The UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative launched a new ranking of the stock exchanges of the G20 by the gender balance of their issuers boards. The research analyses the gender equality on the boards of the top 100 issuers by market capitalisation on 22 major G20 stock exchanges. It also includes an overview of the number of female chairs and CEOs that lead these companies. 2021 Ring the Bell for Gender Equality 08 March 2021 In celebration of International Women's Day, the SSE initiative worked alongside the UN Global Compact, UN Women, International Finance Corporation: IFC, World Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs (the “Global Partners”) for the 7th consecutive year of the “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality ”. The SSE is thrilled to congratulate all stock exchanges around the world that hosted a bell-ringing ceremony to raise awareness for gender equality. Check the news, images, and videos about the 2021 Ring the Bell for Gender Equality. SSE Workshop Romania: Enhancing Climate-Related and Environmental Disclosure 10 March 2021 The Bucharest Stock Exchange, Climate Disclosure Standards Board and the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative joined for a workshop on how companies can better provide decision-useful information on climate and environmental aspects to the market. SSE Q1 2021 Quarterly Webinar: Gender Equality 11 March 2021 The Q1 2021 webinar focused on the presentation of preliminary findings of new UN SSE research ranking stock exchanges by the gender balance of their issuers’ boards. Presentations by stock exchanges, financial service providers, and specialized organizations on their efforts to promote gender equality in companies. SSE Regional Webinar Africa: Climate Awareness Education for Asset Owners and Asset Managers 17 March 2021 This webinar presented an opportunity for African exchanges to get an overview of global and regional trends in ESG integration – including the need for capacity development amongst investors. The principal focus of the session was on unpacking the PRI’s recently launched African Asset Owner Climate Awareness Course, including reviews of the material and its relevance for African investors. STOCK EXCHANGE NEWS Hong Kong Exchange: Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2020 February 2021 HKEX announced the publication of its 2020 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Throughout 2020, HKEX demonstrated its resilience, providing fully functioning, well-regulated markets, deftly adapting to change, innovating and reinforcing its relevance into sharpening investors’ and companies’ focus on long-term sustainability, and elevating the importance of building ESG risk management into business strategies. BME’s Consolidated Non-Financial Information Statement 2020 March 2021 The Report stands out in relation to good governance, transparency, commitment to the environment and promotion of the financial culture. It promotes a diverse and respectful work environment, in which it guarantees equal opportunities regardless of gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality or level of ability. London Stock Exchange: Preparing your ESG strategy for 2021 04 March 2021 What trends mean for your ESG strategy moving forward, the benefits of having a sound ESG strategy in place and what you can do to best position yourself to react to future developments in the ESG mandatory framework. Nigerian Stock Exchange to include women on board of new entities 09 March 2021 The Nigerian Stock Exchange has vowed to prioritise the inclusion of women on the board positions of its demutualised entities. The exchange is seeking to encourage women in the workplace with initiatives such as paid maternity leave, paternity leave and provision of a crèche in their premises for nursing mothers. Euronext launches new CAC 40® ESG Index 25 March 2021 Euronext announced the launch of the CAC 40® ESG index, designed to identify the 40 companies within the CAC® Large 60 Index that demonstrate the best ESG practices. Responding to the growing demand for sustainable investment tools from investors and from the market, the CAC 40® ESG is Euronext’s first national ESG index and is derived from the CAC 40® index family. Johannesburg Stock Exchange lists first Social Bonds on its Sustainability Segment 29 March 2021 The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) welcomes the first listed Social Bonds in South Africa to its Sustainability Segment. The four social bonds valued at R609 million ($42 million) are listed by TUHF Limited (“TUHF”) in partnership with Standard Bank through a securitisation vehicle, Urban Ubomi 1 (RF) Limited. Bulgarian Stock Exchange launches the Green Finance and Energy Centre 31 March 2021 The Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) and the Independent Bulgarian Energy Exchange (IBEX) launched the first and only think tank for sustainable finance and energy in Bulgaria, the Green Finance and Energy Centre. The new Green Centre will concentrate the efforts of multiple stakeholders towards the sustainable development transformation of the national economy and energy sector. REGULATOR AND STANDARD SETTER NEWS CDSB and WBA issue recommendations to bring policy coherence to the EU sustainable finance agenda 03 March 2021 CDSB and the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) issued recommendations based on discussion in a multi-stakeholder roundtable hosted by the two organisations to strengthen policy coherence between the different legislations and requirements of the EU sustainable finance agenda. Nigeria: SEC, NSE seal pact with AfDB to promote Green Bond market