The United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative hosted its flagship SSE Global Dialogue in Geneva, Switzerland as part of the World Investment Forum organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).  Key stakeholders from stock exchanges around the world attended this event in oder to loo over the progress that has already been made as well as shaping the future agenda for sustainability in relation to capital markets with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Discussions at the conference focused on securities regulators and sustainable development, market disclosure, market education, and sustainable financial products.

“Since its launch in 2009, the SSE was built on the demand from exchanges for a place to come together with investors, companies, regulators and policymakers to share good practices and challenges in a multi-stakeholder environment,” said James Zahn, Director of Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD. “We must use every tool at our disposal with the aim of building a world where market signals align with sustainable development objectives.”

Stock exchanges play a key role in achieving the Global Goals, particularly the Goals on gender equality, decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and production, climate action and partnerships for the Goals.

During the Global Dialogue, the SSE released its biennial Report on Progress and a new report sharing experiences of how securities regulators can support the Global Goals. So far 78 stock exchanges have signed on to promote transparent and sustainable markets by joining the SSE.  In another milestone 35 exchanges have at least one sustainability index. There has also been exponential growth in the number of green or sustainability bond listing segments, which almost tripled from five in 2016 to 13 in the third quarter of 2018.

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“The recent progress in increasing sustainable bond listings and reporting guidance is impressive — however, we must continue to build on these efforts if we are to narrow the $5–7 trillion investment gap to achieving the Global Goals by 2030,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “The new report emphasizes the important role that securities regulators play in supporting sustainability and how such efforts can support financial stability around the world. The UN Global Compact is committed to working with all stakeholders in this market in order to accelerate the push towards integrated SDG reporting and promote the development of new financing instruments to tackle the 17 Global Goals.”

Chief executives of 18 stock exchanges, chief capital market regulators, institutional investors, senior UN officials and representatives of civil society all participated in this year’s SSE Global Dialogue. Speakers included Nandini Sukumar, CEO of the World Federation of Exchanges and Paul P. Andrews, Secretary General of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.

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