Stock exchanges welcome new ISSB Standards; UN SSE announces related capacity building activities

27 June 2023

The International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) this week launched two inaugural sustainability disclosure standards to meet the information needs of capital market participants, one focused on general disclosure requirements and one focused on climate-related disclosures. Stock exchanges are holding launch events around the world to introduce their markets to these new standards. The SSE is supporting the launch of the ISSB Standards through a collaboration with the IFRS Foundation to provide training and guidance for capital market participants on the new standards. “For many years, stock exchanges, market participants, regulators and policy makers have been calling for higher quality sustainability reporting. Today we welcome the IFRS Foundation’s ISSB standards as an important milestone in promoting globally harmonized sustainability reporting. We look forward to working with the IFRS Foundation and SSE Partner Exchanges to further facilitate the adoption and implementation of these standards,” said Anthony Miller, Chief Coordinator, UN SSE.  Exchanges can enhance the level of ESG disclosure and performance and contribute to more sustainable capital markets that are oriented towards long-term value creation. Many stock exchanges are supporting their markets to enhance transparency and ESG disclosures through numerous activities, with 84 exchanges currently providing training on ESG-related topics and 71 exchanges providing written guidance on ESG disclosure.  Stock exchanges supporting ISSB launch  This week, through live and live-streamed events in multiple languages, stock exchanges are playing an important role in disseminating the new standards. Exchange events include two events in Europe on 26 June with Deutsche Boerse Group and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) opening markets together with ISSB. LSE’s live-streamed ISSB Standard launch in collaboration with IFRS Sustainability was hosted by Emmanuel Faber, Chair of the ISSB, Julia Hoggett, CEO of London Stock Exchange and Arne Staal, CEO, FTSE Russell. The event also includes panel discussions with Baroness Penn, HM Treasury Lords Minister; David Atkin, CEO of PRI; Eelco van der Enden, CEO of GRI; Sue Lloyd, Vice-Chair of the ISSB; Mardi McBrien, Chief of Strategic Affairs and Capacity Building, IFRS; Sacha Sadan, Director of ESG, FCA; Liz Fernando,CIO, NEST; and Andreas Barckow,Chair, IASB. Deutsche Boerse Group opened markets on Monday also with a celebration of the ISSB Standards launch, with Stephan Leithner, member of the Deutsche Boerse Executive Board opening the event and a discussion from members of the ISSB Board and operating staff.  In North America, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) together with partners, also hosted an invite-only event on 26 June which included three panels, celebrating the new global baseline, discussing the corporate-investor dialogue and evaluating the theory of change. Panelists of the NYSE event included ISSB Board Members Verity Chegar and Michael Jantzi, President of ICE Elizabeth King, President of AICPA and CIMA, Barry Melancon, President of CPA Canada, Pamela Steer, as well as private sector leaders, investors and standard setters.  In Asia, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) with its partners are holding a 2-day launch event including a capacity-building introductory workshop in collaboration with ISSB on 27 and 28 June. In Africa, the Nigerian Stock Exchange also hosted a launch event together with the ISSB on June 26, as well as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on 29 June.  Together with the IFRS Foundation, the SSE is also working to support exchanges in their efforts to guide markets on these new standards. The ISSB and the SSE are collaborating to update the SSE Model Guidance on Reporting ESG Information to Investors and its Model Guidance on Climate Disclosure to align both guidance documents with the ISSB Standards. To further support stock exchanges in guiding their markets on aligning disclosures with the new ISSB Standards, the SSE and IFRS Foundation are joining forces to provide training for market participants in collaboration with stock exchanges, free of charge.  SSE updating stock exchange guidance on sustainability disclosures The new guidance documents being developed by the SSE and IFRS Foundation will provide exchanges with a template and tips for updating existing guidance or developing new guidance for their markets on disclosing sustainability-related information in alignment with the ISSB standards. Currently 72 stock exchanges provide their markets with written guidance on sustainability-related disclosures, which will require updates to align guidance with the new global baseline from the IFRS Foundation.  The SSE’s goal is for all stock exchanges to provide listed companies with written guidance on sustainability reporting. The purpose of the SSE Model Guidance documents is to help exchanges address this need by providing a model, or template, that exchanges can use to develop their own, custom guidance. To support exchanges to update their guidance documents on sustainability-related disclosures as well as climate-specific disclosure guidelines, the SSE will provide updated templates that exchanges can integrate into their  guidance, together with tips on adapting these templates to specific market needs.  SSE-ISSB joint capacity building  In recent years, providing training on ESG topics for market participants has become the most popular  sustainability activity among stock exchanges as tracked by the SSE’s sustainability database. With more than 80 stock exchanges globally providing training on ESG topics, exchanges have become key capacity building facilitators. Stock exchanges have their finger on the pulse of local market knowledge and capacity-building demands, and often work with global standard setters and topic experts to bring their markets the most up-to-date training on these topics.  To support stock exchange’s education and training on sustainability-related efforts, the SSE Academy provides the expertise and training facilitation to enable joint training together with stock exchanges. By supporting exchanges' education and training activities, the SSE looks to overcome critical barriers exchanges face and increase the number of exchanges providing sustainability-related training for their markets. In collaboration with the IFRS Foundation and the IFC, the SSE Academy will be providing markets with training on the new ISSB Standards and will be inviting stock exchanges to host training in the coming months.  Further information about the ISSB standards, visit the IFRS Foundation website, here.

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.