Sustainability is the ability to endure in a way that enables the population of our planet to afford, at least, the basic quality of life. However, given that we are consuming more than is being produced, it is clear that we are living beyond the planet’s ability to support us in the future. Although sustainability deals more with protecting our future, it starts by making changes in the present. One such initiative that hopes to make a difference is the Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) initiative.
What Is the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative?
Launched in 2009, the SSE is a UN initiative. It is essentially a peer-to-peer learning platform, which explores how the stock exchange can promote global investment in sustainability. It was launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and is co-organized by UNCTAD (Investment and Enterprise division) along with the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programs Finance Initiative and the Principles for Responsible Investment.
The SSE initiative invites exchanges from around the world to become a partner Stock Exchange by pledging to promote sustainability through a mix of environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure among the listed companies.
Since its launch in 2009, the Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) initiative today includes over 60 Stock Exchanges, which represent over 70% of listed equity markets with over 30,000 companies that have a market capitalization of $55 trillion.
Why Do Stock Exchanges Join the SSE?
When it comes to sustainability, the SSE offers a global platform upon which exchanges can learn from one another and discover the challenges they face. This platform encourages all companies listed on these exchanges to invest responsibly and explore the best practices, while learning from their peers.
By joining the SSE, exchanges can benefit from a range of supporting resources for implementing sustainability, for example webinars, workshops, and publications, among others.
Stock Exchanges have the power to impact the market in a unique way. Not only can they influence investor behavior, they can also support regulators in their efforts to promote the adoption of market standards.
According to Anthony Miller, UNCTAD’s Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative Coordinator, “Market expectations are shifting quickly, and we see more and more Stock Exchanges viewing sustainability reporting as necessary and inevitable. Those expectations create their own momentum.”
Before the end of 2016, almost 21 Stock Exchanges plan on introducing reporting of environmental, social and governance issues. Further, 17 Stock Exchanges aim to introduce the new standards of sustainability reporting before the end of the year.
According to a UNCAT official, the total number of Stock Exchanges that will introduce sustainability reporting standards could rise to 38 by the end of 2016.
According to James Zhan, the Director of the Division on Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD, which is co-organizing the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, “21 Stock Exchanges have confirmed to us they will introduce new guidelines either this year or within the first quarter of next year, and we know that many of them are close because they have posted draft guidelines on their websites for comment and discussion.”
Mr. Zhan also stated that in addition to the UN and several NGOs advocating for sustainable reporting, markets themselves are demanding it, making this an important topic that companies cannot ignore. He made a valid point that when companies report on sustainability issues, they tend to act more sustainably too. According to analysts there is a strong positive correlation between sustainable performance and strong financial performance.
The UN sees the private sector as a critical factor when it comes to achieving global sustainable development goals, and the SSE is a key channel for bringing the issue of sustainability to the private sector.
While the overall number of companies that report their environmental performance is increasing, much remains to be accomplished as many corporations simply comply with CSR programs without doing much to incorporate sustainable business practices.
The sustainable development goals provide a framework for exchanges to address specific factors such as gender, economic growth, responsible production and climate change. All these goals require financial aid and the private sector can help immensely. On average, achieving sustainable development goals will require financing, which is estimated to be between 5 to 7 trillion USD annually. Along with public funding and development assistance, new flows of private capital are imperative.
In order to create a truly sustainable financial system, market incentives need to be aligned with longer-term environmental, social and governance issues. All of this must eventually be integrated into standard practices to have a lasting effect on sustainability. The Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) initiative looks ready to make a big difference to our future by tapping into the power of our financial markets. With more exchanges joining the SSE initiative, the future is looking a little bit brighter.
I’m Rachel Oliver, I have been working for the past couple of years as a freelance writer. While I like to write about all things under the sun, including energy, business, sports, home improvement and fashion, I am especially passionate about technology and electronics. Currently, I am pursuing this passion by working with Digsemi – trusted partner in electronic components. You can get in touch with me on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”