UN SSE Global Dialogue 2023 Shines Spotlight on Sustainable Finance at World Investment Forum

17 October 2023

17 October 2023, Abu Dhabi, UAE – The United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (UN SSE) initiative flagship event, the UN SSE Global Dialogue, was held with great success on 17 October as part of the UNCTAD World Investment Forum. This high-level roundtable, which takes place every two years, brought together close to 30 exchange CEOs, influential thought leaders, high-level representatives from the financial industry, and sustainable finance advocates to discuss and promote sustainable finance practices that drive global development and address pressing environmental and social challenges. “The value of this dialogue today and of this initiative is the collective wisdom and experience of SSE members and partners, helping to accelerate sustainable finance and investment in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said James Zhan, Director of Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD.  Moderated by Mr Georg Kell (Chair, Arabesque), the UN SSE Global Dialogue provided a platform for discussions, collaborations, and partnerships aimed at advancing the global agenda for sustainable finance. Mr Kell welcomed participants of the roundtable by highlighting: The moderator opened the session emphasizing that the meeting builds on a legacy of UN multi-stakeholder collaboration and that through dialogue and bridge-building in market ecosystems, we can tackle the biggest issues systematically to move the mark on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Participants engaged in stimulating conversations on the role of stock exchanges, policymakers, regulators, and market participants in fostering sustainable capital markets. Key highlights of the UN SSE Global Dialogue 2023 included: Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing between Bursa Malaysia, the Indonesian Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Thailand: The exchanges jointly launched a new Central Sustainability (CSI) platform.  This agreement demonstrates a commitment to enhancing cross-border collaboration, sharing best practices, and working towards the mutual goal of developing sustainable capital markets in the ASEAN region. The partnership aims to facilitate the flow of sustainable investment, promote transparency, and catalyze the growth of green and social finance initiatives in the region. Exchange of Letters between FEAS and UN SSE: Another notable achievement at the UN SSE Global Dialogue was the signing of an Exchange of Letters between the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges (FEAS) and the UN SSE. This collaboration seeks to further align the efforts of stock exchanges across Europe and Asia with global sustainability goals. By exchanging knowledge and expertise, FEAS and UN SSE aim to accelerate the adoption of sustainable finance principles and promote responsible investing throughout the region. Celebrating 5 years of partnership between the IFC and UN SSE: At the 2018 Global Dialogue, the UN SSE and IFC signed an exchange of letters that signalled the start of their collaboration in providing technical assistance to exchanges and their market participants. Five years later, this collaboration has resulted in technical guidance documents on climate action and gender equality and delivered market education programmes to more than 20,000 participants in over 100 member States. 

