GLOBAL - A group of institutional investors with some $558bn in assets under management are urging global stock exchanges to require listed companies to report how environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors impact their businesses.
The purpose of the ‘call to action' is to create an environment that would require companies to evaluate the sustainability of their business, and encourages the companies to put a sustainability strategy to vote at the annual general meetings.
Paul Abberley, CEO of Aviva Investors London, said: "As long term investors we believe that embedding environmental, social and governance factors into a company's strategy can enhance shareholder value.
"We also believe that stock exchanges can play a crucial role in helping to create more sustainable global capital markets because of their ability to directly influence and monitor the operations and strategy of companies seeking to access the equity markets. We are sending a strong signal that, all things being equal, Aviva Investors would prefer to trade on stock exchanges that maintained this listing provision."
Aside from Aviva, other backers include the Fonds de réserve pour les retraites, SNS Asset Management, Triodos Investment Management, Mn Services, The Co-operative Asset Management, Northwest & Ethical Investments and Ceres.
According to Aviva investors, "aside from a few notable examples such as the Singapore, Johannesburg and Istanbul Exchanges, it has yet to see a serious commitment from stock exchanges to make changes to their listing rules".
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