development 08 March 2021 The Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria and African Development Bank Group have signed an agreement on the Nigeria risk based supervision framework implementation and capacity building project. Egypt: FRA Launches the Regional Center for Sustainable Finance 15 March 2021 Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) has announced the launching of a new think-tank and training center, “the Regional Center for Sustainable Finance (RCSF)”. The RCSF has been established in recognition of the urgency to bridge the finance gap to fulfill the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. CFA Institute Launches Global Certificate in ESG Investing 17 March 2021 The CFA Institute has announced that it will market a certificate in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, created by the CFA Society of the United Kingdom, in financial hubs across the globe. IFRS Foundation announces new group to develop sustainability reporting standards 22 March 2021 The Trustees of the IFRS Foundation have announced a new working group to accelerate convergence in global sustainability reporting standards and to look into a potential international sustainability reporting standards board. US SEC Launches New Webpage on ESG, Climate Change Issues 23 March 2021 The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a new page on its website that brings together the latest agency initiatives on environmental, social and governance issues, including climate change. SASB Publishes Spanish Translations of 77 Industry Standards 23 March 2021 The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) announced that Spanish translations are now available for its 77 industry Standards, with French, German, and Japanese translations forthcoming in the coming months. Fed Forming Committee to Prepare for Climate Change Dangers 23 March 2021 The United States Federal Reserve plans to make climate change a major part of its Wall Street oversight by creating a new committee that will identify and respond to dangers a warming planet poses to the financial system. US SEC Takes Significant Step Towards Exercising ESG and Climate Disclosure Powers 29 March 2021 The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has taken a major step towards exercising its significant power to require companies to disclose greater information relating to ESG and climate impacts. The SEC announced that it has formed a Task Force focusing on climate and ESG disclosure issues. ESG INDICES AND PRODUCTS World Bank bond is a new chapter in non-profit funding 09 March 2021 A $100 million World Bank bond arranged in early March by Citi crowded in funding from wealthy individuals as well as institutions for the first time. When it comes to impact investing, this is just the start. European Union’s $100 Billion Social Debt Orders Show Immunity to Bond Rout 09 March 2021 The European Union’s latest offering of social bonds proved immune to the sudden dropoff in demand that has gripped global debt markets. The bloc pulled in over 86 billion euros ($102 billion) of orders for a 9 billion-euro sale of 15-year debt via banks to help fund a regional jobs program. UBS Asset Management launches first UCITS ETF to apply strict sustainability criteria to S&P 500 equity universe 12 March 2021 UBS Asset Management has launched the world’s first ETF to apply strict ESG criteria to the S&P 500 equity universe. The UBS ETF S&P 500 ESG Elite UCITS ETF is intended for investors who require US large cap exposure with a strong sustainability profile. IDB Invest Issues First Gender Bond to Finance Projects Supporting Women in Latin America & the Caribbean 23 March 2021 IDB Invest, the private sector institution of the IDB Group, issued a gender social bond worth 2,500 million Mexican pesos ($122 million) with a three-year maturity in Mexico. Fitch Ratings Launches Corporates Discovery Tool to Assess ESG Materiality 24 March 2021 Fitch Ratings' new ESG Sector Discovery Tool for Corporates provides a top-down view of the credit relevance and materiality of ESG issues across all corporate sectors. It shows the distribution of Fitch's ESG Relevance Scores for 1,547 entities globally with the ability to see changes in ESG issues between 4Q19 and 4Q20. HSBC launches sustainability-linked derivative 24 March 2021 HSBC Korea has completed the trade of Asia’s first sustainability-linked derivative product, a two-year, structured US$100 million ESG-linked cross-currency swap for Hana Financial Investment. United Kingdom to launch first green savings bond to boost climate credentials 28 February 2021 The UK will launch its first sovereign green savings bonds, offering retail investors the chance to buy into projects dedicated to greening the economy, such as renewable energy schemes, in its budget. RESEARCH WEF: Women and sustainable finance - fuel for the engine of COVID recovery 08 March 2021 The unprecedented social and economic changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have put an increased burden on women. To close these gaps, businesses are building innovative pathways to COVID resilience for underserved women. UNICEF “Tool for Investors on integrating children’s rights in ESG assessments” The Tool for Investors on integrating Children’s Rights into ESG analysis aims to provide actors within the investor ecosystem with specific guidance on analysing companies within their portfolios against children’s rights. The launch event (via webinar) has been scheduled for Wednesday 14 April, from 3.00-4.00 pm CET/9.00-10.00 am ET. The event will be public and open registration. Participants can register here.  

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.