A group of investors from the Ceres Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) are calling for a new listing standard that would require companies to disclose information on environmental and social issues in order to be listed in global stock exchanges. The eight issues are diversity, climate change, employee relations, environmental impact, government relations, human rights, product impact and safety, and supply chain.
The involved investors include Rockefeller & Co. Sustainability & Impact Investing Group, BlackRock, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, and the AFL-CIO Office of Investment; these members of the INCR are themselves changing their own investment practices to support improved sustainability in investments, as well as in policy. Ceres works to change market practices to focus on sustainability and environmental and social impacts.
The idea is not a new one: the United Nations created the U.N. Principles for Responsible Investment, encouraging the disclosure of environmental, social, and governance issues by companies, and in 2010, the Istanbul and Brazilian Stock Exchanges both signed. Sweden also requires similar disclosure from state-owned companies, who must provide reports on corporate responsibility activities. Hong Kong Exchange has recently released a list of sustainability performance indicators it requires from companies. Additionally, companies that wish to be listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange must provide information on sustainability. The primary difference in the INCR’s proposal is that the proposed standards would apply across all exchanges. The committee asked that investors had read the standards and submitted their comments by May 1st, 2013.