Innovation in Stock Exchanges

Driving ESG Disclosure and Performance

In their recent article these authors discuss how stock exchanges are in a unique position to promote ESG transparency and leverage their institutional capacity to build more sustainable capital markets. To facilitate the quick uptake of material ESG disclosure and raise the quality and comparability of the data, the Athens Stock Exchange has created ESG guidelines for listed companies that will be published in the summer of 2019.

One important feature of the guidelines is their degree of sectoral specificity and emphasis on materiality. The guidelines and supporting metrics they propose are based on reporting practices endorsed by international sustainability standards like the SASB’s industry standards. This materiality-oriented approach will help issuers focus on the sustainability value drivers inherent in their business, and so ensure that corporate ESG disclosures satisfy the demand of investors for comparable quantitative and accounting metrics that help companies communicate their commitment to long-term value creation.