October News Highlights
31 October 2017
SSE INITIATIVE NEWS & EVENTSEVENT: United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Green Finance Dialogue November 16, 2017 – 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 art in green finance.
WEBINARS AND EVENTSWEBINAR: The Sustainable Development Goals: A new tool for putting value on values? November 8, 2017 Responsible Investor and Thomson Reuters are hosting a webinar on the SDGs. Some of the world’s leading investors have started to allocate capital to the SDGs, recognizing a new way to identify and unlock value. New products such as funds and indices themed around the SDGs are in the pipeline or in development. Learn more and register here. WEBINAR: Converging on climate risk: SASB, CDSB and TCFD November 20, 2017 Join this webinar to understand how SASB and CDSB are integrating the Task Force recommendations into their work and how companies can disclose climate-related financial information by using the CDSB Framework and the SASB standards. The webinar will also explore the topics outlined in the joint paper that was released at Climate Week. UNEP FI Regional Roundtables on Sustainable Finance November – December 2017 | Europe, Africa and Middle East, Asia Pacific The year 2017 marks 25 years since the inception of United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and to celebrate, UNEP FI is bringing the sustainable finance community together at a series of Regional Roundtables. The agenda-setting events provide an opportunity for leaders from across the financial sector, civil society, academia, government, and the United Nations to discuss the latest trends and innovations in the region, as well as share good practice. After two successful Roundtables in Buenos Aires, New York, and Geneva there is still time to participate in the two upcoming Roundtables in Johannesburg (27 – 29 November) and Tokyo (11 – 12 December). For more information, visit the UNEP FI website.
CONSULTATIONSBest practice principles for shareholder voting research and analysis Feedback due by December 15, 2017 The purpose of this consultation is to gather evidence from market participants on the implementation of the ‘Best Practice Principles for Shareholder Voting Research and Analysis’ to date and to hear views on how the Principles should be developed. This consultation is open to all with an interest, but investors, companies and other providers of voting research with direct experience in this space are especially encouraged to submit comments. Public comment period now open for SASB’s exposure draft standards Feedback due by December 31, 2017 The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) published its Exposure Draft Standards and has opened a 90-day public comment period – the last before codification of its standards. The Exposure Draft Standards for 79 industries in 11 major sectors will be open for feedback from corporate professionals, market participants, and public interest and intermediary stakeholders until December 31, 2017.
GENERAL NEWSInterview with Carbon Tracker Founder Mark Campanale on stranded assets and capital markets October 31, 2017 “In 2027, I’d hope that capital markets function better to support particularly social enterprises in lesser developed countries; and that how capital markets function respects ecological limits through better transparency and accountability,” Campanale said. “We need to find ways of incorporating ecological boundaries into international accounting standards; into the listing rules of companies on stock exchanges, or how companies report through better Integrated Reporting”. SET prioritizing corporate governance and SME growth October 31, 2017 In an interview for the World Federation of Exchange’s monthly insight, President of The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) said that the exchange has a three-part strategy, including corporate governance promotion, improved fundraising channels for SMEs and encouraging long-term savings. “SET is the first exchange in ASEAN to join the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative as we believe that stock exchanges have a central role to play as sustainability champions,” the President of the exchange said. Belarusian Currency and Stock Exchange announces integration of sustainability factors into listing rules October 30, 2017 The Belarusian exchange announced that its new listing rules, to take force November 1, have introduced a questionnaire for issuers of securities on the social and environmental aspects of the organization’s activities and corporate governance issues into Appendix 2 of the Rules. S&P Dow Jones Indices debuts carbon metrics on indices October 30, 2017 S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) is now publishing carbon metrics on the majority of its equity indices, including the S&P Global 1200, S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and environmentally-focused indices including S&P Global 1200 Carbon Efficient Index Family and S&P Global 1200 Fossil Fuel Free Index Family. Stock exchanges – an engine for sustainable development October 25, 2017 The modern stock exchange is a hybrid institution: listing venue, market steward, investment and regulatory liaison, product and service creator, and so on. “The world’s stock exchanges are also useful and scalable engagement platforms… it is clear why the United Nations believes that exchanges might be excellent drivers for progress on Sustainable Development Goal 17,” writes Evan Harvey, Global Head of Sustainability at Nasdaq. America’s newest stock exchange just got the green light October 25, 2017 The Securities and Exchange Commission amended Rule 146, the final regulatory hurdle for IEX, a new stock exchange based in the United States, to start listing companies on its exchange. The exchange, which bills itself as the “only exchange to provide free market data,” plans to list its first company in early 2018. Qatar Stock Exchange promotes sustainability & ESG disclosure October 25, 2017 The Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) held a senior level sustainability engagement session with the listed companies with the aim to promote the business case for ESG and sustainability, outline QSE’s sustainability action plan to attract responsible investors, provide an overview of global investor assessment approaches to ESG, and serve as the soft launch for the QSE Sustainability and ESG Dashboard. Euronext modernizes listing offer for start-ups and SMEs October 24, 2017 Today, SMEs and mid-sized companies account for 76% of listed companies on Euronext, and they raise almost 10 billion Euros on their four markets, according to the exchange. The Mexican banking sector’s sustainable shift October 19, 2017 The landmark introduction of the Mexican Stock Exchange’s sustainability benchmark IPC Sustentable in 2011 has helped Mexico to formally recognize corporate ESG leaders. Since IPC Sustentable came into play, several public companies in Mexico have emerged as leaders in their efforts to incorporate ESG practices in their day-to-day operations, as well as their long term strategies. How Thailand built Southeast Asia’s most sustainable stock exchange October 17, 2017 Sustainability reporting is not mandatory in Thailand – and yet Thai firms outnumber their Asean peers in the latest Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. Kesara Manchusree, head