UN member States agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be accomplished by 2030. The following target is directly addressed by this topic.
Target 12.6: Encourage companies, especially large and trans-national companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
In September 2015 when the SSE launched its Model Guidance for exchanges, less than 10% of stock exchanges around the world were providing guidance on reporting environmental, social and governance (ESG) information for their market. This gap in guidance on ESG reporting leads to incomplete corporate information, creating a challenge for investors seeking a comprehensive view of a company’s material issues.
The SSE’s goal is for all stock exchanges to provide listed companies with guidance on sustainability reporting. The purpose of the Model Guidance compiled by the SSE is to help exchanges address this need by providing a model, or template, that exchanges can use to develop their own, custom guidance. In addition to this guidance, stock exchanges can find a number of other tools available to them on this webpage.
66 of the 120 stock exchanges tracked by the SSE have published ESG reporting guidance for their listed companies
SSE Model Guidance
Developed by a working group of nearly 90 capital market stakeholders, chaired by the London Stock Exchange Group the Model Guidance is a voluntary tool for stock exchanges to guide issuers on how to report on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. This tool provides a copy/paste template that stock exchanges can use to start their own guidance.
The SSE Model Guidance and other publications by the SSE can be found here.
WFE ESG Metrics
Based on the SSE Model Guidance, the World Federation of Exchanges has created a set of recommendations to its member exchanges on how to implement their own sustainability policies. The WFE Guidance & Recommendations identifies material ESG metrics which exchanges can incorporate into disclosure guidance to companies listed on their market. The metrics lay out 34 key performance indicators that are built off of the SSE guidance and was updated in June 2018.
The 2015 metrics can be found here.
SSE’s ESG Guidance Database
The SSE maintains a database of all guidance documents provided by stock exchanges for listed companies so that other stock exchanges can learn from their peers. All guidance documents can be found here, or on the fact sheet of individual stock exchanges. The SSE also keeps track of those exchanges that have not yet listed guidance, and can offer donor-funded technical assistance or facilitate peer exchanges to those working on developing their guidance.
Technical Assistance: The SSE works with stock exchanges to implement guidance on sustainability reporting through donor-sponsored technical assistance. For more information, please contact the SSE team directly
“We look forward to working together with the UN SSE initiative and the WFE as we move forward on this project. Many of the Nordic exchanges are already global leaders in sustainability reporting, and we will continue to engage our listed companies on the ESG transparency and provide them with disclosure guidance”
“BM&FBOVESPA launched the guide ‘New Value – Sustainability in Companies, How to Start, Who to Involve and What to Prioritize’ in 2011, as we understand it to be a tool that will guide and stimulate listed companies to report their ESG issues. It has been an important instrument for increasing transparency in the Brazilian capital market as regards this matter. Therefore, we strongly encourage other stock exchanges to publish their sustainability guides by the end of 2016. The voluntary Model Guidance that is being released by SSE is a good example of how to orientate companies in a didactical and clear way. We congratulate SSE for this initiative. It is an honor to be part of it.”
“EGX guidance for reporting on ESG will provide the Egyptian Capital Market with an integrated reporting model, helping listed companies to disclose efficiently ESG practices and ensuring that the market efficiently meets the new ESG-related information needs of investors.”
“The SSE Model Guidance on reporting ESG information to investors provides a very helpful tool as it encourages exchanges to customize and balance their guidance to local conditions. This will be a useful starting point for Oslo Børs on its journey to best implement its own guidance by the end of 2016.”
“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.”
“Bursa Malaysia welcomes the SSE Model Guidance on Reporting ESG Information to Investors. Greater clarity and a defined baseline for companies to incorporate or work towards is needed as there are several reporting standards available. I believe the market is ready and as it stands, Malaysia today has 25 ESG companies and a total of 14 of our public listed companies have already adopted the Global Reporting Initiative reporting guidelines.”
“While financial reporting by listed companies is firmly established, sustainability reporting is relatively young. Financial reporting focuses on what results have been achieved and sustainability reporting seeks to address increasing investor interest in a fuller explanation of how businesses achieve their financial results as well as what risks and opportunities are within sight. The additional transparency and spotlight on governance from sustainability reporting will increase confidence and trust in capital markets. I hope that having the Model Reporting Guidance will encourage more participation from exchanges and markets around the world.”
“Being core players of the financial industry, exchanges increasingly recognize their role in forming the rules and best practices in order to promote application of ESG practices by their stakeholders and society as a whole. ‘The Model Guidance on Reporting ESG Information to Investors’ prepared by the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative will serve undoubtedly as an important step in creating a more effective and high quality ESG reporting to investors, which in turn will contribute to the creation of well-functioning markets.”