Sustainability ‘Pioneers’ Honored for Backing SDGs

Sustainability ‘Pioneers’ Honored for Backing SDGs

The mechanics of corporate disclosure were a big part of my two decades on the management team of a commercial newswire service. 

As the biggest distributor of earnings releases and other time-sensitive data, our team worked with CFOs, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications to quench an insatiable thirst from stakeholders for market-moving financial information.

Fast forward to 2016 and we’re seeing thousands of companies providing varying levels of voluntary sustainability reporting and healthy respect for the handful of stock changes that are starting to mandate disclosure of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

The executives behind those initiatives are landing plum speaking roles at high-visibility global conferences and being hailed as innovative by their peers.

At the Global Reporting Initiative’s recent event in Amsterdam, Taiwan Stock Exchange President Michael Lin said Taiwan is the first market in Asia-Pacific to implement mandatory CSR reporting that adheres to GRI’s G4 principles.

At the UN Global Compact’s Leadership Summit in New York last week, Sonia Favaretto was named a “Local SDG Pioneer” for emphasizing sustainability at Brazil’s stock exchange, BM&F BOVESPA. Favaretto is the company’s press and sustainability managing director.

Introduced last fall by the United Nations, the sustainable development goals are aimed at solving the planet’s most vexing environmental and social issues over the next 15 years. BM&F BOVESPA updated the questionnaire companies must complete to be listed in its Corporate Sustainability Index to ask how the SDGs are incorporated into company sustainability practices and strategies.

“Based on the answer, you gain more points to be included,” said Favaretto, adding that her exchange also introduced a “report or explain” policy that forces companies not publishing a sustainability report to detail why they choose to remain mum on ESG topics.

Favaretto was recognized as the inspiration behind Bovespa’s Socio-Environmental Investment Exchange a social capital market that links socio-environmental projects, listed on a virtual platform, to social investors.

Along with Favaretto, seven others were named to the UN Global Compact’s inaugural class of SDG Pioneers: Kerry Adler, founder, president and CEO of SkyPower Global in Canada; Farzana Chowdhury, managing director and CEO of Green Delta Insurance Company Limited of Bangladesh;  Zubaida Bai, founder and CEO of ayzh of India; Xiaohui Liang, chief researcher, Office for Social Responsibility, China National Textile & Apparel Council; Patrick Ngowi, founder and CEO of Helvetic Group in Tanzania; Claus Stig Pedersen, head of corporate sustainability of Novozymes in Denmark; and Ulisses Sabará, president of Beraca in Brazil. 

(Photo: Sonia Favaretto, press and sustainability managing director at BM&F BOVESPA)