NASDAQ to promote sustainability disclosure

By Robert Kropp

[This article has been corrected to indicate that the source of a quote that the exchange has no sustainability-reporting mandates was the New York Stock Exchange, not the NASDAQ OMX. GreenBiz regrets the error.]

It may indeed by the case that too little of a legally binding nature was agreed upon at last month’s Rio+20 conference on sustainable development. But it may also be true that the proliferation of outside voices calling for meaningful action indicates that sustainability has become a core value for many.

One accomplishment reached at the conference was an agreement by five members of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative to promote reporting on environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) risks and opportunities by listed companies.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), one of the exchanges involved in the agreement, already requires its more than 450 companies to produce integrated reports, which combine financial data with reporting on ESG issues. Another, the Brazilian BM&FBOVESPA, adopted a comply-or-explain policy earlier this year, recommending that its listed companies either state that they publish a regular sustainability report and where it can be accessed, or explain why they do not do so.

Of particular interest to U.S.-based investors is the involvement of the NASDAQ OMX in the agreement. Sandy Frucher, the exchange’s Vice-Chairman, said it would “work together with the other founding signatories…through the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) to encourage all exchanges to sign up to the new SSE commitment.”

However, another major U.S. exchange has declined to join the effort. A spokesperson for the New York Stock Exchange told Bloomberg, “We don’t have any mandates for our listed companies in terms of sustainability reporting. We don’t have a position on that.”

And while the commitment by the exchanges was welcomed by institutional investors — Steve Waygood of the UK-based Aviva Investors said, “For some years we have made it clear that Aviva Investors would prefer to trade on exchanges that embed better ESG disclosure in their listing rules” — Mindy Lubber of Ceres noted that the agreement “stopped short of embracing disclosure as listing requirement.”

On the other hand, Lubber wrote, “Major institutional investors are integrating sustainability considerations into their investment decisions, especially evaluation of risk and long-term value creation of stronger sustainability performance.”

“Some of the momentum we are seeing in Rio is clearly the result of a push by networks of institutional investors for stronger disclosure,” she continued.

The other signatories to the commitment to promote sustainability are the Istanbul Stock Exchange and the Egyptian Exchange.

This article originally appeared at

Source URL:

Upcoming Events & Seminars

More Events »

Whipp Tips & News

Switch IPO the latest to limit investor voting rights

As many of 15 percent of U.S. IPOs in recent years have used dual share classes meant to give insiders outsized voting rights, according to the Council of Institutional Investors.

Details »

Wells Fargo executives, board must face lawsuit over fake accounts, federal judge says

Details »

As Ford pushes into electric vehicles, U.S. union aims to save jobs

Ford’s presentation to investors this week under new chief executive Jim Hackett, included a slide touting a 30 percent reduction in “hours per unit” to build electric vehicles.

Details »

More News »

The information in this website was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however, we cannot guarantee that the information is accurate or complete. The information provided is a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment advice or solicitation to buy or sell securities.

Leede Jones Gable Inc. is a
Member of IIROC and the Canadian Investor Protection Fund
Stephen Whipp is a member of the Responsible Investment Association