WFE launches sustainability working group

Stock exchange group will undertake original research, publicize its findings, promote the debate over ESG issues

A group of global securities exchanges have formed a working group to focus on sustainability issues, reflecting an effort to promote sustainable practices in the exchange industry.

The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) announced that it formed a new sustainability working group at its latest Working Committee meeting in Mumbai last week. The working group is comprised of representatives from a diverse array of global stock exchanges with a mandate to “build consensus on the purpose, practicality, and materiality of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data,” it says.

The WFE notes that stock exchanges “increasingly feel the responsibility to promote sustainable business practices among their stakeholders”; and, it says this new group will undertake original research, publicize its findings, promote the debate over ESG issues among the members of WFE and make recommendations to its member exchanges.

Various leading U.S. exchanges, including the InterContinental Exchange/NYSE, Nasdaq OMX, CBOE and CME have committed to participate; along with Europe’s Deutsche Boerse; and, BM&FBOVESPA, Borsa Istanbul, Borsa Malaysia, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, National Stock Exchange of India, and Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The group will determine its own leadership at its first meeting.

“Nasdaq OMX is a strong believer in the power of transparent data,” said Evan Harvey, Nasdaq OMX director of corporate sustainability and one of the initiators of the working group. “We salute the WFE for organizing this group and continuing to find ways to engage exchanges on ESG issues.”

“We are very pleased with the formation of the Sustainability Working Group,” said Ravi Narain, chairman of the WFE working committee. “The overwhelming interest among our members for ESG issues is a good indication for constructive future collaboration in this group, which will transcend competitors and regions in order to tackle key issues and promote best practices.”