Bjørn Sibbern on the role business plays in influencing government when addressing climate finance
Climate Action caught up with, Bjørn Sibbern, President of European Markets at Nasdaq, to discuss the role business plays in influencing government when addressing climate finance.
How does Nasdaq define sustainable investing?
Sustainable investing is about investing in progress and to acknowledge that companies dedicated to solving this world’s biggest sustainability problems can be best positioned to grow. Through the combination of traditional investment approaches with environmental, social and governance (ESG) insights, investors ranging from global institutions to individuals are taking a sustainable approach to pursuing their investment goals.
To survive and thrive in this era, companies must learn to navigate and adapt to regulatory changes and new ESG norms. This means adopting the right solutions to help drive the right business outcomes. In short, ESG is no longer optional but should be considered a business imperative.
As a hub tying corporations and capital together, financial markets can play an imperative role in this transition – and drive real change. Companies from all industries, from start-ups or seasoned public companies, can see value by engaging in ESG-related initiatives and reporting. Investors and other external stakeholders rely on new types of analytics and information to understand the positive change companies are making in the communities they serve. ESG practices can be as beneficial to individual companies as they are to investors, and a focus on ESG can lead to improvement and harmonization of management practices.
How can we encourage a shift of focus in order to mobilise sustainable finance?
Governments, expert organizations and private companies have a joint obligation to take action against climate change and financial markets can play a huge role in that journey. The markets have a unique ability to connect investors that are looking to make sustainable choices with companies and organizations that are looking to raise capital to fund projects supporting any kind of sustainability effort.
To what extent does the role of business influence government when addressing climate finance?
Policy alone is not going to solve the climate crisis. We need the capital markets to help that transition, and that is where we, as an exchange operator and as a sustainable bond market platform, will help both listed and unlisted companies on that journey.
As sustainability continues its transformation from a simple add-on to a concrete foundation in corporate strategies, Nasdaq is focused on developing products and services that help companies and investors make more sustainable decisions.
As a company, Nasdaq is fully committed to continuing our ESG efforts, and we are excited to lead the shift toward more sustainable and inclusive capital markets.
To what extent does Nasdaq assist organisations to commit to bold ESG strategies?
In our role as an exchange operator, we give access to capital and transparency for investors. We support companies in the sustainability journey – which is necessary for access to capital in the future, and we help the companies improve transparency – which is a prerequisite for informed investment decisions. Nasdaq is fully committed to continuing our ESG efforts, and we are excited to lead the shift toward more sustainable and inclusive capital markets. Nasdaq is more than just an exchange operator. Our marketplace legacy provides us with a unique and important perspective in the market today regarding ESG. We sit at the intersection of investors, companies, and regulators, and we use that position to engage in ESG-related discussions across our businesses, be it the corporate experience for private & public companies, our index, data and analytics offerings, or tradeable asset classes, like green bonds.
What is the single most important solution to reach the required target of a 50% decarbonised global society by 2030?
There is no single solution. We strongly believe that the carbon removal market has a very important complementary role to play in the future. And we believe carbon removals contracts that are the type of instrument we need to support the scaling of, which is why Nasdaq is working to build a market infrastructure around it.
Our recent acquisition of Puro.earth speaks to that. It is a marketplace offering corporates a concrete way of supporting the Paris Climate Accord. Puro.earth provides carbon removal as a service, by identifying projects, verifying their carbon removal, issuing tradable CO2 Removal Certificates (CORCs) and helping buyers create a long-term procurement portfolio to minimize emissions.
We believe that markets are at the center of a transition to a more sustainable society and a more inclusive capitalism. We see innovation and technology as ways of reaching this ambition. Puro.earth fits well into this transition and by adding Nasdaq technology, market knowledge and our global client network, we can grow Puro.earth and bring carbon removal to more companies.
What is Nasdaq’s criteria for ESG investing?
Nasdaq assist listed companies wishing to incorporate ESG reporting into their existing reporting processes.
Investors and other external stakeholders rely on new types of analytics and information to understand the positive change companies are making in the communities they serve.
The Nasdaq ESG Data Portal is an example of our commitment to more sustainable markets and to the support of our listed companies, we have implemented this portal to provide a central database, compilation and repository for listing companies and investors alike to access ESG and performance metrics. The portal captures a wide range of actionable environmental, social and corporate governance data, providing a cost-effective manner for firms to showcase their ESG efforts.
In addition, we have launched our global environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting guide for public and private companies. The guide is available to all companies listed on any of Nasdaq’s exchanges globally, including Nasdaq First North in the Nordic and Baltic markets. We are committed to operating sustainable markets, and the intention of this guide is to reinforce our mission to provide fair, transparent, and efficient markets for all stakeholders.