Stock exchanges are being encouraged to develop climate and biodiversity disclosure guidance and advance gender equality by the United Nations and the World Bank.
The International Finance Corporation — part of the World Bank — and the UN’s Sustainable Stock Exchanges (UN SSE) have expanded a partnership to support the addressing of sustainability-related issues.
The program will improve transparency and investor confidence in stock exchanges by helping them develop sustainability reporting guidance and tools for companies. These will be linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such tools have been regularly cited as crucial to the success of impact and ESG investing.
Mary Porter Peschka, director of sustainability and gender solutions at the IFC, said: “There is a clear need to improve sustainability and climate disclosure requirements to spur investment. By connecting companies, investors and policy makers, stock exchanges can help create resilient and sustainable capital markets in a way few other actors can.”
As a result of the program’s work, the two organizations said listed companies should receive increased opportunities to access capital, particularly in emerging markets.
Additional objectives of the program include to improve female representation in business leadership roles and strengthen the sustainability practices of small and medium-sized enterprises.
The market adoption and implementation of sustainable finance products, including social bonds, green bonds, and sustainability-linked bonds will also be supported.
The IFC-UN SSE collaboration has already helped 15 stock exchanges and regulators launch national ESG reporting guidelines.
Demand for sustainable finance has increased substantially in recent years with the climate crisis, rising inequality, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic all contributing.