25 June 2004
Investment Houses Endorse Assessing Businesses on Social, Environmental Performance, at United Nations Global Compact Summit
Stock Exchanges Also Join Compact
NEW YORK, 24 June (Office of Global Compact) -- Twenty major investment companies -- including Banco do Brasil, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Morgan Stanley -- have endorsed connecting financial markets to environmental, social and governance criteria, and agreed to bring other actors in the financial world into play on making these factors standard components in the analysis of profitability and investment decision-making. The 20 companies control $6 trillion in assets.
Their report on Recommendations by the financial industry to better integrate environmental, social and governance issues in analysis, asset management and securities brokerage was issued today at a summit meeting of the United Nations Global Compact, the United Nations Secretary-Generals initiative with the private sector. The meeting is attended by hundreds of chief executive officers (CEOs) and civil society and labour leaders, and chaired by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Companies with global vision, whether in developed or developing countries, are realizing that stakeholder engagement and corporate citizenship are tools for risk management, and for a more effective response to rapidly changing international business environments, said John Ruggie, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General, at an advance press briefing at the United Nations.
Such long-term considerations should be taken into account as much as short-term factors, Mr. Ruggie said, noting that the United Nations Global Compact offered special attributes in that regard -- universally agreed principles on the environment, human rights, labour, and anti-corruption.
A complementary report on "The Materiality of Social, Environmental and Corporate Governance Issues to Equity Pricing" was also issued today, by the United Nations Environment Programmes Finance Initiative. The report presents eleven case studies from investment companies working in this area.
Stock Exchanges Enlist
Also at the 24 June Global Compact Leaders Summit, there was an announcement of an agreement by 10 world stock exchanges to actively share information on the Global Compact with their listed companies, and to explore other modes of cooperation with the Compact. The 10 exchanges carry a combined market capitalization of $3 trillion.
In addition, the Brazilian stock exchange Bovespa and the Jakarta Stock Exchange announced that they will join the Global Compact at the 24 June Summit, becoming the first two stock exchanges to do so. Participation in the Global Compact entails adhering to and promoting universally agreed United Nations principles in company practice.
Since the first Global Compact summit in June 2000, the number of firms participating in the Compact has risen from slightly over 50 to more than 1,500. International civil society and labour organizations are represented as well.
United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Klaus Toepfer appeared today at the announcement of the financial institution initiatives, along with Walter Kielholz, Chairman, Credit Suisse Group; Anthony Ling, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs; Espen Klitzing, CEO of Storebrands; and Izalco Sardenberg, of the Bovespa stock exchange. Ambassador Serge Chappatte represented the Swiss Agency for Development, which underwrote the financial markets study.
Who Cares Wins: Connecting Financial Markets to a Changing World; Recommendations by the financial industry to better integrate environmental, social and governance issues in analysis, asset management and securities brokerage is endorsed by ABN Amro, AXA Group, Banco do Brasil, Bank Sarasin, BNP Paribas, Clavert Group, CNP Assurances, Credit Suisse Group, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Henderson Global Investor, HSBC, Innovest, ISIS Asset Managmement, KLP Insurance, Morgan Stanley, RCM, UBS and Westpac. Copies are available from the Global Compact Office, email@example.com.
For more information, contact Gavin Power, tel.: 1 212 963 4681, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Matthias Stausberg, tel.: 1 917 367 3423, e-mail: email@example.com, of the Global Compact Office; or Tim Wall, Development Section, UN Department of Public Information, tel.: 1 212 963 5851, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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