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Proposed Sustainability Disclosure Listing Standard for Global Stock Exchanges

This paper provides the basis for a consultation process designed to help build global investor support for a listing standard for stock exchanges on corporate sustainability disclosure. The aim is to establish key elements of a minimum global standard for corporate reporting that would allow investors to access and use sustainability data, while giving companies and exchanges flexibility to address specific market regulations and cultures. 

Asset owners and asset managers are asked to review and comment on the paper’s recommendations by May 1, 2013. This feedback will help shape a document with investor recommendations that NASDAQ OMX and Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) will use to develop further support from global stock exchanges and the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE).

In dialogues with NASDAQ OMX and several other stock exchanges, INCR members noted that the increasing integration of sustainability issues into investment decisions is hampered by inconsistent and insufficient corporate reporting. Furthermore, many companies and exchanges cite uncertainty about the specific information investors need — and how it will be utilized — as a barrier to reporting. The need for a consistent global standard was identified in order to meet the needs of global investors, and also to help ensure that stock exchanges that adopt sustainability reporting requirements are not placed at a competitive disadvantage.

Thus, NASDAQ OMX and other stock exchanges urged INCR members to develop clarity and consensus on a unified sustainability disclosure listing standard that could be adopted by all stock exchanges.

In response to these requests, the INCR Listing Standards Drafting Committee was formed to draft a proposed foundation for a global standard. The Committee’s recommendations provide a baseline for exchanges and were developed for all stock exchanges, regardless of size, location or familiarity with sustainability issues. They

should be viewed as a proposal for a minimum standard seeking to facilitate standardization both within and between markets.

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