May 2016 Sustainable Stock Exchange Highlights

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CONSULTATIONS AND DEADLINES

Malaysia Securities Commission Invites Public Feedback on Draft Corporate Governance Code
Comments due June 8, 2016
The draft Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance, last revised in 2012, segments corporate governance into two categories, a new approach that intends to encourage progression and stresses conduct and outcomes of governance best practices.

ICGN Opens Member Survey on Differential Voting Rights
Comments due June 20, 2016
The International Corporate Governance Network (ICGN) is gathering member comments in a recently opened survey to inform a position paper by its Shareholder Rights Committee.

First Set of GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards Released for Public Comment 
Comments due July 17, 2016
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is now accepting comments on its first set of exposure drafts of the GRI Standards, a restructured approach to the G4 Guidelines and Implementation Manual to enhance the quality and comparability of sustainability reporting.

US SEC Issues Concept Release on Disclosure Effectiveness, Seeks Comments on Sustainability Disclosures and Risks
Comments due July 21, 2016
Following up on a 2013 staff report, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) published a concept release to seek public comments on modernizing business and financial disclosure in Regulation S-K, including several pages of queries on ESG matters.

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UPCOMING WEBINARS AND EVENTS

Nigerian Exchange Holds Second Sustainability Seminar
June 8, 2016
Following the exchange’s first sustainability conference last year, the Nigerian Stock Exchange is now holding a seminar themed “Beyond Reporting: Real Value Proposition.” It is intended to expose participants to sustainability reporting according to GRI G4 guidelines, and will introduce disclosure guidelines for the Nigerian capital markets.

Report Launch – Mapping the Sustainability Reporting Landscape: Lost in the Right Direction
June 21, 2016
The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) are hosting a one-day event in Brussels to debate the findings of their recently released report which delves into the fragmentation of sustainability reporting in the face of increased demand for better corporate information.

Public Consultation Working Session on GRI Standards
June 28, 2016
In light of the transition from the Global Reporting Initiative’s G4 Guidelines to the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards, GRI and Edelman are hosting in-person working sessions in Chicago designed to elicit stakeholder feedback on the proposed new structure and format of the GRI Standards.

United Nations SSE Executive Dialogue on Green Finance
July 20, 2016
Held in Nairobi, Kenya, this SSE Executive Dialogue will address key elements of the new global agenda on green finance and evaluate what role stock exchanges can play. This takes place within the World Investment Forum 2016 and UNCTAD14.
Registration closes July 1, register here.

2016 SSE Global Dialogue
September 6, 2016
Held in Singapore, alongside PRI in Person, this event will enable stock exchanges and stakeholders to meet and evaluate how new global sustainable development and green finance policy agendas will impact capital markets. Registration now open, register here.

PRI in Person
September 6 – 8, 2016
In the PRI’s 10th anniversary year, this PRI in Person will be bringing the world’s leading responsible investment event to Asia for the first time since 2008. PRI in Person will take place in Singapore. Register here.

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GENERAL NEWS

Nigerian Exchange Joins Gold Community of the Global Reporting Initiative
May 25, 2016
The Nigerian Stock Exchange has been admitted to the GRI GOLD Community, made up of organizations that help GRI shape the future of sustainability, and includes the following exchanges: BM&FBOVESPA, Bolsa de Valores de Columbia, Deutsche Börse AG, Nasdaq, SIX Group AG, and Taiwan Stock Exchange. The Nigerian Stock Exchange is implementing a phased strategic plan that includes engagement with issuers and investors, development of sustainability reporting guidelines, and reporting and disclosure training and certification for stakeholders.

Financial Stability Board Adds Members to Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures
May 20, 2016
The FSB Task Force has announced nine additional members to help complete Phase 2 of the Task Force’s work, bringing the total membership to 31.

Intercontinental Exchange Shareholder Vote Sends Signal on Sustainability Disclosure to NYSE
May 20, 2016
A shareholder resolution calling for a review of Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) ESG policies and reporting at its May 13th annual meeting received 27% investor support, adding pressure to the parent of the New York Stock Exchange to recommend ESG metrics to its issuers.

Bombay Stock Exchange Extends Mandatory Business Responsibility Reporting to Top 500 Listed Companies
May 19, 2016
BSE has signed a memorandum of understanding with the GRI, extending a 2012 rule requiring business responsibility reports to be included with companies’ annual reports from the top 100 to the top 500 listed companies.

NASDAQ Director of Corporate Responsibility Weighs in on the State of Engagement by Stock Exchanges
May 18, 2016
In an opinion piece, Evan Harvey of Nasdaq shares his insights on where the market stands around sustainability disclosure and ESG listing rules, pointing out various signs that suggest an increasingly amenable atmosphere to pushing sustainability in the capital markets.

International Integrated Reporting Council Appoints Panel to Revise IR Reporting Framework
May 18, 2016
The IIRC has appointed an IR Framework Panel to recommend revisions and updates to the International <IR> Framework, chaired by Erik Breen of the International Corporate Governance Network.

Newest Carrots & Sticks Report Released on Current Status of Sustainability Reporting
May 18, 2016
The GRI follows up its 2013 report with a new edition, and corresponding public database, highlighting key findings– including a surge to 400 sustainability reporting instruments in place in 64 countries.

UK PLSA recommends Pension Funds Adopt ESG Policy
May 18, 2016
In a newly published guide, Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) Made Simple, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) recommends pension funds to adopt an ESG policy that explicitly discloses which factors are most important to the fund, how it will work with asset managers to address them, and what KPIs it will use.

