April 2014 Sustainable Stock Exchange Highlights

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Singapore Puts Weight Behind Integrated Reporting at ISCA Forum 
April 22, 2014
More than 120 investors, companies and accounting representatives (and the Singapore Stock Exchange) attended an Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) forum that launched a roadmap for integrated reporting in Singapore, with companies being encouraged to adopt the <IR> framework. A Steering Committee to advise on <IR> implementation was also launched, as was a practical guide to implementing <IR> in the market.

US Business Groups Press for SEC Scrutiny of ESG Shareholder Resolutions 
April 22, 2014
Nine groups, including the American Petroleum Institute and the US Chamber of Commerce, have filed a petition with the US Securities and Exchange Commission demanding a review of current rules regarding the required threshold votes for the resubmission of shareholder resolutions. This petition comes as shareholder resolutions focused on ESG issues—and investor support for these resolutions—are on the rise.

Hermes Plans to be First Signatory to Japan’s New Stewardship Code 
April 15, 2014
Hermes’ Equity Ownership Services intends to be one of the first signatories to Japan’s comply-or-explain Stewardship Code, which Hermes helped draft. Japan is one of many countries to publish a stewardship code within the last four years. To review others, check out the International Corporate Governance Network’s (ICGN) dedicated public webpage. Investors have until the end of May to sign on to the code.
ICGN Stewardship Codes webpage: http://bit.ly/1nWKT5d

 Global Fund Managers Show Support for Hong Kong’s “One Share, One Vote” Rule 
April 15, 2014
A survey of 54 fund managers, with over $14 trillion in assets, conducted by Hong Kong’s Asian Corporate Governance Association, demonstrated overwhelming support for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing’s “one share, one vote” principal. Hong Kong regulators recently declined the request by prominent Chinese internet companies to allow company insiders to nominate a majority of board members and to give preferential voting rights to controlling shareholders. The US’ Council of Institutional Investors has also urged stock exchanges such as NASDAQ and NYSE to adopt one-share/one-vote listing rules in their respective exchanges, following Alibaba’s plans for a US IPO.
Media: http://reut.rs/1rq3U23
Survey: http://bit.ly/1nMONxw
CII letter: http://bit.ly/1feiJ5v

E&Y Survey Shows Investors Value Companies’ ESG Reporting Over Info From Third Parties 
April 11, 2014
In Ernst & Young’s recent Tomorrow’s Investment Rules survey of 163 global institutional investors, respondents expressed preference for ESG data coming from company reports over third party sources like ESG data providers and indices. While 89% said that non-financial issues “play a pivotal role” in some investments, only a third of respondents had formal procedures to integrate ESG considerations into the investment process.
Summary: http://bit.ly/1nWNEDq
Survey: http://bit.ly/1gbtWlR

ASX Report Finds Progress on Implementation of 2013 Gender Diversity Recommendations
April 10, 2014
Since 2012, nearly all classes of companies evaluated in the report demonstrated a measurable increase in implementation of the recommendations on disclosure, policy-making, and goal-setting for gender diversity.

New Online Forum, “The Great HFT Debate,” Created to Facilitate Dialogue on High Frequency Trading 
April 9, 2014
In response to heightened media and investor attention to high frequency trading, TabbFORUM created this new portal to present diverse perspectives by publishing op-eds, interviews and articles.

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European Parliament Passes Mandatory Non-Financial Disclosure 
April 15, 2014
This directive (still needing official approval by the EU Council) will require approximately 6,000 European companies to disclose material ESG risks and policies, on a comply-or-explain basis. The CDSB, CDP, GRI, Aviva and EuroSIF were among many European organizations advocating for this decision.
Media: http://bit.ly/1mDKmVP
Press release: http://bit.ly/1jV8voa

Governance Framework Established for Green Bond Principles 
April 14, 2014
The new framework sets membership eligibility guidelines, creates an executive committee with diverse geographic representation, and appoints the International Capital Markets Association as secretariat.  Currently, 25 banks have endorsed the principles.

Brazil Launches 2014 “Report or Explain” Cycle with Emphasis on Integrated Reporting 
April 11, 2014
BM&FBOVESPA’s newly named “Report or Explain for Sustainability or Integrated Reports” initiative expresses support for the International Integrated Reporting Council and encourages integrated reporting.

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ICGN Conference to Address ESG Reporting Topics
April 2014
The conference to be held on 16-18 June in Amsterdam will cover sessions on sustainability disclosure standards and the role of institutional investors in mitigating climate risk, among other topics.

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FTSE Teams up with BlackRock on Fossil Fuel-Free Index 
April 28, 2014
BlackRock has teamed up with London’s FTSE Group to create a set of indexes targeted to investors worried about “stranded assets” from fossil fuel exposure. Companies that extract or explore for fossil fuels are excluded from the new indices, which are believed to be the first from a major index provider to ban fossil fuel-linked companies.

S-Network Global Indexes and Thomson Reuters launches Web Portal on Corporate ESG Ratings 
April 23, 2014
The new portal will allow institutional investors and analysts access to environmental, social and governance ratings of over 4,600 publicly traded companies. This builds on the access to corporate ESG information launched by the Deutsche Borse on its listed companies two years ago.
Media: http://bit.ly/1k9ItPC
Portal: http://bit.ly/1tHtQIh

FTSE Announces New Research Methodology for its FTSE4GOOD Index 
April 10, 2014
The new methodology, which is intended to further help investors integrate ESG considerations into their portfolios, will evaluate companies against 14 ESG themes on over 300 specific indicators.

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This is a monthly newsletter courtesy of Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk and the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative. To subscribe, click here
Send exchange-related ESG news to Tracey Rembert, Director, Investor Initiative for Sustainable Exchanges: rembert@ceres.org