Tim Mohin, Chief Executive of GRI and James Zhan, Director of the Investment and Enterprise Division at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), met at the GRI Standards launch event in Zurich for the signing of an Exchange of Letters on Wednesday 29 March. Having signed a Memorandum of Understanding already in 2008, GRI and the UNCTAD are deepening their collaboration and establishing a strategic partnership on responsible investment.
The UNCTAD Division on Investment and Enterprise is recognized as a global center of excellence on issues related to investment and enterprise for sustainable development. As the provider of the world’s most widely used sustainability reporting standard, GRI naturally has close ties to the investment community. GRI’s support for the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative is one example of this.
“In order to integrate sustainability deeper into investment decisions, companies need clear and consistent standards to communicate their sustainability impacts and opportunities to investors. The collaboration with UNCTAD will allow us to reach key players in the investment chain together to raise awareness on how sustainability reporting can pave the way to a green economy,” said GRI’s Chief Executive Tim Mohin, speaking at the GRI Standards launch event in Zurich.
“We are focused on working with all stakeholders to increase the level of investment going towards the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said James Zhan, UNCTAD Director of Investment and Enterprise. “We look forward to continuing our work with GRI and deepening our collaborative efforts to promote responsible investment for sustainable development.”
From transparency to performance
In addition to companies, stock exchanges also have a role to play in promoting sustainable business practices. As a multi-stakeholder learning platform, SSE explores how exchanges, investors, regulators and companies, can enhance corporate transparency. The aim of SSE is to motivate improved performance on environmental, social and corporate governance through informed investment. The Initiative is organized by UNCTAD, the UN Global Compact, the UNEP Finance Initiative and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and has already 60 partner exchanges.
GRI has already been actively contributing to the SSE Global and Regional Dialogues and is engaging with exchanges directly to support them in developing their own guidance. Globally, 35 exchanges and market regulators reference GRI in their guidance.
The partnership with UNCTAD will further strengthen GRI’s efforts to promote responsible investment practices by leveraging both organizations’ core strengths and competencies. The Exchange of Letters marks a new phase in the partnership, that also includes green finance, which has a special focus on financial products that reflect environmental considerations. As a result of this increased collaboration, GRI will support the work of the SSE to enable stock exchanges and their regulators to better promote the financing of a global transition to green economies.