BM&FBOVESPA Reflects on the Evolution of “Report or Explain” in Brazil
May 16, 2016
The Brazilian stock exchange looks at the case of voluntary “report or explain” versus mandatory sustainability reporting through the lens of the Brazilian capital markets, highlighting the latest developments and explaining the 2016 regulatory changes.

Investor and Property Groups Launch Framework on Sustainable Real Estate in Australia
May 13, 2016
A unique coalition launched a guide to help real estate investors understand and integrate ESG information into investment decisions.

Hong Kong Exchange Reports Findings of Latest Review of Issuers’ Corporate Governance Compliance
May 13, 2016
“Issuers should bear in mind that no single set of corporate governance standards will fit all issuers; and by the same token, no single explanation will apply to all issuers,” HKEX’s Chief Regulatory Officer and Head of Listings was quoted as saying in the release.

SASB Holds the Key to Incorporating ESG into Investment Decisions
May 13, 2016
A recent analysis of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s (SASB) approach to non-financial reporting finds the organization’s approach has provided standardized, comparable data that provides a clear link between ESG information and investment strategy.

Tanzania’s Stock Exchange Demutualizes, Conducts IPO, and Self-Lists
May 10, 2016
The Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange has demutualized and intends to conduct its IPO and self-list on the exchange, joining the vast majority of stock markets that are demutualized around the world. The exchange’s CEO writes about what this will mean for the country and its listed companies.

European Commission will Task Committee to Define a Framework for Implementing ESG Criteria in Key Information Documents
May 6, 2016
Financial institutions may soon be required to include ESG criteria in the key information documents (KIDs) for the EU’s €10 trillion ‘packaged retail and insurance-based investment products’ (PRIIPs) market, dependent on the results of a consultation of the European Union. (pay wall)

Growing Demand for Transparency in Companies’ ESG Practices
May 5, 2016
Companies are being motivated to change their ESG behavior by parties such as investors, regulators, and customers who increasingly factor ESG metrics into their company evaluations.

Climate Risk Reporting Trend Picks Up Steam as Shareowner Proposal Overwhelmingly Passes at Rio Tinto
May 5, 2016
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s (CalPERS) shareowner resolution requiring global mining company Rio Tinto Plc to report on environmental risks and opportunities associated with climate change passed with 99% support, providing further momentum to the movement for climate risk reporting.

SRI Financial Professionals Managing 100% Fossil Fuel Free Portfolios More Than Doubled in Three Years
May 5, 2016
Jumping from 22% in 2013 to 51% this year, the annual Fossil Fuels Divestment Survey released by First Affirmative Financial Network finds that SRI managers are overseeing more and more 100% fossil fuel-free portfolios.

Saudi Stock Exchange Readies for its Initial Public Offering
May 4, 2016
The Tadawul Stock Exchange is in the middle of naming a bank to help manage its IPO that is expected to raise more than US $500 million for a 30% stake in the company.

Global Reporting Initiative and RobecoSAM Publish Report on Materiality
May 4, 2016
The new research paper finds that there is general alignment between what companies and investors consider material and also indicates that GRI’s approach to materiality is appropriate as a basis for disclosure to investors.

Asia Funds Admit There Are Major Obstacles Preventing More Significant Socially Responsible Investments
May 3, 1016
Fund managers cite a focus on short-term returns, the high cost of ESG research, and the lack of consequences for inaction in the region.

MEPs Call For Strong Implementation of European Union Non-Financial Directive
May 3, 2016
As the EU Member States begin the process of incorporating Directive 2014/95/EU into their respective national laws, MEPs are encouraging the states to go beyond the directive’s minimum requirements to transform the Directive into a wider business standard.

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ESG INDICES AND PRODUCTS

SGX Launches Four Sustainability Indices
May 30, 2016
The Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) launched the four equity indices based on ESG criteria by Sustainalytics.

FTSE Russell Launches New Index Allowing Increased Exposure to the Green Economy
April 28, 2016
The new FTSE Divest-Invest Developed 200 Index is the first of its kind – simultaneously reducing exposure to companies associated with fossil fuels while increasing exposure to companies working to transition to a green economy.

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MANAGEMENT NEWS

Corli le Roux Elected New Head of WFE Sustainability Working Group
May 20, 2016
Taking over for Nasdaq’s Evan Harvey, Corli le Roux of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange will begin her two-year term as chair of the World Federation of Exchange’s Sustainability Working Group along with vice-chairs Sonia Favaretto of BM&FBOVESPA and Medhat Nafei of the Egyptian Exchange.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Appoints Eric Usher as New Head of the UNEP Finance Initiative
May 13, 2016
Usher has served as interim Head of UNEP FI since 2015 and brings 25 years of experience in the sustainable energy and finance sectors to the role.

Ashley Alder Appointed Chair of the New IOSCO Board
May 12, 2016
Alder, of the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong, was appointed as Chair and Jean-Paul Servais, of the Financial Services and Markets Authority of Belgium, was appointed as Vice Chair of the IOSCO Board 2016-2018.

SASB Appoints New Head of Standards Setting
May 4, 2016
Michael Kinstlick will serve as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board’s new head of standards setting, overseeing research, codification and maintenance of the SASB standards.

Patricia Espinosa Appointed as New Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)
May 3, 2016
Mexico’s Espinosa Cantellano will replace Christiana Figueres after Figueres’ six years leading the UN’s top climate body.

New Executive Director of the UNEP Confirmed
May 3, 2016
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Erik Solheim, the former Minister for the Environment and International Development of Norway, as the new Executive Director of UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme.

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