Corporate social responsibility and sustainability have become hot topics in the agendas of all entities and institutions in the capital markets. In particular, the increase in the number and in the expectations of investors who are sensitive to these issues have been helpful in raising awareness among both companies and regulators.
Incorporating social responsibility and environmental issues into the scope of corporate governance, several institutions began publishing sustainability reports. Exchanges have a big and leading role in promoting sustainability and an increasing number of exchanges are developing projects related to this subject. Furthermore, studies are carried out through a task force established within the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) with a view to identify the role of exchanges in developing a sustainable community.
The strategies of WFE-member exchanges relating to sustainability are classified into three general categories:
1) To create awareness in listed companies on the environment, social responsibility, and corporate governance issues
2) To create sustainability indices, to develop information services and products for investors
3) To set up specialized markets for specific ESG-compliant investment instruments
Borsa Istanbul Sustainability Guide for Companies (in Turkish) was first published in 2014 and updated in 2020. The guide provides companies a roadmap on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues. It aims to help companies with adapting environmental, social and corporate governance factors to company operations and decision mechanisms and managing the risks that may arise from these issues. It sets out the framework that companies should pay attention to, in order to meet investor expectations on action and reporting regarding ESG. The guide is a helpful tool for companies to position themselves correctly to become more attractive for international investments.
As part of sustainability efforts, Borsa İstanbul launched BIST Sustainability Index on November 4th, 2014.
UN Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE) has been established in 2009 towards practical application of the concept of sustainability in capital markets and Borsa Istanbul has been one of the first five exchanges that have signed the foundation document at the RIO + 20 Summit in 2012. By end of July 2019, 90 stock exchanges have become member of SSE. Aware of the importance of SSE initiative for stock exchanges, Borsa Istanbul financially contributed to SSE and, hence, has been proudly rewarded “SSE Official Supporter in 2019.” The exchange is also a member of the SSE Consultative Group.
In addition to its successful projects realized in line with the Sustainable Development Goals put forward by the UN, information on sustainability practices in different areas, social responsibility strategies and how these are integrated into corporate business procedures were made public through Sustainability Reports between 2014-2016. Since 2017, no separate sustainability report has been published, and information on ESG performance and goals has been presented to stakeholders through Annual Integrated Reports. In Integrated Reports prepared in accordance with the International Integrated Reporting Framework (<IR Framework>), information on Borsa İstanbul's sustainable business model and the value it creates for its stakeholders have been explained with an integrated approach. Borsa İstanbul's strategic response to external factors and risks affecting capital markets is described from a long-term perspective, and the activities carried out during the year are presented with a materiality perspective.