The Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, the United Nations-backed project promoting sustainable practices at listed companies, has been boosted by news that the London Stock Exchange group has become a partner.
The LSE group operates not just the London exchange but also Italy’s Borsa Italiana, the European fixed income market MTS and the pan-European equities platform, Turquoise.
The SSE traces its growth to a meeting opened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in New York in 2009, with momentum taken forward at a high-level meeting in Xiamen, China in 2010. Exchanges backing the project include NYSE Euronext, NASDAQ OMX, Borsa Istanbul, BM&F BOVESPA, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Egyptian Exchange, the Johannesburg Exchange, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
The initiative is co-organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
The LSE group has written to the UN’s Ban, committing to work with investors, companies and regulators to promote long-term sustainable investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) disclosure.“Given our role at the heart of global financial markets, we are in a unique and privileged position to promote sustainability and corporate responsibility,” said Mark Makepeace, Group Director of Information Services at LSE. LSE owns index group FTSE, where Makepeace has championed sustainable investment via the FTSE4Good series and others. He added: “Ultimately this is about supporting stable global long-term economic growth.”
“We are in a unique and privileged position to promote sustainability”
PRI Managing Director Fiona Reynolds pointed out that just 3% of the world’s largest companies currently disclose information about their ESG performance. She said better disclosure would improve the “usefulness and comparability” of information in each market – enabling institutional investors to better manage risk and make more informed investment decisions.
The announcement comes as a group of institutional investors, including members of Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) and PRI signatories, are calling for comments on a list of recommendations to the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), which will be considered by the WFE’s new Sustainability Working Group. The SSE’s regular Global Dialogue takes place in Geneva – with the theme “Capital Markets for Sustainable Development” – on October 14.