ASX meets with PRI to discuss sustainability reporting
Friday, 18 July 2014 12:25pm

Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) managing director Fiona Reynolds has met with the Australian Securities Exchange this week to urge them to sign up to the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative.

The initiative, which aims to 'educate' exchanges on ways to improve sustainability reporting, currently has ten members, including the London Stock Exchange, the Egyptian Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

Reynolds, who was chief executive of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) before taking the London-based role with PRI, said: "The Australian Securities Exchange is not involved in that initiative, and we would like them to be involved."

"It's about the exchanges committing to getting good sustainability reporting on the companies that list on the exchange." However, she said participants in the initiative were not required to do anything concrete.

"It's not compulsory. We're at the education phase. You've got to start it from the point of view of when you want to bring about change. In some cases companies are doing a whole lot around reporting, but they just don't think to report on it."

PRI's meeting with ASX comes shortly after the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) put out its annual report on sustainability reporting among ASX-listed companies.

While ACSI reported the highest level of sustainability reporting to date, it said that there was still a way to go.

"Pleasingly, this year's research shows a continuing positive trend in reporting practices, with almost 40% of companies rated in the top two categories of Comprehensive and Detailed. At the other end of the scale, however, a disappointing 40%-plus of companies still rate in the two lowest categories of Basic and No Reporting - reporting levels which are considered to be far from meeting the needs of investors," the report said.

Financial Standard contacted the ASX to discuss the meeting, but had received no details at time of publication.

However, the ASX stated in June: "The ASX is aware of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative and while not partner to it, broadly supports its objectives, and will consider its progress. The ASX does however pursue efforts regarding sustainability in other ways."

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