March 2014 Sustainable Stock Exchange Highlights

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GENERAL NEWS

Thai Exchange Teams up with RobecoSAM to Offer Sustainability Training for Listed Companies 
March 27, 2014
The training, a partnership of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and RobecoSAM, is intended to improve sustainability reporting and performance of Thai-listed companies, preparing them to participate in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
http://bit.ly/1dU2VPx

EIRIS Shares Views on Borsa Istanbul Workshop on New Sustainability Index 
March 27, 2014
Stakeholders, including EIRIS and the United Nations-led Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, came together to discuss Borsa Istanbul’s new BIST sustainability index, and lessons learned from such launches. EIRIS shares its views of the gathering as a consultant to Borsa Istanbul in the index’s development.
http://bitly.com/QzKRVY

NASDAQ CEO Says US Regulators not Likely to Prohibit High Frequency Trading, FBI, Opens Investigation of Market Practices 
March 27, 2014
NASDAQ OMX and the New York State Attorney General both highlight the unfair consequences of high frequency trading (HFT), but NASDAQ CEO Robert Greifeld notes that banning HFT would make trading more expensive and difficult for investors, and lead to wider bid-ask spreads. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation opens an inquiry into trading on non-public information.
http://reut.rs/O9oFA3
http://on.wsj.com/1jthqiH (FBI Investigation, March 31)

World Federation of Exchanges Launches Sustainability Working Group 
March 25, 2014
The working group will discuss potential collaboration in improving the sustainability disclosures of listed companies. Members include the Shenzen Stock Exchange, National Stock Exchange of India, NYSE, CBOE, InterContinental Exchange, Borsa Malaysia, NASDAQ OMX, and others.
http://bit.ly/1jfXZJO

ISS Aids Chinese Regulators and Exchanges in Move Towards Corporate Governance Code 
March 20, 2014
Partnering with the China Securities Regulatory Commission and both Chinese stock exchanges, Institutional Shareholder Services is soliciting feedback from institutional investors on the current state of dialogue between investors and Chinese companies. The results of the survey, which was conducted during March, will be used to guide the development of a corporate governance code in China.
Survey: http://svy.mk/1m3QUMw

Robust Governance Standards in Emerging Markets Prompting Foreign IPOs to Seek US Exchanges 
March 17, 2014
Chinese firms Alibaba and Sina Weibo’s decision to list on US exchanges sheds light on increasingly rigorous governance standards in emerging markets. In this case, these companies sought to avoid the provisions of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission on majority board nominations by partners, dual-class shares, and voting rights.
Alibaba: http://bit.ly/1diPayM
Weibo: http://nyti.ms/1nUa8c3

Integrated Reporting Requirement in South Africa Embraced
March 6, 2014
According to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, South Africa’s requirement that all listed companies produce integrated reports is changing corporate practices and improving South Africa’s reputation in global markets. A group of companies, including Gold Fields and Eskom, say that the mandate leads to improvements in policies, practices, and financial outcomes.
http://bit.ly/1l8cBuQ

Japan’s Meti Recognizes Firms that Encourage Women in the Workplace 
March 3, 2014
The Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), in an effort to further encourage women’s success in the workplace and set an example for other companies, has awarded the “Nadeshiko Brand” to 26 listed firms.
English: http://bit.ly/PXNX5U
Japanese: http://bit.ly/1diGDfz

BM&FBOVESPA Launches Program to Provide Voluntary Feedback for Companies on Sustainability Performance 
February 26, 2014
Brazil’s Corporate Sustainability Index (ISE) added the Simulado program to existing provisions aimed at evaluating and encouraging issuer sustainability reporting. The Simulado program will allow all listed companies to confidentially submit and receive comments from BM&FBOVESPA on their sustainability data without formally applying to be in the ISE portfolio.
http://bitly.com/NWO3JM

GRI Launches G4 Content Index Tool 
February 2014
The Global Reporting Initiative has launched a G4 Content Index tool and a G4 Brochure for New Reporters to assist companies in moving towards the new guidelines.
Media: http://bit.ly/OoFwiy
Press Release: http://bit.ly/1h1KSHU

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LISTING STANDARDS AND GUIDANCE

Australian Exchange Releases Revised Corporate Governance Principles with new ESG Component 
March 27, 2014
The Australian Securities Exchange’s revised corporate governance code now requires issuers to state ESG risks amongst several other recommendations, following a comment period that began in August 2013.
http://bit.ly/1kjkgFn

Malaysia to Issue Guidelines on Socially Responsible “Sukuk” Spending 
March 12, 2014
As the sukuk sector expands for Islamic bonds, Malaysia’s Securities Commission aims to provide additional guidance on how monies raised from sukuks should be spent.
http://reut.rs/1cXJxR8

TSX Publishes Updated and Expanded Guidance on ESG Disclosure 
March 5, 2014
A Primer for Environmental & Social Disclosure, published by the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, provides updated guidance on ESG disclosure, guidelines for corporate conduct, and interpretations of existing mandatory disclosure requirements.
http://bit.ly/1cXvLxV

EU Parliament and Council Agree on Non-Financial Disclosure Requirement
February 26, 2014
The financial accounting directive would require improved disclosure on environmental, social, and governance issues in management reports and would apply to firms with more than 500 employees. In April, the EU Parliament will vote on the measure, and EU member states will hold a vote subsequently; both bodies must approve the measure for it to become law.
Press Release: http://bit.ly/1gqg5UF
Press Release: http://bit.ly/1dRtBn4

Brazilian Regulator (CMV) Supports Shareholders’ Right to Propose Directors 
February 21, 2014
Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CMV) recommended that companies include directors nominated by minority shareholders in their AGM materials.
Related: http://bit.ly/1i717Xm
Press Release letter: http://bit.ly/1cTgWwi (in Portuguese)

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CONSULTATIONS, DEADLINES, AND EVENTS

Investors Launch Global Initiative to Urge Stock Exchange Collaboration on Sustainability Reporting 
March 27, 2014
US sustainability advocate Ceres announced that the Investor Initiative for Sustainable Exchanges (IISE), which includes Blackrock and other global institutional investors, has proposed a set of recommendations on sustainability listing standards for stock exchanges.  The IISE, in collaboration with the World Federation of Exchanges, has opened a formal comment period for exchanges on this proposal.  The comment period closes on June 23, 2014.
http://bit.ly/1jE2hNQ

Toronto Governance Exchange Conference to be Held This April
March 20, 2014
On April 9, Global Governance Advisors will host the first Toronto Governance Exchange event in partnership with the Toronto Stock Exchange and Canadian Society of Corporate Secretaries. This event will convene industry and governance experts to discuss topics including cybersecurity, the role of shareholder activism, proxy infrastructure rules, and executive compensation.
http://bit.ly/1dpyx4Q

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ESG INDICES AND PRODUCTS

Shanghai Exchange Explores Carbon Index, Asks Regulators to Require GHG Emissions Disclosure 
March 27, 2014
In preparation for the possible launch of a carbon index, the Shanghai Exchange intends to rank companies based on carbon emissions per yuan earned.
http://reut.rs/OYTEzR

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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 

 

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