The sustainability engagement session was held in partnership with Sustainability Excellence, a leading provider of sustainability and ESG strategy and disclosure services in Qatar and the Middle East.
The event convened an influential group and experts to support issuers in attracting investors and improving their financial performance through improved ESG disclosures based on QSE Reporting Guidelines issued in 2016.
The event continued to build upon QSE’s leadership efforts to promote sustainability, including the launch of the QSE Guidelines on ESG reporting in December of 2016 and the launching of the Qatar chapter of the Middle East Sustainable Investment Forum in March.
Commenting on the event, the CEO of QSE Mr. Rashid Bin Ali Al Mansoori highlighted QSE support of sustainability and added: “Qatar Stock Exchange strongly supports the ambitions of reaching a well-informed investment environment and believe that by undertaking this engagement session, we will promote the sustainability agenda among our investors, listed companies and the business community within the State of Qatar and thus contribute to the realisation of the human, economic, social and environmental pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030.”
“Investors worldwide are increasingly incorporating sustainability factors into their investment decisions, and we are convinced that companies that effectively communicate their sustainability strategies will improve their capital raising abilities and have an overall competitive advantage”, Mr. Al-Mansoori added.
Mr. Darin Rovere, CEO of Sustainability Excellence delivered a presentation on the strategic advantages of embedding sustainability practices into core business operations and the growing interest of investors in sustainability reporting. He also emphasized the value of ESG reporting in demonstrating performance against national priorities and the direct financial performance benefits of adopting ESG practices. Mr. Darin said “When embedded into core business operations, sustainability can generate tremendous value and competitive advantage which can materialize in financial outperformance.”
Mr. Houssam Lahrech, Head of ESG Invest – Independent ESG Rating Division of Sustainability Excellence – provided an overview of how investors and ESG rating agencies use ESG information to inform their investment decisions and provided recommendations on how to handle investors’ requests for ESG information. He also provided an overview of ESG Invest methodology which assesses and quantifies the ESG performance of more than 600 listed companies in the Middle East including the 45 companies listed at the Qatar Stock Exchange. Houssam Lahrech said “Quantifying the ESG performance of companies allow investors to capture ESG risks and opportunities to inform their investment decisions” He also added “Responsible investing is one of the fastest growing trend in financial market. Companies in the region need to be prepared to meet the demanding ESG disclosure requirements of investors and ESG rating agencies”.
Mr. Johnjoseph (JJ) Ryan, Head of ArabSustainability.com – the largest online database of corporate sustainability performance in the region, introduced the QSE Sustainability and ESG Dashboard at the event. The dashboard, a regional first, will allow all Qatar listed companies to digitally report their sustainability performance in accordance with the 33 indicators outlined in the QSE Guidance on ESG Reporting. Once publicly launched in December the dashboard will make it easier for investors to access the data and for companies to benchmark their performance. JJ Ryan said: “We are excited to be working together with Qatar Stock Exchange to pioneer the adoption of digital sustainability and ESG reporting in the region.”
Mr. Hussain Al Abdulla, Director of Marketing and Communication at QSE, added “We believe that encouraging our listed companies to adopt ESG management and reporting will enhance their performance. We then want to ensure that investors reward that performance. Such workshops and forums will help attract foreign ESG investors while encouraging ESG investing by local investors.”
The surge in global investor interest, combined with the opportunity for improved performance for companies and their investors, were two key reasons why QSE joined the Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (SSEI) in 2016. As part of the SSEI, QSE recently released its Guidelines on ESG Reporting to encourage ESG reporting by QSE-listed companies.
Qatar Stock Exchange has made great strides in the field of transition to sustainable Stock Exchange through the promotion of the best disclosure, investor relations and ESG practices among the market stakeholders.