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In our inaugural report in this series, published in
June 2012 under the auspices of the Sustainable Stock
Exchanges initiative, we explored global sustainability
disclosure trends by introducing the first sustainability
disclosure ranking of the world’s stock exchanges.
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The report analyzed the world’s composite exchanges
using a comprehensive “all in” measure of corporate
sustainability reporting, with a specific focus on how
each exchange’s large listings compared on measures
of reporting breadth, reporting improvement rate and
reporting timeliness.
In last year’s report, we demonstrated that corporate
sustainability reporting practices diverged sharply across
the world’s composite exchanges. The Netherlands took
top spot with a score of 81/100, followed by Denmark
(81), Finland (78), Spain (77) and South Africa (75)
rounding out the top five. Thailand, Turkey, Israel,
Poland and Peru found themselves in the bottom five.
Left unexamined in last year’s report was the
relationship between sustainability disclosure
and sustainability disclosure policy.
For this year’s report, we set out to investigate this
question for companies trading on 45 stock exchanges
around the world.
While most companies disclose sustainability data
voluntarily and not as a response to policy, our
hypothesis was that the world’s top sustainability
disclosers—and, by extension, their stock exchanges—
would still be based in countries with a relatively rich
policy environment.
To test this hypothesis, we built a parsimonious
analytical framework that let us break down disclosure
policies along three dimensions: policy type, policy
clarity and policy scope. Ultimately, looking across
4 The report is available for download at this link:
the 40 countries in our sample, we sought to identify
those policy characteristics that have been historically
correlated with sustainability disclosure excellence.
In summary, this year’s report has two overall
objectives.
First, like last year’s study, this year’s report shows
which stock exchanges are home to the world’s most
advanced corporate sustainability reporters. While
our analytical window has changed marginally—to
the 2007 – 2011 period from 2006 – 2010 last year—
the methodology is effectively identical. Exchanges
are once again scored on the extent to which their
large listings disclose what we have termed the
seven “first generation” sustainability indicators:
employee turnover, energy, greenhouse gases (GHGs),
lost-time injury rate, payroll, waste and water.
And each exchange’s overall score is once again a
function of three factors: reporting breadth, reporting
improvement rate and reporting timeliness.
Because we use a standardized evaluation
framework that holds constant over time, stock
exchanges can use our study to benchmark the
quantitative sustainability reporting of their large
listings. This in turn provides a rules-based platform
for stock exchanges to compete against one another,
insofar as sustainability disclosure and corporate
transparency is concerned.
Second, unlike last year’s study, this year’s report
aims to provide first-level insight into the types
of policies that have been associated with top-
tier disclosure practices. Targeting the global
policymaking community, this section aims to
support the roll-out of smart disclosure policy.
Introduction
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