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EUROPEAN COUNCIL FORMALLY ADOPTS NON-FINANCIAL AND DIVERSITY DISCLOSURE DIRECTIVE
September 29, 2014
The Directive will require approximately 6,000 large EU companies to disclose ESG information in their management reports. EU Member States have two years to develop national legislation to implement the Directive and reporting according to the directive will go into effect starting in fiscal year 2017.
FRENCH MARKET REGULATOR EXAMINES CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION AT LISTED COMPANIES
September 24, 2014
The Autorité des Marches Financiers (AMF) found that 43% of the 60 companies analyzed do not apply all recommendations on directors’ independence. Additionally, the report found full implementation of the recent “say on pay” rule, and found that nearly 93% of resolutions were approved.
COMPANIES AND INVESTORS TEAM UP ON STATEMENT LINKING CLIMATE CHANGE AND FIDUCIARY DUTY
September 23, 2014
The Climate Disclosure Standards Board, in partnership with the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative, has organized a joint statement of investors and companies noting that climate change disclosure is currently lacking but critical, and signatories commit to help drive better reporting through using common reporting frameworks, and that such disclosure is part of one’s fiduciary duty.
Read the Statement: http://bit.ly/1rIzlq5
CDSB Release: http://bit.ly/1thT2C7
“SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING FALLING SHORT”
September 23, 2014
The article argues that while sustainability reporting has become mainstream, the quality and consistency of reporting is not conducive to analysis, and companies often overemphasize positive performance.
CORPORATE CSR OFFICER ASKS: IS SUSTAINABILITY REPORTING DRIVING CHANGE?
September 11, 2014
The author, a corporate responsibility director at a major company, argues that some sustainability frameworks and reports expect such a comprehensive quantity of information that it is difficult to compare companies and prioritize indicators and issues. The author believes that a more streamlined approach to disclosure would benefit companies and incentivize performance improvements.
THAI EXCHANGE JOINS SSE INITIATIVE
September 10, 2014
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) became the first Southeast Asian exchange to join the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative. SET provides guidance and training on sustainability to its issuers. This announcement reflects SET’s continued commitment to improve corporate sustainability in its market.
NEW STUDY FINDS HIGHER STOCK PRICE MEANS LESS HIGH FREQUENCY OWNERSHIP
September 9, 2014
A recent Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre (CMCRC) report shows that a lower ticker price correlates with increased activity of high frequency trading. The research has implications for companies who wish to encourage longer-term ownership.
MEXICAN EXCHANGE (BMV) JOINS UN GLOBAL COMPACT, COMMITS TO CARBON NEUTRAL EVENTS
September 8, 2014
The decision to join the Global Compact signals BMV’s intention to promote the Compact’s principles, which include promoting human rights, addressing environmental challenges, and preventing corruption. BMV also received the “Neutral Carbon” seal of approval from the Mexican Carbon Platform, for purchasing offsets for the carbon emissions of all of its corporate events in 2014.
Global Compact Announcement: http://bit.ly/1myWaw3
Carbon Neutral Announcement: http://bit.ly/1rqml8F
PENSION FUNDS SUE EXCHANGES OVER HIGH FREQUENCY TRADING
September 8, 2014
A US-based lawsuit alleges that exchanges have been offering advantages to high frequency traders, including special orders and allowing clients’ computer servers to be placed in exchanges’ data centers. Defendants include the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, BATS global markets, and Barclays.
DEUTSCHE BORSE CONDUCTS RESEARCH ON ESG REPORTING BY LISTED COMPANIES
September 3, 2014
The exchange analyzed companies in its DAX 30 index, which includes the largest companies on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. Results and sustainability analytics are accessible on an online portal hosted by the exchange.
GRI Press Release: http://bit.ly/1vmb2h2
S&P LAUNCHES MULTIMEDIA CLIMATE CHANGE FEATURE
The online feature compiles research and articles on topics including green bonds, climate impacts on sovereign ratings, and extreme weather’s effect on the insurance industry.
HIGH FREQUENCY TRADING REPORT DESCRIBES CHALLENGES AND OFFERS SOLUTIONS
The report, jointly produced by the Investor Responsibility Research Center and the Stevens Institute of Technology, provides an overview of high frequency trading, and argues that traders who can receive quotes before they become generally available should be registered and regulated as specialists.
