July 2014 Sustainable Stock Exchange Highlights

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UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative Welcomes Colombian Exchange 
July 22, 2014
The move signals a commitment by the Colombian exchange to encourage sustainable practices among listed companies. The Colombian exchange is the 4th largest in Latin America, and serves as president of the Ibero American Federation of Stock Exchanges (FIAB).

Thai Exchange Affirms Commitment to Promoting Social Investment 
July 28, 2014
The Stock Exchange of Thailand has launched new commitments to better enable issuers to become listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, by supporting enhanced ESG performance and disclosure, and encouraging investment in Social Enterprises by organizing conferences and workshops.

US Investment Giants ask for Increased Dialogue with Corporate Directors 
July 21, 2014
Shareholders representing more than $10 trillion in assets under management have delivered a letter to the chairman of over 1,000 public companies, asking for boards of directors to open the door to shareholder dialogue on important material matters. The group, called the Shareholder-Director Exchange, includes BlackRock, Vanguard, CalSTRS, and others. Generally, U.S. directors infrequently engage with shareholders, citing legal risks and lack of investor interest.

ACCA Presses Sub-Saharan African Exchanges to Adopt ESG Listing Requirements 
July 16, 2014
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) called for the development of meaningful disclosure requirements, citing the positive effects of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange listing rules. The report also encouraged companies to move beyond charitable activities to address the impacts of their businesses on humans and the environment.
News: http://bit.ly/Usefir
Report: http://bit.ly/1mKD5W2

ShareAction Launches Manifesto to Spur UK Fiduciary Duty Legislation on ESG 
July 15, 2014
ShareAction, a responsible investment advocacy organization, argues that the U.K. should allow pension funds to include ESG considerations in fiduciary duty, and that pension funds should increase transparency by producing annual reports on long-term portfolio resilience and by holding annual meetings similar to those run by public companies.

Increasing Regulatory Scrutiny on Dark Pools 
July 14, 2014
European regulators proposed a cap on dark pool trading, and New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Barclays’ use of dark pools, arguing that it gave high-frequency traders unfair advantages. It is unclear whether increased regulatory scrutiny will redirect capital back towards traditional exchanges.

Brazilian Companies Discuss Experience with Sustainability, as BM&FBOVESPA Announces uptick in Reporting 
July 11, 2014
A new report by BM&FBOVESPA describes the results of a series of meetings with issuers who lead in sustainability reporting. The report discusses motivations, challenges, audiences, and opportunities in completing a comprehensive sustainability report.  The report comes on the heels of the announcement that an increased number of Brazilian listed companies (currently 71%) are adhering to the voluntary “comply or explain” sustainability reporting recommendation.
Release on Sustainability Reporting: http://bit.ly/1t4ook0

Sustainability Reporting Slow to Catch on with Many Australian Issuers 
July 3, 2014
An annual study by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) found that ESG reporting for 40% of companies in the ASX 200 is non-existent or not in a form that is useful to investors.  Despite this fact, sustainability reporting in Australia continues on an upward trend.

Investor Forum Launches to Promote Long-Term Governance 
July 2, 2014
The Investor Forum officially appointed Simon Fraser, former CIO of Fidelity, as Chairman, and Andy Griffiths, Chairman of F&C Investment Trust plc, as CEO. The Investor Forum aims to highlight the “value of long-term approaches to investment,” promote “cultural change throughout the investment chain,” and form “engagement groups” to address companies failing to make long-term strategic decisions.

Institute for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Launches 
July 2014
The institute is a membership organization created by the Corporate Responsibility Group and based in the U.K. It aims to connect professionals in the corporate responsibility field with networking and continuing professional development opportunities.

Aviva Report Recommends Mandatory Sustainability Reporting by Capital Market Players 
June 27, 2014
The report, entitled “Roadmap for Sustainable Capital Markets,” calls on governments to enable investors to better evaluate ESG risks and opportunities, and to provide policy stability for a transition to a renewable economy.

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Malaysian Exchange Issues Final Institutional Investor Code 
June 27, 2014
The code is a collaboration between the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group and the Securities Commission in Malaysia. While the code is voluntary, institutional investors are encouraged to be signatories to encourage compliance. The code encourages institutional investors to consider “in the investment decision-making process…the issue of sustainability,” to engage with investee companies on long-term performance issues, and to increase transparency of investment policies and practices.

Moscow Exchanges Sets Quota for Independent Board Membership in Listing Standard 
June 9, 2014
To comply with the Central Bank’s new Corporate Governance Code, the Moscow Exchange now requires that all listed companies have at least 20% independent board members.

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SASB Opens Comment Period on Draft Standards
July 16, 2014
The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board has drafted standards for 10 industries, including Education, Restaurants, and Hotels & Lodging.   Comments are welcome until October 14th, 2014.

Nine Canadian Provinces Open Comment Period on Recommendations for Women in Leadership 
July 3rd, 2014
The recommendations include disclosure of current statistics on women in corporate leadership positions, and associated policies, practices, and targets.  Comments invited until September 2nd.

PRI Discussion Paper Opens Consultation on Long-Termism 
July 2014
The paper, entitled “Long-Term Mandates,” discusses ways in which investment firms can encourage long-term decision-making. These include corporate engagement with passive investment strategies, investment manager reporting and incentives, and risk measurement. The PRI is seeking examples of practices that foster long-term market behavior. The consultation is open until September 12th.
Report: http://bit.ly/1mUFz3s
Consultation: http://bit.ly/1n5cHY0

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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