Exchange in Focus: Seven stock exchanges launch ESG reporting guidance

23 March 2017

(Stockholm, 23 March 2017)  — Today, seven stock exchanges fulfilled their commitment to the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) campaign to provide guidance to issuers on ESG reporting. Nasdaq Nordic and Baltic exchanges in Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Iceland, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius all launched a voluntary support program on environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure to guide their listed companies.

“Many of the companies listed on the Nasdaq Nordic and Baltic exchanges are already global leaders in sustainability reporting,” said Lauri Rosendahl, President of Nasdaq Nordic. “By launching this voluntary guide, our aim is to further engage, encourage and support our listed companies in addressing critical ESG matters. The launch reinforces the mission of Nasdaq Nordic to provide fair, transparent, and efficient markets for all stakeholders.”

This new program is influenced by the SSE’s report, “Model Guidance on Reporting ESG Information to Investors.” Nasdaq was among the SSE’s founding partner exchanges in 2012, and Nasdaq Nordic and Baltic joined in 2015. They also worked closely with the SSE in the development of the aforementioned Model Guidance.

“Our early involvement with the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative led directly, in many ways, to the creation of this very document,” writes Nasdaq in their ESG guidance document, referencing the SSE Model Guidance which was produced to assist stock exchanges in providing guidance on ESG reporting in their markets. “The Model Guidance provides a broad and business-centric rationale for better ESG reporting by the companies that list on global stock exchanges,” writes Nasdaq.

Nasdaq’s guidance for issuers reflects the recommendations issued by the SSE Model Guidance, as well as complimentary recommendations from the World Federation of Exchanges’ Sustainability Working Group, the European Union directive on non-financial reporting and leading industry standards on ESG reporting.

“Through the launch of this document, Nasdaq Nordic and Baltic stock exchanges are demonstrating how exchanges can contribute to sustainable development and help to tackle the twenty-first century’s biggest sustainability challenges,” said James Zhan, Director of Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD in the foreword to the new Nasdaq guidance. “Investor demand for high-quality ESG reporting has grown dramatically over the past decade. Once consumed primarily by niche investors, ESG data is now in high-demand from the biggest institutional investors in the world.”

“We welcome this ESG reporting guide,” said PRI Managing Director, Fiona Reynolds.  “Hopefully, it will serve as a valuable reference for companies who are thinking of listing on Nasdaq Nordic and prompt them to think more seriously about ESG considerations.”

“To support us in reaching even better and more broad-based ESG reporting and hence better markets, we invite our listed companies, investors and other stakeholders to give us their feedback on ESG reporting and the guide.” said Adam Kostyál, Senior Vice President and Head of European Listings at Nasdaq, “We will also consider market specific supplements to the guide to support anchoring it on a national level in our seven markets.”

When the SSE launched its Campaign to “close the gap on ESG reporting” in September 2015, less than one third of stock exchanges around the world were providing guidance to issuers on reporting ESG information. Today, Nasdaq’s seven Nordic and Baltic exchanges join a group of nearly 40% of the world’s exchanges offering guidance on ESG reporting. The SSE continues to work with exchanges worldwide to bring that number up to 100%. For more information on the SSE campaign, visit the campaign page which tracks progress on this target.

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.