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Stock exchange global campaign gathers momentum

(Nairobi, Doha, 30 March 2016) The Nairobi Securities Exchange and Qatar Stock Exchange are the latest two exchanges to join the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) campaign to close the ESG guidance gap. This global campaign seeks to have all stock exchanges in the world provide guidance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting to issuers in their markets. At the launch of the campaign at the London Stock Exchange in September 2015, only 15 exchanges in the world provided listed companies with ESG reporting guidance. Since that time, the SSE campaign has already more than doubled this number with 22 exchanges so far committed to introduce ESG guidance by the end of 2016.

“Exchanges that promote transparency and high-quality ESG reporting are helping participants to understand important drivers of value creation and are addressing new information demands from investors,” said Mark Makepeace, Group Director of Information Services and Chief Executive of FTSE Russell London Stock Exchange Group in the Preface to the SSE Model Guidance.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange is helping to tip the scale in Africa, being the fourth exchange from the continent to commit to the campaign to close the ESG guidance gap, joining the Egyptian Exchange, Nigerian Stock Exchange and Bourse de Casablanca. Johannesburg Stock Exchange was the first exchange to produce a guidance in 2004 (updated in 2014).

Mr. Geoffrey Odundo, Chief Executive of Nairobi Securities Exchange commented on the commitment: “The Nairobi Securities Exchange commends the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative for championing the development of the Model Guidance on ESG reporting globally. Over the following months of 2016, the NSE intends to use the SSE Model Guidance as a basis for the formulation of its own Voluntary Guidance in consultation with all market players. This will further entrench our commitment to develop sustainable capital markets that will enhance long term value for both our domestic and international stakeholders.”

Qatar Stock Exchange is pioneering sustainability among exchanges in its region by being the first of the Gulf States to join the SSE last December, and now joining the campaign to close the ESG guidance gap.

Mr. Rashid Ali Al-Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange, remarked on the occasion of the commitment: “The State of Qatar has adopted a set of core principles as part of the National Vision 2030. That vision promotes the development of a competitive and diversified economy capable of meeting the needs of all of its people both for the present and for the future, the development of a just and caring society, capable of playing a significant role in global partnerships for development and the management of the environment such that there is harmony between economic growth, social development and environmental protection. We at Qatar Stock Exchange strongly support these ambitions and believe that through our membership of the SSE, we will be better equipped to promote the sustainability agenda among our investors, listed companies and the business community within the State of Qatar and thus contribute to the realisation of the National Vision.”

Supporting the SSE campaign to close the guidance gap is a coalition of over 100 investors organized by Allianz Global Investors and the Principles for Responsible Investment. Representing over $10 trillion in assets under management, this investor coalition has been engaging stock exchanges and assisting them with the development of ESG guidance.

As stock exchanges move forward from commitment to implementation, the SSE is providing a peer-to-peer learning platform and technical assistance. Central to this assistance is the SSE Model Guidance, which provides exchanges with a template that can be adopted and modified as necessary to fit the unique circumstances of each market. Complementing this tool is the World Federation of Exchanges’ guidance to stock exchanges.