Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka David Holly, CSE officials, GRI representatives and representatives of listed companies at the event
Sustainable investing has continued to gain momentum among financial market participants and environmental, social and governance factors are vital determinants of investment decisions, said Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) Chairman Ray Abeywardena.
“As this requirement comes to the fore, it is vital that listed entities take steps to effectively measure and communicate ESG performance and its impact on its stakeholders,” said Abeywardena, while speaking at a market opening ceremony organised on 4 December to mark the two-year collaboration between the CSE and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
CSE and GRI mark two years of collaboration focused on providing guidance to listed companies on ESG disclosures and enhancing corporate transparency. The collaboration has been successful in engaging Sri Lankan listed companies to understand their capacity in sustainability reporting and to identify and deliver the technical assistance and capacity-building needed to improve awareness on sustainability reporting.
Abeywardena added: “Fostering the communication of sustainability is a key focus at the CSE, and in association with the Global Reporting Initiative, we hosted a number of programs tailored to create awareness on the importance of sustainability reporting and intend to continuously offer them guidance on ESG disclosures. As a member of the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, the CSE actively engages in its commitment to promote improved ESG disclosure and performance among listed companies.”
The Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka, which has supported GRI and its activities in Sri Lanka, has been a key stakeholder of the partnership between CSE and GRI in its efforts to create awareness on sustainability reporting and corporate transparency in Sri Lanka. The Australian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, David Holly, speaking at the event, congratulated CSE and GRI for the progress made while noting that business can be good for the environment.
He added that while sustainability reporting helped with attracting investment, raising the corporate profile and broadening public relations, it also paved the way for Sri Lankan companies to demonstrate to the world a commitment to be a part of the solution to address climate change concerns that are closely discussed globally.
Commenting on the progress made through the collaboration, Senior GRI Coordinator for South Asia, Rubina Sen, said: “Since 2018, GRI and CSE worked closely to successfully organise a series of workshops, sessions, high-level engagement, roundtables and developed resource material like the ESG guidance document to support listed companies in Sri Lanka.
We are confident that this collaboration will go a long way to strengthen corporate transparency in the region. We are thankful to the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who supported us in this journey.” GRI is an independent international organisation, which has pioneered sustainability reporting since 1997. GRI helps businesses and governments worldwide understand and communicate their impact on critical sustainability issues such as climate change, human rights, governance and social wellbeing. GRI’s mission is to empower decision-makers everywhere, through its standards and multi-stakeholder network, to take action towards a more sustainable economy and world.