Four East Asian Exchanges Commit to Advancing Social Good in Capital Markets – Bringing World Total of “Sustainable Stock Exchanges” to 23
SEOUL, May 19, 2015 /3BL Media/ – Meeting in Seoul, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the CEO of the Korea Exchange today announced the commitment of the Exchange to promote improved corporate performance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.
The announcement followed by one day parallel commitments to the UN’s Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative, a peer-to-peer learning platform, by three South East Asian exchanges. At the SSE’s first South East Asia Regional Dialogue, hosted by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), the Hanoi, Hochiminh (Viet Nam) and Malaysia Stock Exchanges all announced Public Commitments to promote long-term sustainable investment in their markets and improved ESG disclosure and performance among companies listed on their exchanges.
Since inviting exchanges to officially partner with the SSE, there are now 23 Partner Exchanges. SET joined in July 2014, as the first in Asia, and the East Asian total of partner exchanges now stands at five.
Opened by Thai Minister of Finance H.E. Sommai Phasee, the event involved high level policy makers and capital market regulators, including the president of SET, Ms. Kesara Manchusree, along with her counterparts from Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Viet Nam. Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission’s Secretary General and Vietnam’s State Securities Commission Deputy Chairman were both on hand, as was one of the largest institutional investors in the region, Mayasia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad.
SSE will inaugurate further high-level dialogues around the world in 2015 to bring private capital market actors’ support to major inter-governmental negotiations forthcoming on sustainable development goals and on climate change, respectively.
The SSE initiative is convened by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP-FI) and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). Interested parties are encouraged to visit the SSE website for more information on specific exchanges’ sustainability efforts and further opportunities to advance the integration of sustainability within capital markets.
UN Global Compact
Manager of Investor Engagements with the UN Global Compact
Co-Coordinator of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative
Statements from stock market leaders and UN officials, 18 May
“Bursa Malaysia is pleased to join the other global exchanges on the SSE platform as a Partner Exchange. This integrates well with our existing agenda and commitment to stepping up our efforts in promoting sustainable practices in our marketplace. The conversation on sustainability started almost a decade ago with the introduction of the Bursa Malaysia Corporate Responsibility framework in 2006, leading on to the introduction of ASEAN’s first globally benchmarked Environment, Social & Governance index (“ESG Index”), the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia ESG Index (“F4GBM index”) in December last year. The F4GBM index will be the reference point and benchmark that companies can aspire to in efforts to step-up the standards in stakeholder value creation and allow for investors to take into consideration non-financial aspects such as a company’s environmental and societal initiatives. Our joining as SSE Partner Exchange also complements our ongoing efforts in promoting sustainable practices, which includes mandatory reporting, issuances of guides, advocacy and training. We look forward to participating in the SSE initiative as a global forum for sharing best practices on sustainability and capital markets.”
Dato’ Tajuddin Atan, Chief Executive Officer of Bursa Malaysia
“Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) is honored to join 19 leading exchanges around the world to become a partner of the UN’s Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative. Sustainability has been increasingly recognized as an important issue in capital markets. In Viet Nam, in fact, listed companies’ sustainability has been closely monitored and assessed in HOSE Annual Report Awards. Adopting the Initiative, HOSE positions itself in the focal role to promote good practices in the field, as the home to major public listed companies in Viet Nam.”
Tra Le, Deputy CEO of HOSE
“HNX recognizes that the participation in SSE will give stock exchanges an opportunity to gain more experience in enhancement of sustainable investment in global securities markets, which is in sync with the target to upgrade Vietnam’s securities market of the State Securities Commission of Vietnam. As HNX has made some achievements in promoting the Corporate Governance practice of our listed companies for the past years, we do look forward to getting much experience and knowledge from other SSE partner exchanges for successful implementation of our future cooperation plan on enhancement of Green finance.”
Trung Nguyen Vu Quang, HNX Deputy CEO
“2015 may one day be viewed as a milestone year for sustainable development. It will mark the finalisation of the Sustainable Development Goals in September and the completion of a new inter-governmental global climate agreement in December. Ahead of these, the SSE Regional Dialogue provided an unparalleled opportunity for South East Asian market leaders to explore the role of stock exchanges, together with investors, companies and regulators, in facilitating the transition to a low carbon and inclusive economy.”
Eric Usher, acting Head of the UNEP Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).
"The United Nations is now looking seriously at the question of how to finance environmental protection, meet the basic human needs of all, and end poverty for all time. The commitments made by these financial exchanges therefore becomes an important part of the social and economic equation in Asia and around the world."
Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact.
“There is a heightened interest in ESG and sustainability issues across Asian markets. The SSE is the ideal platform to facilitate vital discussion on these topics amongst policy makers and investors, as well as PRI signatories in this rapidly growing region.”
Fiona Reynolds, Managing Director of the Principles for Responsible Investment
“What we've seen this week gives us confidence in the willingness and ability of capital market leaders to promote investment in sustainable development, but to tackle the challenges embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals, more will need to be done to ensure that investment translates into sustainable development outcomes. To begin action now on the post-2015 development agenda, we will continue this series of SSE Regional Dialogues, convening capital market leaders in Scandinavia and Africa later this year.”
James Zhan, Director of UNCTAD's Investment and Enterprise Division