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Beijing, China

The United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative co-hosted the third annual China SIF (Social Investment Forum) taking place in China’s capital city Beijing on 10 November. The forum’s thematic focus this year was on green finance and sustainable stock exchanges, looking at how to reach a balance between exchange-led voluntary initiatives and compulsory requirements.

In his key note speech at the opening of the forum, SSE co-coordinator Anthony Miller highlighted the role exchanges can play not only in promoting green finance, but ultimately in the advancement of sustainable development. “More than forty stock exchanges around the world have joined the SSE to promote responsible business practices,” observed Mr. Miller. “These exchanges are answering the call for global partnerships to promote sustainable development.”

China recently announced that it would reduce its carbon intensity by 60-65% of 2005 levels by 2030. In roundtable discussions, participants highlighted the importance of aligning capital market objectives with the new green finance policy objectives, including the further promotion of green financial products such as environmental indices, ETFs, and green bonds.

Capital market leaders have an important role to play in encouraging the environmental sustainability of companies listed on local exchanges. In order to help exchanges to guide companies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure, the SSE launched in September the SSE Model Guidance which exchanges can use to develop their own guidance document on ESG reporting for listed companies. This new tool is complimented by a recommendation and metrics guideline launched this month by the World Federation of Exchanges. This practical toolkit now available to stock exchanges can be found on the SSE website.