INCR’s Sustainable Stock Exchanges Working Group was formed in early 2011 to convene a group of INCR members on a monthly basis to coordinate engagement with stock exchanges regarding corporate sustainability reporting and listing standards, following the creation of the United Nations-led global effort, the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSEI), in 2009. While the SSEI facilitates ongoing discussions between these parties on stock exchange best practice, it has not taken a position on mandatory standards for sustainability disclosure. Many INCR members, however, have been strong and vocal proponents of a “floor” for stock exchanges on sustainability reporting—a minimum standard applicable to all exchanges on key aspects of ESG transparency.
Beyond INCR’s Sustainable Stock Exchanges Working Group, some of our members and staff participate in the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Sustainable Stock Exchanges Investor Working Group (SSE IWG), which was previously an ongoing engagement under the PRI Clearinghouse. This Aviva Investors-led group of PRI signatories collaborates on a quarterly basis to share stock exchange progress, and calls broadly for enhanced sustainability performance and disclosure of listed companies.
As part of Aviva Investors’ call to action on stock exchanges in January 2011 (a component of a letter-writing campaign to almost 30 exchanges on ESG issues), North America-based INCR committed to engaging with four stock exchanges (or exchange groups) regarding corporate sustainability reporting and listing standards: NASDAQ OMX, NYSE Euronext, the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, and the Toronto Stock Exchange of the TMX Group. Frankfurt-based Deutsche Börse was added to this list in mid-2011 due to the Borse’s proposed merger with NYSE Euronext at the time. Similarly, under the PRI initiative, other investors volunteered to engage with exchanges in their region or exchanges they hold in their investment portfolios. The INCR Sustainable Stock Exchanges Working Group continues to coordinate with the PRI, the SSEI, and other organizations to share best practices and lessons learned from these market-specific engagements with exchanges.