World leaders have called for sustainability reporting by companies to become normal practice and for such metrics to be used by investors.
The UN Sustainable Development Summit at UN headquarters in New York has created global goals for stock exchanges, investors and companies.
The launch was celebrated with a special closing bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange rung by Fiona Reynolds, managing director of the Principles for Responsible Investment.
Reynolds was bullish about the speed at which sustainability reporting would be adopted.
Speaking from New York, she said: “Responsible investment is an inevitable agenda that is gaining momentum. This week world leaders, including the Pope have gathered in New York to commit to a sustainable future. We are definitely on the right side of history.”
She saw that while companies and investors need to embrace the sustainable development goals agreed by world leaders in New York, stock exchanges too had a key role to play in advancing transparency around sustainability reporting.
On Friday September 25, 193 world leaders committed to 17 goals aimed at ending “extreme poverty”, fighting inequality and injustice and “fixing” climate change.
Louise Davidson, chief executive at the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, said it critical that listed companies provided clear and transparent reporting on their management of environmental, social and governance matters that are material to their business.
“Many ASX listed companies already do this, but ACSI’s annual research report on sustainability reporting shows there is still plenty of room for improvement. The changes to the ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles that require companies to report on environmental and social risks from now on are definitely a step in the right direction.”