Leaders of stock exchanges sign sustainability commitment launched by UNCTAD Secretary-General

Rio de Janeiro, 18 June 2012 – UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi today announced a new commitment by stock exchanges to promote long-term, sustainable investment in their markets.

Leading stock exchanges listing over 4,600 companies in developed and emerging markets signed up to this new initiative. The 'founding signatories' are the Brazilian stock exchange (BM&FBOVESPA), Egyptian Exchange (EGX), Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE), Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), and NASDAQ.

Stock exchange leaders committed to the following pledge:

We voluntarily commit, through dialogue with investors, companies and regulators, to promoting long term sustainable investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance disclosure and performance among companies listed on our exchange.

The five founding signatories of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative will work together with the UN agencies, through the World Federation of Exchanges, to encourage all stock exchanges worldwide to sign up to the new SSE commitment".

The Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSE) is co-convened by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, and the UNEP. Its first high-level Sustainable Stock Exchanges Global Dialogue was opened by the UNSG Ban Ki-Moon in New York in 2009, and its second was held at the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in China in 2010. The fourth high-level SSE Dialogue will be held at the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in 2014.

The signing ceremony was one of the highlights of the 2012 SSE Global Dialogue in Rio on 18 June. The stock exchanges' public commitments are part of new work by the organizers of the SSE to increase their engagement with stock exchanges, investors, and other key stakeholders. Stock exchanges are uniquely positioned at the intersection between institutional investors, listed companies, and security regulators, and can therefore play a key role in promoting responsible investment and sustainable development.

The SSE is an important part of UNCTAD's Invest in Sustainable Development Programme, which also includes UNCTAD’s Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development, the Sovereign Wealth Funds for Sustainable Development initiative, ISAR's work on corporate transparency and accounting, as well as the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture (in collaboration with FAO, World Bank, and IFAD) and Indicators for the Investment Impact on Sustainable Development (with support from OECD, World Bank, ILO, UNDP and UNIDO). The latter two are also endorsed by the G20 leaders.

For further information, please visit the website of UNCTAD's Investment and Enterprise Division: www.unctad.org/diae, and www.SSEinitiative.org.

James X. Zhan
Investment and Enterprise Division
United Nations Conference on Trade & Development
Palais des Nations, Geneva
Tel: +41 22 9175797