Korea Exchange joins United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

UN Secretary-General welcomes KRX to the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative

(Seoul, 19 May 2015) United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and CEO of the Korea Exchange (KRX) announced today the commitment of KRX to the UN’s Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative.

Joining the UN Secretary-General in Seoul to welcome KRX to the SSE initiative was James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD’s Investment & Enterprise Division and Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.  UNCTAD and the UN Global Compact, along with UNEP-FI and the PRI are the co-organizers of the SSE initiative.

“The United Nations is now looking seriously at the question of how to finance environmental protection, meet the basic human needs of all, and end poverty for all time. The commitments made by these  exchanges therefore becomes an important part of the social and economic equation in Asia and around the world,” said UN Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell.

“Implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals is going to require a step-change in the levels of both public and private investment in all countries,” UNCTAD Director of Investment and Enterprise James Zhan said, applauding KRX’s commitment and encouraging other exchanges to follow their example.

“Business as usual will not be enough. Incremental increases will not be enough. In least developed countries in particular, a doubling of the growth rate of private investment would be the right target. Global companies, through foreign direct investment, and stock exchanges, through listing rules, indices and other actions, are key players in helping to drive this new investment toward the sustainable development outcomes envisioned in the SDGs,” Zhan added.

KRX CEO presenting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon with its commitment to the SSE initiative, joined by UN Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell and UNCTAD Investment and Enterprise Division Director James Zhan

As of Dec. 30, 2014 KRX had 1,905 listed companies with a combined market cap of US$1,212 billion. KRX has made efforts on ESG related issues in Korea such as enhancing corporate governance of listed companies by introducing voluntary disclosure of ESG information. They currently offer four sustainability related indices.: KRX SRI (Social Responsibility Investment Index) which includes 70 companies with high Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ratings, KRX SRI ECO made of 30 of the top rated companies in environment ratings, KRX SRI Governance made of 30 companies rated at the top for Corporate Governance and KRX Green that consists of 20 constituents that are involved in green industry, such as green certified business acquired from Korea government.

KRX has a vision of becoming a global premier exchange by 2020 and is also working towards creating an orderly capital market and achieving sustainable growth through providing trustworthy service for the society and building up effective and stable system and infrastructure.

For more information on KRX or other stock exchanges, visit the SSE factsheet page.

About the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative

Launched by Ban Ki-moon in 2009, the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative is a peer-to-peer learning platform for exploring how exchanges—in collaboration with investors, regulators, and companies—can encourage sustainable investment and enhance corporate transparency, and ultimately performance, on ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) issues. The SSE is convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

All interested parties are encouraged to visit the SSE website’s engagement page for further opportunities to advance the integration of sustainability within capital markets.

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