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Multistakeholder Initiatives

Multistakeholder initiatives change behavior by influencing those who can do so directly (the State) or indirectly, such as a club or industry association that can use moral suasion, membership criteria, and their recommended "best practices" to encourage companies to adopt a practice. Two initiatives particularly important to the integrated reporting movement are the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE) and the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Coalition (CSRC).44

Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

As noted by Ernst Ligteringen, chief executive officer (CEO) of GRI, "Stock market regulators are uniquely placed to drive change in [the sustainability arena] by smart regulation through listing requirements."45 In most countries, the local stock exchange has regulatory powers given directly by legislation or deeded to it by the local securities commission. Because exchanges can change the behavior of every single company listed on them, they are good targets for multistakeholder initiatives. The SSE46 is one of the most important ones.47 Pressure via a stock exchange listing requirement represents a moderate form of compulsion. Although companies can choose to delist if they do not want to comply, delisting or moving to another exchange is not always easy to do. Over the past 10 years, the number of environmental and social reporting requirements led by stock exchanges around the world has increased48—the most well known of these being the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's (JSE's) "apply or explain" requirement for integrated reporting.49 To provide a platform for collaboration among investors, regulators, and companies, and to address corporate transparency-related environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, the UN launched the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative in 2009.50 Today, nine exchanges—BM&FBOVESPA, Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd., Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange, Egyptian Exchange, JSE, NASDAQ OMX, Nigerian Stock Exchange, NYSE Euronext, and Warsaw Stock Exchange—comprise the SSE Partner Exchange.51

Waygood, a driving force behind the SSE, explains, "We think that the UN has responded very well to the concerns of many responsible investors in this area. The key focus for this initiative now needs to be ensuring that the stock exchanges take effective action, which is where the Corporate Knights' study that we commissioned comes in. Personally, we still regard the integration of Integrated Reporting into listing rules as the gold standard."52 Members pledge to "voluntarily commit, through dialogue with investors, companies and regulators, to promoting long term sustainable investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance disclosure and performance among companies listed on our exchange."53 In order to push Partner Exchanges to comply with the spirit of their commitment, Aviva Investors and Standard & Poor's Rating Services commissioned CK Capital to conduct a benchmarking study of the sustainability disclosure practices of 3,972 companies listed on 45 large stock exchanges in 40 countries for the period 2 0 0 7-2011.54 Rankings are a time-honored way of influencing behavior. CK Capital's now-annual study ranked these 45 exchanges in 2013 based on the public disclosure scores of the large cap companies on each exchange.55 SSE Partners ranked low have an incentive to improve, and non-SSE Partners have the opportunity to make a public statement about their commitment to sustainability.

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