SOURCE: Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

September 24, 2015 13:59 ET

Stock Exchanges From Around the World Welcome New UN Sustainable Development Goals

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Sep 24, 2015) - As world leaders gather in New York to launch the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), capital market leaders gathered to welcome these new global goals on sustainability. Chief capital market regulators and CEOs of stock exchanges, investment houses, and large companies joined senior UN officials for the Sustainable Stock Exchanges' (SSE) SDG Leaders Luncheon hosted by the New York Stock Exchange.

Covering a broad range of environmental, social and economic issues, the SDGs will shape and focus the global agenda for the next 15 years. The world's governments have committed to achieving these ambitious goals, but their implementation will not be possible without concerted efforts from the private sector and new policy frameworks to promote responsible investment in sustainable development.

More than 30 high-level leaders of business and government vocally asserted that from sustainability reporting and mobilizing finance, to gender equality and global partnerships, stock exchanges have an important role to play in promoting corporate practices and facilitating investment that will advance the SDGs. Participants included leaders from Citi, Egyptian Exchange, London Stock Exchange Group, Nasdaq, Nestle, Nigeria Stock Exchange, Morgan Stanley.

The exchanges celebrated the launch of the SDGs with a special Closing Bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange. Ringing the closing bell was Executive Director of the Principles for Responsible Investment, Fiona Reynolds, and the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Mukhisa Kituyi. The SDG Leader's Luncheon marks the start of further work the SSE initiative will undertake, working in partnerships with capital market actors and encouraging the implementation of the SDGs.

To mark the occasion, four stock exchanges announced their public commitments to advance sustainability in their market and joined the SSE initiative as SSE Partner Exchanges: Colombo (Sri Lanka), Kazakhstan, Mauritius, and Rwanda.

The four new Partner Exchanges commented on joining the SSE:

"I believe that being part of the Sustainable Stock Exchange initiative demonstrates our commitment towards adopting sustainable business practices and encouraging our stakeholders to do the same," said Vajira Kulatilaka, Chairman, Colombo Stock Exchange. "We endeavor to engage with member exchanges, who are part of the initiative, and collectively work towards sustainable policy initiatives which will help capital markets across the globe create better corporate citizens in the areas of environment, society and governance." Sutheash Balasubramaniam, Director of the UN Global Compact Network Sri Lanka welcomed the news of Colombo Stock Exchange joining the SSE, saying, "This will create a new dimension to the Sri Lankan financial market that will encourage companies to integrate sustainability in a more meaningful manner."

"Kazakhstan Stock Exchange is pleased to join SSE Initiative. Undoubtedly, sustainable development of the stock market is very important to the country's economic growth," said Chief Executive Officer Yeszhan Birtanov. "By joining this initiative, we will be able to contribute much more to sustainable development of our country's economy and will gain access to additional information on sustainability that we could further distribute among our clients from financial and real sectors of Kazakhstani economy."

"We are pleased to join the SSE as a Partner Exchange. Earlier this month, the Stock Exchange of Mauritius launched a sustainability index (the SEMSI) to promote sustainable business practices amongst our listed companies," said Chief Executive Officer Sunil Benimadhu. "We now want to step up our commitment to the sustainable development cause. We are also keen to collaborate with our peer exchanges on this global platform to explore how we can help to mobilize finance in order to support the SDGs in the coming years."

"Rwanda Stock Exchange's participation in the SSE serves to confirm our commitment that our market will not be left behind in all efforts geared to building our economies and capital market in a responsible and rational manner," said Pierre Célestin Rwabukumba, Chief Executive Officer. "What we do today will shape our future; if we mean survival then we must plan sustainably and collectively, hopefully with no excuses from anyone."

About the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative
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 ESG (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 Program's Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). All interested parties are encouraged to visit the SSE website (www.SSEinitiative.org) for more information on specific exchanges' sustainability efforts and further opportunities to advance the integration of sustainability within capital markets. To get involved or learn more, please contact info@sseinitiative.org.

The SSE SDG Leaders Luncheon was sponsored by the New York Stock Exchange.

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