Stock Exchanges from around the world welcome new UN Sustainable Development Goals

24 September 2015

(New York, 24 September 2015) – As world leaders gather in New York to launch the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), capital market leaders are gathered to welcome these new global goals on sustainability. Chief capital market regulators and CEOs of stock exchanges, investment houses, and large companies joined senior UN officials for the Sustainable Stock Exchanges’ (SSE) SDG Leaders Luncheon hosted by the New York Stock Exchange. Covering a broad range of environmental and social issues, the SDGs will shape and focus the global development agenda for the next 15 years. The world’s governments have committed to achieving these ambitious goals, but their implementation will not be possible without concerted efforts from the private sector and new policy frameworks to promote responsible investment in sustainable development. On the eve of the launch of the goals, more than 30 high-level leaders of business and government vocally asserted at the SSE Leaders Luncheon that from sustainability reporting and mobilizing finance, to gender equality and global partnerships, stock exchanges have an important role to play in promoting good corporate practices and facilitating investment in sustainable development. Participants of the event included leaders from Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange Group, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Egyptian Exchange, Morgan Stanley, Nestle and Citi, alongside chief market regulators from India and Korea, and other high-level dignitaries. At the end of the luncheon, the exchanges celebrated the launch of the SDGs with a special Closing Bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange. Ringing the closing bell was Executive Director of the Principles for Responsible Investment, Fiona Reynolds, and the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Mukhisa Kituyi. To mark the occasion, four stock exchanges announced their public commitments to join the SSE initiative as SSE Partner Exchanges: Colombo (Sri Lanka), Kazakhstan, Mauritius, and Rwanda.

Colombo Stock Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius and Kazakhstan Stock Exchange presenting their commitment letters to join the SSE to UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, UNCTAD Division of Investment and Enterprise Director James Zhan, PRI Executive Director Fiona Reynolds and UN Global Compact Executive Director Lise Kingo

The four new Partner Exchanges commented on joining the SSE: “I believe that being part of the Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative demonstrates our commitment towards adopting sustainable business practices and encouraging our stakeholders to do the same,” said Vajira Kulatilaka, Chairman, Colombo Stock Exchange. “We endeavor to engage with member exchanges, who are part of the initiative, and collectively work towards sustainable policy initiatives which will help capital markets across the globe create better corporate citizens in the areas of environment, society and governance.” Sutheash Balasubramaniam, Director of the UN Global Compact Network Sri Lanka welcomed the news of Colombo Stock Exchange joining the SSE, saying “This will create a new dimension to the Sri Lankan financial market that will encourage companies to integrate sustainability in a more meaningful manner.” “Kazakhstan Stock Exchange is pleased to join SSE Initiative. Undoubtedly, sustainable development of the stock market is very important to the country’s economic growth,” said Chief Executive Officer Yeszhan Birtanov. “By joining this initiative, we will be able to contribute much more to sustainable development of our country’s economy and will gain access to additional information on sustainability that we could further distribute among our clients from financial and real sectors of Kazakhstani economy.”

Rwanda Stock Exchange CEO Mr. Pierre Celestin Rwabukumba and UNCTAD Secretary General Dr. Kituyi

“We are pleased to join the SSE as a Partner Exchange. Earlier this month, the Stock Exchange of Mauritius launched a sustainability index (the SEMSI) to promote sustainable business practices amongst our listed companies,” said Chief Executive Officer Sunil Benimadhu. “We now want to step up our commitment to the sustainable development cause. We are also keen to collaborate with our peer exchanges on this global platform to explore how we can help to mobilize finance in order to support the SDGs in the coming years.” “Rwanda Stock Exchange’s participation in the SSE serves to confirm our commitment that our market will not be left behind in all efforts geared to building our economies and capital market in a responsible and rational manner,” said Pierre Célestin Rwabukumba, Chief Executive Officer. “What we do today will shape our future; if we mean survival then we must plan sustainably and collectively, hopefully with no excuses from anyone.” Following the success of the SDG Leader’s Luncheon, the SSE initiative will work further to convene capital market actors and encourage the implementation of the sustainable development goals. To learn more about what exchanges can do to support the SDGs, click here for the SSE's Policy Brief, or visit the "What we do" tab of the SSE website. For more information on the event, including a list of participants, click here.  

Closing Bell at the New York Stock Exchange

All photos from the SSE Leaders Luncheon are available for your download via Dropbox. When you open the link a “sign up for drop box” window opens, but you do not have to create an account to view the photos, just simply close the window.

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.