SHAREHOLDERS WITHDRAWING MORE PROPOSALS
Recent Conference Board research indicates that in the 2014 proxy season, shareholders withdrew nearly 12% of their resolutions at Russell 3000 firms, compared with 6% in 2012. This statistic may suggest that corporations are increasingly inclined to engage with investors. The Conference Board also notes that there is a “fundamental shift in the types of resolutions shareholders submitted to a vote…” and “that activist investors have become more sophisticated in their use of technology and social media to agitate for corporate change outside of the AGM.” It also found that companies are “increasingly likely to implement precatory shareholder proposals on corporate governance that have received majority support.”
SINGAPORE FORMS DIVERSITY ACTION COMMITTEE TO BUILD POOL OF FEMALE DIRECTORS
August 29, 2014
The committee was founded with the goal of increasing female representation on corporate boards. It will be headed by Singapore Exchange’s CEO Magnus Bocker, and includes CEOs, the Permanent Secretary for Finance and Performance, and the chairman of the Singapore Business Federation, among others. The committee aims to issue 10 specific recommendations related to the nomination process, and to help match suitable candidates to companies.
LONG-TERM STOCK OWNERSHIP INCREASING, ACCORDING TO NASDAQ REPORT
August 4, 2014
A NASDAQ survey of 8,000 investors found that though investors perceive their own firms to be more short-term-focused since the 2008 crisis, investors are increasingly putting money into low-turnover funds. The report found that 1/3 of all U.S. dollars invested by asset managers is in low-turnover portfolios, three times the amount invested in such portfolios in 2008.
CFA MEMBERS SUPPORT INCREASED CORPORATE DISCLOSURE OF POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT
A recent survey finds that 88% of CFA members believe corporations should be required to disclose monetary political spending and associated policies.
CORPORATE-INVESTOR ENGAGEMENT SKYROCKETS AMONG LARGE US COMPANIES
An Ernst & Young report finds that in 2014, 50% of S&P 500 companies disclosed engagements with investors, up from 6% in 2010, and 23% in 2012. 53% of these engagements resulted in companies taking action.
CANADA POISED FOR NATIONAL FINANCIAL SECURITIES REGULATIONS
September 8, 2014
Four Canadian provinces and the central government finalized a memorandum of understanding agreeing to the terms of the Cooperative Capital Markets Regulatory System. The public is invited to comment on drafts of national legislation until November 7, 2014.
Draft Legislation: http://bit.ly/1wV0Zk9
HKEX CONSIDERS WEIGHTED SHARES
August 29, 2014
After Alibaba’s high-profile decision to conduct its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, in part due to less stringent governance requirements, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) has begun evaluating the possibility of allowing listed companies to offer shares with weighted voting rights. HKEX is seeking comments on the concept paper by Nov. 30, 2014.
GRI TO HOST WEBINAR ON IMPLICATIONS OF EU NON-FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE DIRECTIVE FOR US COMPANIES
UPCOMING: October 27, 2014
The webinar will provide an overview of the Directive on the Disclosure of Non-financial and Diversity Information, which was adopted in April 2014 by the European Parliament, and will describe how it may affect a company’s operations.
WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM INCLUDES SSE GLOBAL DIALOGUE
UPCOMING: October 13-16, 2014
The UN Conference on Trade and Development is hosting the 2014 World Investment Forum in Geneva, with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Global Dialogue happening on Oct. 14th as part of that week.
TSX HOSTS CLEANTECH INVESTOR DAY
September 18, 2014
The Toronto Stock Exchange, in partnership with Sustainable Development Technology Canada, hosted an event focused on clean technology for companies and investors. The annual event, which began in 2008, follows the sector’s highest valuation ever, and the announcement that for three consecutive years, the Renewable Energy and Cleantech Index has outperformed the S&P/TSX Composite and the S&P/TSX 60.
ESG INDICES AND PRODUCTS
LARGE INVESTORS BACK MSCI LOW-CARBON INDICES
September 16, 2014
Sweden’s AP4, France’s FRR, and asset manager Amundi commit to invest up to $1B US in strategies using MSCI’s new series of low-carbon indices as benchmarks for their passive investment mandates.
15TH DOW JONES SUSTAINABILITY INDEX RESULTS ANNOUNCED
September 11, 2014
S&P Dow Jones, and RobecoSAM released the index of leading “sustainability-driven companies.” For this year’s index, Bank of America and General Electric have been dropped, while Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline have been added.
THOMPSON REUTERS RELEASES CSR INDICES
Thompson Reuters, in partnership with S-Network Global Indexes, released a series of ESG indices which focus on analysis of numerical ESG information. The indices take a “best in class” approach, where no sector is excluded from analysis.