of the Thai stock exchange, tells Eco-Business how she’s pushing for sustainability to take root in one of the region’s most competitive capital markets. Reporting Matters study reveals measurable improvement in sustainability reporting among top global companies October 16, 2017 Spanning 157 leading companies from more than 20 sectors and 35 countries, this year’s research from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) points to positive progress in corporate reporting and disclosure as well as a continued movement towards digital reporting. This report helps companies meet the challenge by providing case studies of good practices, as well as general trends and benchmarks over the past five years. TMX Group and Shenzhen Stock Exchange sign memorandum of understanding October 16, 2017 MX Group Limited (TMX Group) and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange (SZSE) announced the execution of a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding ushering in the exploration of opportunities for economic cooperation. There will be a focus on the technology and innovation sectors, areas that are experiencing rapid growth in both Canada and China. SET announces 65 listed companies on Thailand Sustainability Investment 2017 October 16, 2017 The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) announced the 65 companies on the 2017 Thailand Sustainability Investment, a list of companies with outstanding performance on ESG aspects, an increase of 14 companies compared to 2016. The new additions have generated good economic returns while focusing on sustainable growth. World Bank partners with Japan’s state pension fund to promote sustainable impact October 16, 2017 This new partnership aims to direct more capital towards sustainable investments by promoting strategies that integrate impact criteria across a range of asset classes. Dutch regulator to increase scrutiny of sustainable strategies October 6, 2017 Dutch pension funds should expect to be quizzed by their supervisor about their approach to climate-related risks, according to a report published by the De Nederlandsche Bank(DNB). The financial regulator said it intended to embed climate-related risks more firmly in its supervision with the aim of ensuring sustainable financial stability. B3 launches ‘Guide Sustainability: Business Opportunity in the Intermediation Industry‘ October 5, 2017 The publication is intended to stimulate reflection and the adoption of best practices in sustainability as well as contribute to the integration of ESG-related issues into the organizational structure and into business processes and controls in the intermediation sector. The first of its kind, the guide was launched during the 2017 World Investor Week promoted by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). Belgium bill on corporate social responsibility and diversity policies October 3, 2017 Belgium published a new bill in September requiring certain large companies to disclose “nonfinancial” (relating to social, environmental and employee matters, protection for human rights, anti-corruption and anti-bribery policies) and diversity information. If these companies have not adopted any policies in these respects, they will have to explain the reasons why. Companies will have to comply with the new obligations for their respective fiscal years starting on or after January 1, 2017.
ESG INDICES AND PRODUCTSJSE launches green bond segment to fund low carbon projects October 25, 2017 The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) launched its Green Bond Segment, providing a platform for companies and other institutions to raise funds for low carbon initiatives and for investors to mitigate climate risk in their portfolios with securities that satisfy environment, social and governance (ESG) requirements and green investment mandates. The exchange aligned its JSE Green Bond listing requirements with international best practice but kept them in context of the South African economy to include specific rules pertaining to green bonds. This includes requiring institutions that issue a green bond to appoint an independent reviewer to confirm that the bond can be classified as green according accepted industry standards. Hong Kong plans first government-backed green bond October 20, 2017 The bond is planned for next year. A spokesperson at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange said the bourse is “open to exploring any innovative financial initiative that comes to their attention”. Yet another fossil-fuel free ETF hits the market October 19, 2017 A new socially-responsible ETF entered the ETF world targeting fossil fuel free as well as socially responsible investing. Blackrock launches ESG ETF that outperforms parent index October 17, 2017 The iShares MSCI World SRI Ucits EFT is Blackrock’s eleventh ESG ETF in Europe. “We consistently hear from our clients that they are looking more closely at improving the ESG and carbon profile of their investments, which they acknowledge helps manage risk in their portfolios,” says iShares head of specialist sales. Fiji to sell climate-change bond October 18, 2017 Fiji will issue a $50 million “green” bond in coming weeks to help combat the effects of global climate change. The Pacific Island nation is seen as particularly vulnerable to climate change, with some of its 300 low-lying islands susceptible to rising seas. New ESG products to launch in Korea October 13, 2017 Mirae Asset Global Investments plans to release a “Global Good Innovator” fund at the end October, which will invest in ESG companies included in the Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) All Country World Index (ACWI). Change Finance Launches CHGX, Impact Investing ETF October 10, 2017 Change Finance, a majority women-owned asset manager, announced the launch of its first ETF, the first to use diversified impact screens to look beyond excluding fossil fuels, taking a comprehensive approach to socially responsible investing. CHGX’s methodology is informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Northern Trust launches ESG index funds October 4, 2017 The new funds are the first European funds to track the MSCI ESG Leaders indices and complement an existing MSCI ESG Leaders fund available to US investors. Nuveen rolls out socially responsible bond ETF October 2, 2017 Nuveen is expanding on its socially responsible ETF theme, but its new offering will help fixed-income investors pair their bond investment needs with environmental, social and governance principles.
MANAGEMENT NEWSLondon Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet to step down at the end of 2018 October 19, 2017 The London Stock Exchange Chief Executive Xavier Rolet will leave the bourse operator by the end of December 2018, just under a decade after he took the helm at the firm. LSE said it would start looking for his successor immediately. Nezha Hayat Appointed Regional VP of International Organization of Securities Commissions October 17, 2017 Nezha Hayat, head of the Moroccan Capital Market Authority (AMMC), has been elected vice-president of the Regional Committee for Africa and the Middle East (AMERC) of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). Both organizations work to review and exchange information and promote issues specific to the development of capital markets.
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.