August 2014 Sustainable Stock Exchange Highlights

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Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV) Joins SSE Initiative
August 26, 2014
The Bolsa Mexicana de Valores has joined the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, which facilitates dialogue on how exchanges can improve corporate transparency and performance on Environmental, Social, and Governance factors.
Press Release:

METI Study Issues Recommendations for Investor and Company Dialogues
August 27, 2014
A new report, produced for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), argues that dialogue between investors and companies can foster sustainable value creation.  The report encourages improved corporate disclosure on the value creation process and the formation of a Management-Investor Forum to discuss issues such as integrated reporting.

IOSCO Chair Warns of Cyber Attack Risk
August 24, 2014
Greg Medcraft, the Chairman of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), said that the lack of consistency in global regulatory approaches to cyber security is leaving markets highly vulnerable to security breaches. Regulators are considering a global effort to support firms in managing cyber risks, largely based on work the US SEC has already begun.
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Guardian Features Profile on Evolution of Bloomberg’s ESG Business
August 21, 2014
The article “Show Me the Money,” discusses the initial idea and evolution of Bloomberg LP’s sustainability program and its ESG data business.

Stausboll: “Analyzing Climate Risk: Why Mandatory Reporting Matters”
August 16, 2014
Anne Stausboll, CEO of the $300 billion California Public Employees Retirement System, argues that corporate climate risk disclosure is useful for portfolio risk management. The article highlights the US SEC’s guidance on climate risk reporting, and a new tool, released by Ceres, that enables investors to easily access climate disclosures within a company’s 10-K.
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Study finds Assurance Lagging for Australian Sustainability Reports
August 13, 2014
According to a new study by Net Balance, an Australian sustainability services firm, overall sustainability disclosure has increased to 75% of all companies, but only 29% of reporting companies assure their reports.  Environmental issues are the most common topic to receive assurance, while human rights had the largest increase in assurance between 2011 and 2013.

CDP to Begin Scoring Responses to Water Survey
August 12, 2014
CDP aims to help investors evaluate corporate responses to water challenges, which it hopes will ultimately drive better disclosure and practices relating to water conservation. The scoring will be in a pilot phase during the first year, and only available to participating companies.

Sustainability Reporting in Singapore Trails other Asian Leaders
August 11, 2014
According to a new study, only 19 companies in Singapore produced sustainability reports in accordance with international standards, far fewer than Japan, China and Korea. Meanwhile, the Singapore Stock Exchange recently committed to enhancing sustainability reporting in the market through a “comply or explain” reporting requirement.
Press Release:

Harvard Business School Produces Case Study on Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)
July 30, 2014
Two Harvard professors released a case study on SASB, which will be used in a class for Harvard Business School students. The case study discusses the impetus behind SASB’s framework, and the process of rapidly launching and gaining acceptance for a national accounting standard.
Press Release:
Case Study:

US Chamber of Commerce Calls on US SEC to Simplify Corporate Disclosure Requirements
July 29, 2014
The Chamber hopes to reduce clutter and repetition, and streamline reporting so as to “separate the wheat from the chaff.” The recommendations are in response to a US SEC paper published last December on corporate reporting.
Press Release:

SYNTAO Releases Quantitative ESG Disclosure Indicators for China
July 25, 2014
The goal of the standards is to reduce information redundancy and improve the quality of CSR reports through establishing key performance indicators relevant to specific industries. The report, Material and Quantitative Indicators Guideline for CSR Report (MQI), was launched jointly with the Guangzhou-based Southern Weekly newspaper, at the 6th Annual CSR Conference of China.

ACCA Surveys Institutional Investors in South Africa on Response to Integrated Reports
July 21, 2014
Since 2010, Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies have been required to produce an integrated report, containing sustainability information, under “comply or explain” provisions of the King Code III.  According to a recent Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) report, institutional investors view this requirement as enhancing the reputation of South Africa, though they also believe the quality of reporting could be improved by avoiding repetition and a box-ticking approach.

GRI Report Analyzes Trends in External Assurance of Sustainability of Reports in US
July 2014
The report finds that in 2013, 16% (41 of 266) of US-issued GRI reports were externally assured, compared with 45% globally.  Some companies use different assurance engagements for different aspects of their reports, and 30% of GRI reports globally are assured in their entirety.

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UK Proposes Disclosure Policy in Response to EU Directive for Extractive Industries
August 21, 2014
Following a consultation with industry and civil society stakeholders, the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has finalized its proposal for implementation of the European Union Directive for Extractive Industries, which requires disclosure of payments to governments. The proposal recommends that large companies and public interest entities report on payments made after January 1, 2015.

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IIRC Releases Two Papers on Assurance of Sustainability Reports, Solicits Feedback
July 31, 2014
Two new papers from the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) examine how assurance of sustainability reports can apply to integrated reporting. The papers consider potential challenges and the scope and level of assurance, among other factors. IIRC asks that feedback on the papers be submitted by December 1, 2014.

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