24 July 2013 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to a United Nations initiative which seeks to support responsible and sustainable investments.
“There are few better places than this trading floor for appreciating the realities global economic activity and investment trends. Shocks here ripple across the world, with grave consequences for the most poor and vulnerable” Mr. Ban said in his remarks just before ringing the closing bell on Wall Street to welcome NYSE Euronext to the UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative.
The Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative explores how exchanges can work together with investors, regulators, and companies to enhance corporate transparency, and ultimately performance, on environmental, social and corporate governance issues and encourage responsible long-term approaches to investment.
Since its creation in 2009, eight exchanges have joined, with nearly 13,000 listed companies in developed and emerging markets.
“The addition of the world’s largest stock exchange to this group is a significant forward step, signalling the importance and relevance of sustainability to the private sector around the world,” Mr. Ban said.
“But the world will need more exchanges, investors and companies to join forces with Governments and civils society if we are to achieve a more equitable, prosperous and sustainable future.”
“The daily index of profit and loss is a measure of the hopes and plans of people from all walks of life – from the wealthiest investors to nurses and teachers looking forward to a comfortable retirement,” the Secretary-General said.
He stressed that the private sector plays a central role in creating solutions for the world’s most pressing needs, and added that responsible business is essential to rebuild trust in markets, particularly after seeing the consequences of the global financial crisis.
Mr. Ban noted that investors are increasingly realizing that development challenges such as climate change, poverty and inequality, are long-term risks that threaten stability and businesses, and are therefore embracing social, economic and environmental sustainability.
“That is why the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment now has more than 1,200 signatories who collectively manage over $34 trillion dollars in assets,” he said. “Each has committed to incorporate sustainability into their investment decision making, ownership practices and engagement with companies.”
Mr. Ban, who will ring the NYSE bell today to close the markets, thanked NYSE Euronext for committing to the SSE initiative and urged stock exchanges around the world to follow its lead.