BOSTON, April 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sustainability advocacy group Ceres, in collaboration with BlackRock and other major institutional investors across the globe, announced an initiative to engage global stock exchanges, via the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), on a uniform standard for sustainability reporting by all exchange members.
The group released the Investor Listing Standards Proposal: Recommendations for Stock Exchange Requirements on Corporate Sustainability Reporting, which includes specific recommendations for incorporating environmental and social disclosure requirements into listing rules for publicly-traded companies. The proposal has been formally submitted to stock exchanges in conjunction with the launch of an exchange comment period that will run for several months. The WFE will collect exchanges' feedback on the Investor Listing Standards Proposal.
The proposal was developed through consultation with over 100 institutional investors from six continents, including many of the world's largest pension funds.
The start of the exchange comment period coincides with the announcement that the WFE has launched a Sustainability Working Group.
"We need a joint solution that will help bring more consistent and comparable information to all markets, and will not leave any one exchange at a competitive disadvantage for taking leadership in this space," NASDAQ OMX CEO Robert Greifeld said.
"Cross border collaboration by stock exchanges will help shift public companies towards more comparable and meaningful disclosure of ESG (environmental, social and governance) risk factors," said Gwen Le Berre, Vice President of Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment at BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager. "This will enable investors to more accurately value companies and make better informed investment decisions."
"A global standard for sustainability reporting would give investors data to assess performance and risk, while allowing exchanges and companies to address specific market regulations and cultures," added New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, trustee of the New York State Common Retirement Fund.
Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres stressed, "The time has come for a broadly-adopted sustainability disclosure standard—one that moves beyond voluntary approaches."