The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) joined over 24 stock exchanges globally for a call to action for climate change with its inaugural Market Opening Bell Ringing Ceremony for Climate Change on 05th December 2023 at the trading floor of the CSE.
Delivering the keynote address at this ceremony, Ms. Azusa Kubota, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka, emphasized that “Symbolically ringing the bell is very apt–not because it is the festive season, but these are times that we have to find every loud bell we can find, and ring it as an alarm bell to convey the message loud and clear. As per the UN Secretary General – the world is boiling- every year is the hottest year. Evident from all the discussions happening at COP28– Climate Change is the most pressing issue and Sri Lanka is one of the top 10 most climate vulnerable countries.”
She added, “On average Sri Lanka experiences US$313 million in annual disaster losses. UNDP and Oxford University developed Sri Lanka’s first Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) this year – post pandemic, which illustrated that more than half of the population is multidimensionally vulnerable, and almost half of the population lacks disaster preparedness. This means, if a disaster hits, they have nothing to protect their livelihoods or assets with. They will fall right into the perpetual cycle of poverty.”
She further stated that “we at UNDP are truly excited about the upcoming partnership with the Colombo Stock Exchange. We will continue to work together with partners to leverage the Sri Lankan capital market for sustainable development, enhancing its development activities in promoting the SDGs among the private sector in Sri Lanka, incorporating sustainability into the private sector’s business strategy and processes and promoting innovative and sustainable finance products and tools.”
Mr. Dilshan Wirasekera, Chairman, Colombo Stock Exchange, speaking at the event, said, “ Climate Change is one thing that is impacting the humanity across geographics and it is the one thing that we all need to work together to eliminate or at least to reduce the impact. This is an area of great concern as it has become a matter of life or death for the present and future generations.”
He further added that the CSE has been encouraging and driving an initiative for listed entities to adopt sustainable practices and has taken many initiatives on its own including the introduction of a new product suite to include green and blue bonds. We invite listed and unlisted representatives to take the opportunity to attract capital flows that are moving towards compliant investments globally- which will not only essentially help climate change but also the economy as a whole with much needed capital inflows while assisting Sri Lanka to ultimately achieve net zero target by 2050.”
Ms. Nandini Sukumar, Chief Executive of the WFE in a message to mark the occasion stated that “By ringing the bell, exchanges acknowledge their central role in addressing the climate crisis and advancing sustainability efforts. As climate change continues to be a pressing global issue, the involvement of financial markets, and the exchanges at their heart, is crucial in driving the transition to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economy.”
Mr. Rajeeva Bandaranaike, Chief Executive Officer in his remarks stated that the CSE is pleased to be an early mover along with the other members of the World Federation of Stock Exchanges (WFE) in the Climate Change Initiative by ringing the bell coinciding with a series of other events and workshops that are being held alongside the COP28 in Dubai. Stock exchanges are at the core providing much needed capital flows to be deployed for sustainable developments. Without appropriate financing in place – green transition cannot take place.”
He added that “the Green Equity Principals that were recently issued by WFE is a global framework that stock exchanges can adopt. Digitization of the local capital market has driven a paperless environment. By going digital the CSE has also reduced the footfall to the main office, branches and stockbroker offices thereby positively contributing to energy usage. The CSE is also actively encouraging companies to be sustainable by embracing the green frameworks and adopting sustainable reporting via GRI. CSE has also launched the 3rd version of the Sustainability Guide last week. The S&P co-branded ESG Index is expected to be launched in January 2024 to attract sustainable investments.”
Representatives from listed and unlisted companies and audit firms graced the occasion.
Photograph – (Podium Participants L-R) Mr. Chandrakanth Jayasinghe, Ms. Punyamali Saparamadu, Mr. Rajeeva Bandaranaike, Mr. Arjuna Herath, Mr. Dilshan Wirasekara, Ms. Azusa Kubota, Ms. Shayani Weerasinghe, Mr. Renuke Wijayawardhane and Ms. Nilupa Perera
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