- Tsheole presents the remarkable progress of the BSE to a Global Reporting Initiative market sensitisation workshop
The fact that ESG ratings are being widely publicised – solicited and unsolicited – goes to show that ESG reporting is core to doing business and cannot be overlooked, the bCEOO of Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE), Thapelo Tsheole, has said.
He was speaking when he officially opened a Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) market sensitisation workshop on development of BSE ESG disclosure guidelines on Tuesday this week. “Over the past five years, we have witnessed the formulation of national ESG laws and regulations in many parts of the world, the creation of sustainability indices in various stock exchanges, ESG instruments as well as ESG guidelines, some of which have become compulsory in the listings requirements,” he said.
He told his audience that in 2016, the BSE became a Partner Exchange of the UN-backed Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, which has 87 partners globally, 14 of them in Africa.
“The SSE’s mission is to provide a global platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, companies (issuers), regulators, policymakers, and relevant international organisations, can enhance performance on ESG issues and encourage sustainable investment, including the financing of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
“By so doing, we made a commitment that we voluntarily commit, through dialogue with investors, companies and regulators, to promoting long-term sustainable investment and improved environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) disclosure and performance among companies listed on our exchange.” In 2018, the BSE became the third stock exchange in Africa to publish a Guide for Listed Companies on Reporting ESG Information to Investors, which was based on an ESG Reporting Model developed by the SSE Initiative.
“These are Voluntary Guidelines and are not part of the BSE Listings Requirements,” Tsheole pointed out. He disclosed that currently there are 71 stock exchanges that have published the ESG Disclosure Guidelines, 96 percent of which reference the GRI standards.
Tsheole noted that the BSE conducted a market survey in 2022 to gauge the extent to which the existing guidelines have been adopted and whether there are recommendations for improvement. “Indeed, the respondents largely appreciated the usefulness of our guidelines but highly recommended a review of the same to reflect the evolving, current and future standards in so far as ESG Reporting is concerned,” he said.
In November 2019, the GRI and the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA) signed a collaboration agreement aimed at enhancing integration of ESG issues and disclosure within capital markets in Africa. Tsheole said under the partnership, GRI supports the development of ESG Disclosure Guidelines by participating ASEA member exchanges and the training and capacity building of listed companies on sustainability reporting.
Therefore, he added, the BSE is “very proud” to be benefitting from this international partnership in producing the new ESG Guidelines that will extensively reflect the various globally recognised standards as well as newly published sustainability standards by IFRS and the EU. “The usage of these standards will help our listed companies position themselves to be globally competitive by embracing the ESG performance,” he said. As to whether the guidelines will form part of the BSE Listings Requirements, Tsheole said the decision is yet to be made.