Three new stock exchanges join UN coalition for sustainable capital markets

24 April 2018

Stock exchanges from Bosnia and Herzegovina (Republic of Srpska), Greece and Uganda announced their commitment to promoting sustainable and transparent capital markets by joining the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative. The SSE’s now more than 70 partner exchanges represent over $60 trillion in market capitalization and 38,000 listed companies from all corners of the world.

“We are delighted to join the SSE initiative. ATHEX is building capacity around sustainability issues, and aims to enhance transparency around environmental, social and governance issues, and promote long-term sustainable investment in the Greek capital market,” said Mr. Socrates Lazaridis, CEO of ATHEX. “In joining a community of exchanges working on sustainability issues, ATHEX will share its experiences and other positive developments, collaborating with like-minded peers to contribute to building a resilient financial system and a sustainable future.”

“We are delighted to join the SSE initiative today. We are looking forward to engage in dialogue and cooperation with other exchanges to further advance the stock exchange’s role in promoting global sustainable development,” said Mr. Bozic, CEO, Banja Luka Stock Exchange.

Like many UN initiatives, the SSE looks to the SDGs to help focus its activities. The SDGs cover a broad range of environmental and social targets categorized into 17 goals and 169 targets. The SSE organizes its work with stock exchanges around these themes:

  • Gender equality (Goal 5): The SSE launched in 2017 the guidance document “How Stock Exchanges Can Advance Gender Equality”, and holds annual gender equality awareness events at stock exchanges worldwide around International Women’s Day to “ring the bell for gender equality”.
  • Decent work and economic growth (Goal 8): The SSE has an ongoing collaboration with the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) evaluating the role of stock exchanges in promoting economic development, particularly the development of SMEs.
  • Sustainability information (Goal 12): The SSE works with stock exchanges to help them provide guidance to their issuers on ESG reporting, and is encouraging all exchanges to commit to providing guidance. In September 2015 the SSE launched a toolkit on how to develop guidance, and since doing so the number of exchanges with sustainability reporting guidance has more than doubled.
  • Climate change (Goal 13) The SSE convened an advisory group of 70+ members evaluating how stock exchanges can support and promote green finance in their markets. The outcome document of this work stream, “How stock exchanges can grow green finance” was launched alongside the UN Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn last year.
  • Global partnerships (Goal 17): To further encourage partnerships the SSE holds quarterly calls with all its member stock exchanges and other partners to encourage dialogue between exchanges. In all of its activities, the SSE works with a multi-stakeholder group consisting of stock exchanges, capital market regulators, policy makers, investors and issuers.

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.