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Exchange in Focus: New Zealand fulfills commitment to guide issuers on ESG reporting

(11 December 2017) The New Zealand Stock Exchange (NZX Limited) published a guidance note for issuers on environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting, designed to accompany the updated Corporate Governance Code which includes voluntary reporting on ESG information. As a partner exchange of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, NZX committed to produce guidance on ESG reporting in early 2017.

“The NZX guidance note provides a valuable resource for our listed issuers to understand the benefits of ESG reporting, provide information about global frameworks, and support the effective communication of ESG opportunities and risks to investors and other stakeholders,” said James Miller, Chairman of NZX’s board. “It also includes information on green bonds, which is an important emerging element of green finance, and supports the exchange’s commitment to collaborate and grow environmental and energy markets in New Zealand.”

“NZX’s guidance will enhance the consistency and comparability of ESG information. This is welcome news for investors” said Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director for the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). “This guidance will also support the development of New Zealand’s green bond market.”

The New Zealand Exchange was also a member of the SSE’s Green Finance Advisory Group, contributing to the launch of the SSE’s guidance “How stock exchanges can grow green finance”.

When the SSE launched in 2015 its campaign encouraging all stock exchanges to provide guidance on ESG reporting, there were only 14 stock exchanges that provided such guidance. There are now 33 stock exchanges providing guidance, and 12 more committed to do so in the near-term. In 2015 the SSE published its “Model guidance on reporting ESG information to investors,” in order to help exchanges develop their own reporting guidance documents. This guidance can be used as a template that stock exchanges can adapt to fit their market.