Sustainability, one stock at a time

By Tiffany Grabski

Peru has joined the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative after coming last in a recent ranking on Stock Exchange Sustainability.

Sustainability, one stock at a time

Peruvian Ambassador to the UN Gustavo Meza Cuadra shaking hands with James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division of UNCTAD (Photo: UNCTAD)

Despite landing at the bottom of a ranking on Stock Exchange Sustainability published by Corporate Knights (46th out of 46 exchanges), Peru announced its commitment to sustainability by joining the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative.

The announcement was made at the SSE Global Dialogue, which took place as part of UNCTAD’s 2014 World Investment Forum held in Geneva, Switzerland, from Oct. 13-16.

“We have nowhere to go, but up!” CEO of the BVL Francis Stenning said comically at the SSE Global Dialogue in response to the Corporate Knights ranking – a printed summary that had been handed out to all participants of the dialogue sitting in front him.

Based on the Corporate Knights evaluation of sustainability disclosure practices, the BVL obtained a score of 1 – the lowest possible score, next to zero. Compared to its partner exchanges in the MILA, Peru is still strides behind Chile’s exchange, earning a 54 and Colombia’s exchange with 64. But unlike Chile, it has now officially registered its interest in promoting more sustainable business practices in Peru.

Peru’s chairwoman of the Superintendencia del Mercado, Lilian del Carmen Rocca Carbajal, also participated in the panel of high-ranking officials and expressed her optimism for Peru’s participation in this initiative.

“As regulators, we can make it easier for our investors to make decisions,” she said.

In celebration of their hosting the next World Investment Forum, Peru closed this year’s forum with Peruvian-made Pisco Sours and Ceviche. (Photo: Tiffany Grabski)

By joining the SSE initiative, the Peruvian exchange has voluntarily committed to the promotion of long-term sustainable investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance disclosure and performance among companies listed on the exchange.

Adding to their interests in sustainability, Peru announced at the UNCTAD Forum’s Ministerial Meeting on Oct. 16 that they would be hosting the next World Investment Forum in Lima during March, 2016.

The World Investment Forum is a high-level, biennial, multi-stakeholder conference put on by the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) that aims to tackle the world’s key emerging investment-related challenges through dialogue and new actions.

A new focus on sustainability?

Peru is no stranger to sustainable development obstacles. What Peru knows best is mining, and mining comes with a range of social and environmental challenges.

But perhaps the situation in Peru is changing. Peru has been grabbing headlines in the environmental arena for hosting the upcoming COP20, the United Nations Climate Change Conference and the meeting spot for the parties of the Kyoto Protocol.

It also hosted the 15th General Conference for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and will now host the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in 2016, among many other high-level meetings focusing on sustainability.

It’s too soon to say what impact these headline-grabbing gatherings will have on Peru’s policies and in particular their environment, but it is certainly a space to follow.

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