Promote sustainable investments, Unctad urges SE Asia boursesBy Ana G. Roa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BANGKOK, Thailand—Stock exchanges in Southeast Asia including the Philippine Stock Exchange were urged by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) to commit to promoting sustainable investment.
In a symposium here Monday, Unctad secretary general Supachai Panitchpakdi called on stock markets in the region to join the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE).
The SSE initiative, launched in 2009, invites exchanges to voluntarily commit to work with investors, companies and regulators in promoting long-term sustainable investment and better environmental, social and corporate governance disclosure and performance among listed companies.
It is co-organized by Unctad, the UN Global Compact, UN-backed Principles for Responsible Investment and UNEP Finance Initiative.
“I would like the stock markets in Asean to do it,” said Supachai during the SCG (Siam Cement Group) Asean Sustainable Development Symposium in Bangkok, Thailand.
So far, the Brazilian stock exchange, Egyptian Exchange, Istanbul Stock Exchange, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and Bombay Stock Exchange have publicly committed to promote sustainable trading.
Listed companies must have disclosures on corporate sustainability, he added, stressing the importance of the private sector in achieving sustainability.
“At the moment, [there’s] the CSR scorecard in Asean and that is a good beginning,” Supachai said.
The Philippines has adopted the use of a regional scorecard to assess the corporate governance initiatives of local firms in a bid to increase investments in the country.
Further, he noted the need to educate the public about sustainable development.
“If the public is aware, they would put pressure on the business and put pressure on the government,” Supachai said.
The symposium, organized by Thai diversified conglomerate SCG, gathered the region’s leading executives who are keen on fostering sustainable businesses.
SCG, which manufactures tiles and paper in the Philippines through Mariwasa Siam Ceramics Inc. and United Pulp and Paper Co. Inc. (UPPC), respectively, has been listed by Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes as a leader in building materials and fixtures sector.
SCG’s other operations in the Philippines include CPAC Monier Philippines Inc., SCG Trading Philippines Inc., Green Siam Resources Inc., Green Alternative Technology Specialist Inc. and SCG Marketing Inc.