Concerns about climate change have increased the risks that investors assess when making their investments. The process is no longer limited to financial indicators and now the environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria cannot be separated from financial analysis in investment decisions. It is increasingly common for investors to request further information and measurements with ESG criteria to measure the non-financial risks.
Sustainable investment is no longer philanthropy. Sustainability is and will continue to be the new standard. Therefore, global markets have increasingly incorporated more regulations, (mandatory or voluntary) guidance and products (ETFs, green bonds, derivatives, etc.) related to sustainability. Investors are requesting more and better information to identify the possible risks that may affect their portfolios in the short, medium and long term.
In 2015, Bolsa de Valores de Colombia was not unaware of this global trend and it continued to actively work on the promotion and development of sustainability and responsible investment standards in the Colombian securities market between its market participants and the different stakeholders.
As part of the BVC’s commitment to sustainability, the Exchange voluntarily participates in UN initiatives. Since 2012 it has participated in UN Global Compact and since 2014, in the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, thus becoming the second Stock Exchange in Latin America join the SSE. Since the start of 2015, the BVC has also been part of the Sustainability Working Group of World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), which together with Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) developed an ESG Guide with reporting and measurement recommendations that was approved by the WFE General Assembly in Doha on October 20, 2015.
Our commitment to sustainability, better information disclosure standards and investor relations was reinforced in 2015 with the inclusion of sustainability criteria as one of the requirements of IR Recognition, which is the guidance for the Colombian securities market adopted voluntarily by the BVC issuers.
The IR Recognition program ended 2015 with 31 listed companies, out of which 26 (including the BVC as an issuer) are writing their sustainability reports according to the latest standard of the Global Reporting Initiative GRI4, which also follows the WFE Guidance and Recommendations. Another very important achievement for the BVC in 2015 was it becoming the first securities exchange of Latin America and the third in the world to make its integrated report according to GRI4.
In its interest to coordinate sustainability topics in the local capital market, the BVC has been working to raise awareness and the networks necessary to adapt these topics to the Colombian context, and together with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), it has held conferences and training sessions for various stakeholders such as market participants and the media.
In 2015, several events were held such as the 4th Sustainable and Responsible Investment Conference in February with the participation of a distinguished groups of experts, such as the Head of BlackRock’s Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment Team, Zach Olesiuk, the Managing Director and Head of Green Bonds at JP Morgan, Marilyn Ceci, and the Head of Sustainable Financial Product Strategy at Bloomberg, Leonora Suki. Additionally, in May and September, events were held with the media about understanding and use of the companies’ sustainability reports.
In 2015, the BVC developed a project with Bloomberg to ensure the availability of its ESG information terminals of Colombian issuers, achieving that 26 companies, representing 65% of the capitalization of the Colombian market, reported their ESG information for all global investors.
As a signatory of the UN Global Compact since 2012, the BVC reinforces its commitment to this initiative. In 2015, the second report of annual progress was sent within the integrated report in GRI4 format. In line with its commitment to labor rights, La BVC has focused on developing its employees as strategic capital and, where environmental principles are concerned, has been making impact investments via Fondo Inversor, which aims to resolve social and environmental challenges through sustainable and economically profitable business models.
Finally, in the anti-corruption principle, the Company has a Code of Good Governance, an Ethics and Conduct Manual, and a strong Internal Control System, which provide the necessary tools to minimize and control any risk of fraud or corruption.