Bourse heads look at SRIDecember 2009
Stock exchange principals from around the world met in New York last month to explore ways of encouraging more responsible long-term approaches to investment.
Delegates, including heads of exchanges in Egypt, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Malaysia, South Africa, Turkey and the US, were brought together by the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) initiative and the UN Global Compact, which would both like stock exchanges to play a greater role in promoting sustainable business practices.
Ideas discussed included the extension of existing best practices – such as linking listings on stock exchanges to sustainability reporting requirements and the establishment of more SRI indices.
Jane Diplock, chair of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the trade body for regulators of the world’s securities and futures markets, told delegates she was now convinced that it was ‘smart’ for stock exchanges to take more notice of SRI issues.
Paul Abberley, chief executive of Aviva Investors, said he had ‘high hopes’ that the meeting would eventually bear fruit in the form of ‘a listing environment that requires companies to consider how responsible and sustainable their business model is’.
Attendees agreed to hold more talks on the subject in September 2010 in Xiamen, China, in parallel with the UN’s World Investment Forum, where politicians, corporate executives and investors will meet to discuss investment topics.
James Gifford, the PRI’s executive director, said improving corporate disclosure on CSR issues would ‘enhance both the reputation of markets and the investability of the companies traded on them’.
Georg Kell, the Global Compact executive director, added: ‘This is the right discussion at the right time, and I hope a forward-looking agenda on corporate sustainability reporting that matches investor demand will emerge.’
Delegates at the meeting included Peter Clifford, deputy secretary-general of the World Federation of Exchanges, and Serge Harry, executive vice-president of NYSE Euronext.
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