05 Oct 2016 Story Green economy

Singapore latest country to join UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

6 September 2016 – Singapore today became the latest member of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative as it hosted the initiative’s Fifth Global Dialogue.
Singapore joins 58 other partner stock exchanges, including the London and New York stock exchanges, in the SSE, a UN initiative that encourages sustainable investment and enhanced environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) among the world’s stock exchanges.

Singapore Exchange’s Chief Executive Officer, Loh Boon Chye, said, “SGX is delighted to join the SSE Initiative as a Partner Exchange and host to its 2016 Global Dialogue, which is the first time the event is being held in Singapore. 

“As a market operator and regulator, SGX is committed to leading the sustainability advancement in Singapore’s capital market. We look forward to both contributing and learning from the other partners of this exciting initiative.”

Today’s Global Dialogue, themed, “A New Global Agenda”, brought together representatives from 16 countries, including stock exchange chief executives, institutional investors and companies, senior government policymakers and United Nations representatives. 

The dialogue aims to shape the future agenda of work on sustainability and capital markets within the wider context of the growing role of the private sector in advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN has emphasized that achieving the SDGs will require a greater emphasis on sustainable business practices and far more investment in SDG-related sectors.

“Stock exchanges play a crucial role in driving the growing green economy so vital to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Elliott Harris, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the UN Environment New York Office.

“We welcome the commitment of the Singapore Exchange, which is putting sustainability at the heart of its business strategy,” he added. “Stock exchanges are in a unique position to help mobilize the regulations, policies and market opportunities that will support a brighter future for people and planet.”

In its 2016 Report on Progress, which provides a global snapshot of stock exchanges’ sustainability initiatives, the SSE welcomed the progress made by capital markets in the past two years, particularly the success of the SSE Campaign to Close the Guidance Gap, of which 23 stock exchanges have committed to introducing new ESG reporting guidance for issuers.

With 59 partners now in the SSE, more than 70 percent of listed equity markets have made a public commitment to advancing sustainability in their markets. Additionally, 12 stock exchanges now require ESG reporting as a listing rule, and 11 exchanges list green bonds. 

The report shows the private sector is recognizing it has an essential role to play in achieving the sustainable development goals, including: Gender Equality (SDG3); Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8); Responsible Consumption and Production (SDG12); Climate Action (SDG 13); and Partnerships for the Goals (SDG17).

Dr. Mohamed Omran, Chairman of The Egyptian Exchange, noted the pivotal role of the private sector in achieving gender equality: “You could act as a leading entity to change the wage gap, ensure equality in the workplace and to support women as leaders in the business community.” 

Nicky Newton-King, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, called on all chief executives to play an active role in the sustainable development agenda.

“If, as a leader, you are not saying, ‘I have a responsibility to promote longer term sustainability’, then we have failed ourselves and society,” she said. “We are walking uncharted territory but the time for brave action is now.”

Other partner exchanges voiced their commitment to sustainability. Nader Azar, CEO, Amman Stock Exchange, said they are “committed to raise [the] consciousness of sustainability principles among our listed companies, investors and other stakeholders in Jordan … commitment to these principles will enhance the welfare of the society, distribute the fruits of development to all classes of the society, ensure economic empowerment, and achieve better quality of life in the Jordanian society.”

The SSE Global Dialogue took place alongside the annual meeting of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which is a global conference on responsible investment, providing a platform for PRI signatories and other investment professionals to learn, network and collaborate. 

For media queries, please contact: Ms. Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: + (66 2) 2882127; Mobile: +(66 8) 17001376, Email: [email protected] 

For more information on the 2016 SSE Global Dialogue, please click here and to download the report on progress, click here

About the SSE
The SSE is a peer-to-peer learning platform for exploring how exchanges—in collaboration with investors, regulators, and companies—can encourage sustainable investment and enhance corporate transparency, and ultimately performance, on environmental, social and corporate governance issues. The SSE is convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).  For more information on specific exchanges’ sustainability efforts, how to become a Partner Stock Exchange, and further opportunities to advance the integration of sustainability within capital markets, visit www.sseinitiative.org