(6 May 2019, Geneva, Switzerland) The United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative hosted a day-long roundtable meeting of the joint SSE and World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) Advisory Group to evaluate how stock exchanges can embed sustainability into business operations. The meeting, which took place at the UN Headquarters in Geneva, brought together stock exchange and investor representatives in order to review the zero draft of a new guidance being developed by the SSE and WFE.
The meeting was opened by Mr. James Zhan, UNCTAD Director of Investment and Enterprise and Chair of the SSE Governing Board, where he noted the crucial role of providing further guidance to exchanges, and highlighted the progress made by UN SSE since its launch in 2009.
“With nearly 90 stock exchanges now working with the SSE, we now look to this group to guide capital markets worldwide towards a more sustainable and transparent future,” said Mr. Zhan.
“This guide will help us within our exchanges to engage not only our stakeholders, but also our board members and our listed companies as we set an example for the market,” said Ms. Olga Cantillo, Chairperson of the SSE/WFE Advisory Group and CEO of the Panama Stock Exchange.
Ten years after the launch of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, stock exchanges world wide are making concerted efforts to engage markets and integrate sustainability into mainstream financial practices. The 2018 SSE Report on Progress illustrates the dramatic growth in activities supporting sustainable and transparent markets worldwide (see Figure 1). Cementing this trend as the new ‘business as usual’ for exchanges, the World Federation of Exchanges launched their “Principles for Sustainable Exchanges” in 2018.
Focusing on Principle 5 of the WFE’s Principles for Sustainable Exchanges, the SSE and WFE have convened an Advisory Group that will seek to identify current best practices and distill these into practical suggestions for stock exchanges. WFE Sustainability Principle 5 states: “Exchanges will establish effective internal governance and operational processes and policies to support their sustainability efforts”.
About the SSE
The Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, launched in 2009 by the UN Secretary General, is a UN Partnership Programme of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The SSE convenes stock exchanges who join by signing a voluntary public commitment and it currently has 78 Partner Exchanges worldwide. It provides Model Guidance on ESG disclosure for stock exchanges to help with the preparation of ESG reporting guidelines. The SSE has three inter-related pillars of activity: research, consensus building and technical assistance.
About the WFE
The WFE is the global industry group for exchanges and clearing houses (CCPs) around the world. The WFE represents over 250 market-infrastructures ranging from those that operate the largest financial centres to those that run frontier markets. The WFE seeks to ensure regulatory outcomes that foster well-functioning capital markets and reinforce systemic stability in addition to developing markets. Together with its members, the WFE creates and agrees upon best practices and standards for the industry.