Consultation opens on proposed ‘impact stock exchange’

The consultation is open until 21 October as the exchange gathers feedback


Joe McGrath

A new stock exchange is preparing to launch, which will require issuers to measure and publish key data on environmental, social and governance-based issues.

The proposed exchange, currently named Project Heather, will run on Euronext’s operating platform and expects to launch after securing regulatory approval from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority.

The trading venue will use the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as its base framework. It has launched a consultation to investors and market participants to determine what an ideal issuer on its exchange should and should not look like.

The consultation will gather input on the key elements Project Heather believes underpins the impact reporting requirements of an issuer. These include the company having a core purpose to make a positive impact, the company’s impact is measured against the SDGs, the organisation is committed to transparency, and is against impact-washing.

In May, Project Heather confirmed the support of Scottish Enterprise via a Regional Selective Assistance grant, following a successful fundraising.

The exchange’s operating platform will provide cloud-based, electronic listing and trading with price dissemination. Euro CCP and Euroclear will supply counterparty and clearing services.

Speaking at the UN’s Climate Week event this week, where the consultation was launched, Tomás Carruthers, chief executive officer and founder of Project Heather, said: “Project Heather integrates the routes most likely to move capital at the greatest speed and scale, to the kinds of projects that most urgently address risks to stakeholders captured in the SDGs.

“As a Project we have spent considerable time working on what a potential issuer might look like, but now it is time to call on the global impact community to help. We invite them to join our consultation and hold us to account. This is a call to act now — we don’t have much time left to achieve the SDGs.”

Jamison Ervin, manager of the programme on nature for development at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), added: “It is now widely acknowledged that the Global Goals cannot be achieved without private sector support, and while impact investing is growing in some sectors, it is yet to penetrate capital markets.

“In seeking to change how capital markets value natural capital, we see Project Heather’s goals for an impact-focused stock exchange as a game-changer for our planet.”

The consultation will be open until 21 October 2019, followed by a draft of the reporting requirements.


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