GLOBAL - A coalition of responsible investors with $558bn (€436bn) in assets under management will write to the chief executives of global listing authorities and stock exchanges to demand that sustainability reporting become embedded within listing rules.
Paul Abberley, chief executive at Aviva Investors London, said: "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."
The call to action is part of a broader engagement initiative launched by Aviva Investors and facilitated by the UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) last year.
Its aim is to promote a global listing environment that requires companies to consider how responsible and sustainable their business model is and encourages them to put a forward-looking sustainability strategy to the vote at their AGM.
Aviva Investors said it had yet to see a serious commitment from stock exchanges to make changes, aside from a few notable examples such as the Singapore, Johannesburg and Istanbul Exchanges
A study commissioned by the asset manager on the sustainability practices of the world's leading 30 exchanges by market capitalisation found that 57% of exchanges provide no sustainability reporting guidance for listing companies.
It also found that although 70% of those surveyed agreed exchanges did have a responsibility to encourage greater corporate responsibility on sustainability issues, only 25% would consider altering listing rules to oblige companies to assess how responsible and sustainable their business model was.
The coalition to date includes Aviva investors, French reserve fund FRR, SNS asset management, Triodos Investment Management, Mn Services, The Co-operative Asset Management and Northwest & Ethical Investments.
Elsewhere, the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) has issued guidelines to help pension funds understand the climate risks and opportunities in their property portfolios.
Based on current work from the , the guidelines provide pension funds and other investors with a set of questions to ask their property fund managers.
The guidelines also inform property fund managers about the environmental data they will increasingly likely have to provide to their pension fund clients.