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IFC and the U.N. to support stock exchanges and companies in emerging markets

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (UN SSE), announced an expanded partnership to support stock exchanges and companies in emerging markets in addressing sustainability-related issues, including developing climate and biodiversity disclosure guidance, and advancing gender equality. 

The 2030 target for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the climate crisis, rising inequality, and efforts to build back better following the COVID-19 pandemic have spurred a growing demand for sustainable finance. The IFC – UN SSE collaboration aims to help stock exchanges address this demand by providing technical assistance and guidance to exchanges on sustainability issues and climate change. The program will help stock exchanges develop sustainability reporting guidance and tools for companies, which improves transparency and investor confidence and increases opportunities for companies in emerging markets to access capital.  

Additionally, the program will focus on efforts to improve women in business leadership roles and strengthen the sustainability practices of small and medium enterprises. It will also support the market adoption and implementation of sustainable finance products, including gender bonds, green bonds and sustainability-linked bonds.

“There is a clear need to improve sustainability and climate disclosure requirements to spur investment. By connecting companies, investors and policy makers, stock exchanges can help create resilient and sustainable capital markets in a way few other actors can,” said Mary Porter Peschka, Director, Sustainability and Gender Solutions, IFC. “IFC looks forward to its continued efforts with UN SSE to help stock exchanges in emerging markets become leaders on sustainability and transparency.”

The expanded program will leverage results to date from the IFC – UN SSE collaboration, which has helped 15 stock exchanges and regulators launch national ESG reporting guidelines, including the most recent Johannesburg Stock Exchange Sustainability and Climate Disclosure Guidelines. Following the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), IFC, UN SSE and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) have delivered climate disclosure trainings, helping to improve the knowledge of over 7000 participants in 27 countries. The program also recently issued updated guidance on how stock exchanges can advance gender equality. 

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“We are pleased to strengthen our collaboration with IFC. Since we first signed our Exchange of Letters in 2018, the level of collaboration between UN SSE and IFC has increased significantly. Our collaboration efficiently leverages each other’s complementary strengths and ultimately makes us better positioned to serve our beneficiaries and achieve the SDGs established by UN member States,” said Anthony Miller, Coordinator, UN SSE.

IFC’s Beyond the Balance Sheet Disclosure and Transparency Toolkit, supported by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), and the UN SSE’s Model ESG Reporting Guidance and Model Guidance on Climate Disclosure underpin the efforts of the collaboration, providing guidance on integrating financial and non-financial information in corporate reporting, communications, and disclosure practices. As a result, the program promotes a transparent culture and more responsible investments in emerging markets.

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