(October 2018) Twenty-two Partner Exchanges of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative participated in the 2018 UNCTAD World Investment Forum (WIF), the pre-eminent global platform for investment and development. The WIF 2018 brought together more than 6,000 attendees from across the world to engage in a dialogue on key issues related to investing for sustainable development. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the WIF, UNCTAD put together more than 70 sessions designed to give the Forum a truly global scope in terms of the issues targeted and the viewpoints brought to the table.
The 2018 SSE Global Dialogue, SSE’s flagship biennial global forum, was the central gathering point for capital market leaders seeking to deliberate on current challenges, exchange views on best practices and set the direction of travel for stock exchanges committed to promoting sustainable finance.
In addition to the Global Dialogue, SSE partners played a central role in the high-level debates throughout WIF 2018, as participants on panels, moderators and engaged audience members during the week-long conference. Relevant events throughout the week included:
- Sustainability, Commodities and Derivatives,
- Sustainability bonds: innovative tools for financing the SDGs,
- Smart beta: passive investment strategies for sustainable development,
- Using blended capital to finance the SDGs,
- Role of central banks in greening the financial system, and
- Creating more and better jobs through investment.
“Making more passive investment products with an ESG focus available will allow for the [average Joe] to be more involved in directing his investments in a more responsible manner,” said Ms. Shameela Soobramoney, Senior Manager at Johannesburg Stock Exchange as a panelist for the session on smart beta.
“Sustainability indices are concrete benchmarks for investors who are concerned about the ESG agenda, with related products that help create markets and attract investment for companies that are working on this agenda,” said Ms. Sonia Favaretto, Press, Sustainability, Communication and Social Investment Director at B3, in the same session.
“We need more SDG products, we need education, we need standards and labels and we need regulation,” said Julie Becker, head of the Green Exchange at the Luxembourg Stock Exchange in the SDG Bond panel discussion. She added a call for more innovative ideas to financing, noting that when the Green Exchange LGX was first suggested to their board, many thought the idea was far-fetched. The LGX is now a leading exchange for green and sustainability bonds.
The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), a global industry group for exchanges and clearing houses was actively involved in this year’s WIF. The WFE partnered with UNCTAD to hold a high level public panel conversation about sustainability, commodities and derivatives, and WFE CEO Ms. Nandini Sukumar spoke at the Global Leaders Investment Summit.
“Well-functioning exchanges enable economic growth and development by facilitating the mobilisation of financial resources – by bringing together those who need capital to innovate and grow, with those who have resources to invest,” said Ms. Nandini Sukumar, CEO of the WFE, at the Global Leaders Investment Summit. “I just want to mention the UNCTAD’s Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative – this is a key milestone as we work collectively towards the SDG’s,” Nandini added.
In addition, Ms. Nandini Sukumar moderated the SSE Global Dialogue. She concluded the discussions by expressing her confidence that “excellence in ESG should and will lead to excellence in performance for companies and investor enthusiasm”.
During the week-long deliberations at WIF 2018, the more than 25 SSE partner organizations present forged synergies for better achieving this mission and left Geneva with a reinforced commitment to combat climate change and stimulate investment for a sustainable future.
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.
About the UNCTAD World Investment Forum
The UNCTAD World Investment Forum is the pre-eminent global platform for investment and development. The Forum devises strategies and solutions for global investment and development challenges. It facilitates multi-stakeholder collective action to stimulate investment in development. The Forum offers a unique opportunity to influence investment-related policymaking, shape the global investment environment, and to network with global leaders in business and politics. Find out more here.