Ms Martine Valcin highlights the long-term collaboration between IFC and UN SSE

With close to 30 high-level representatives joining the roundtable, the UN SSE Global Dialogue 2023 showcased the increasing commitment of the global financial community to integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions and promoting the responsible allocation of capital. This event exemplifies the pivotal role that stock exchanges and financial institutions play in advancing the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and addressing pressing global challenges. Today there is an opportunity for all exchanges to work together through dialogue and exchange of knowledge where sustainable finance can contribute to creating a better world.” - Abdulla Salem Al Nuaimi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange In light of the increasing demand for sustainability including climate–change–related and data information, global financial markets have a significant and important role in integrating and promoting consistent and comparable reporting practices. Global financial markets can play a leading and transformative role in educating, providing guidance, and training issuers listed companies to make a successful transition to sustainable companies and mainstreaming sustainable finance.” - Mazen Wathaifi, CEO, Amman Stock Exchange Stock exchanges have a central role to play in “greening” the economy in which they operate. To this end, the Athens Stock Exchange is fully committed to driving change, and fostering sustainability in Greece's financial landscape. Our journey towards a more sustainable future encompasses innovation, transparency, and inclusivity. We believe that through the various initiatives I mentioned in my speech, such as the launch of the new state-of-the-art ATHEX ESG data portal and our cooperation with Air Carbon Exchange to establish a Voluntary Carbon Credits Market in Greece, we are not only enhancing the resilience of our economy but also providing the necessary tools for businesses, to thrive in an ESG-conscious world.” - Yianos Kantopoulos, CEO, Athens Stock Exchange “We built capacity and we reached out to all exchanges in ASEAN to begin to have a common theme, a common market. If we are to achieve a just transition we need to bring all of our companies along.” - Muhamad Umar Swift, CEO, Bursa Malaysia We are working very actively on market education and awareness raising. We are working with all market participants to promote and spread awareness for sustainability” - Heba ElSerafi, Vice President Egyptian Stock Exchange “Stock exchanges can play a pivotal role in mainstreaming standardized sustainability reporting. In today's landscape, there are a multitude of frameworks such as GRI, ISSB and CSRD, along with 24 green taxonomies across jurisdictions standardizing ESG reporting. Technology, including ESG data libraries and generative AI, can be instrumental in simplifying reporting and interoperability across these frameworks. By offering such technological solutions to issuers, stock exchanges can accelerate sustainability reporting and enhance the availability of standardised ESG data. More transparency, in turn, boosts capital available from investors who are increasingly focused on sustainability parameters.” - Alexander Stevens, CEO, Greenomy ‘‘Embracing sustainable finance has the potential to address global challenges such as climate change, poverty reduction, and inequality and should be prioritized by governments, businesses, and all relevant stakeholders.” - Abena Amoah, CEO, Ghana Stock Exchange “Participating in the SSE Global Dialogue among distinguished guests is an honor. I look forward to their perspective on how stock exchanges can foster innovative solutions to help direct capital to sustainable businesses and solutions. As we celebrate the IFC and UN SSE's fifth year of collaboration, we remain committed to our joint efforts to support achieving the SDGs.” - Martine Valcin, Global Manager ESG Advisory, Knowledge and Learning, IFC We are delighted that together with stock exchanges, the UN SSE initiative and IFC, we will be providing training and guidance on the ISSB standards.” - Lois Guthrie, Senior Technical Advisory, IFRS Foundation “I am grateful for the work of the SSE together with exchanges because regulators are not sufficient - exchanges are key to implementing the ISSB  standards.” - Kris Nathanail, Senior Policy Advisor, IOSCO We are still on the journey of enhancing the accessibility and quality of ESG data in the Japanese market. (...) We are working with the IFRS Foundation to enhance understanding and implementation of the ISSB standards.” -  Mikiko Takara, Director Sustainability Department, JPX “Global practice shows that today compliance with ESG principles plays an increasingly significant role in the sustainable development of companies and their ability to diversify sources of funding. The dedication to sustainable development goals and the implementation of ESG criteria on the market is one of the strategic objectives for Kazakhstan and KASE.” - Alina Aldambergen, Chairperson, KASE "Climate change has indeed arrived, and our countdown has begun. The exchange industry stands at the forefront of the transition toward a Net Zero economy. Our role is to exemplify and provide the means to achieve Net Zero." - Sohn Byung-doo Chair and CEO, Korea Exchange “Stock exchanges around the world play one of the major role in development of sustainable financing and attracting resources to climate, environmental, and social projects through the issuance of sustainable bonds. At the same time exchanges are the platforms for concentrating interests of companies and responsible investors. Exchanges promote climate disclosure, introduce innovative technologies for trading financial instruments, and act as key institutions for the development of green economies” - Medet Nazaraliev, CEO, Kyrgyz Stock Exchange “Climate change is reshaping industries and economies as we speak. We certainly see collaboration between exchanges as being absolutely essential for us to transition to a just and net-zero economy. “ - David Harris, Head of Sustainable Finance Strategy, London Stock Exchange Group "In the realm of sustainable finance, experiences shape innovations. From sustainability-themed products to reporting standards, our shared experiences drive the evolution of financial markets. Let's learn from the past to create a more sustainable future.” - Wendy Boit, ESG Lead, Nairobi Securities Exchanges “As the co-convenor of the SSE, we have seen it grow and become the go-to platform for stock exchanges around sustainability issues and now increasingly towards the transition towards net zero.”  - Margarita Pirovska, Director of Policy, PRI "Clearly, exchanges can play a major role in combating the climate crisis. Exchanges can encourage more ESG investing, support climate tech start-ups and finally educate the public (investors) on the importance of sustainable investing." - Hassan Dudde, CEO, Somali Stock Exchange “Exchanges wield substantial influence at the heart of nations' economies, and with great power comes the great responsibility of leading the charge in the green transition. Time is of the essence, and we must step up our efforts and commitment to mainstream ESG reporting, facilitate the flow of capital toward sustainable ventures, and actively contribute to the battle against the climate crisis.” - Sunil Benimadhu, CEO, Stock Exchange of Mauritius “This is a global problem and we need to tackle this using shared knowledge”  - Soraphol Tulayasathien, Head of Corporate Strategy and Sustainable Development, Stock Exchange of Thailand  “Uganda is a small market but we focus on the education aspect related to sustainability in terms of training our listed companies.” - Paul Bwiso, CEO, Uganda Securities Exchange Let us work collectively to ensure the integrity of carbon markets.” - Riham ElGizy, CEO, Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Company  

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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.