Twenty-one stock exchanges around the world are set to implement sustainability reporting standards, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), bringing the total to 38.
Currently, 17 stock exchanges recommend their listed companies provide environmental, social and governance (ESG) reportage, but UNCTAD division on investment and enterprise director James Zhan said this figure is expected to grow by the end of 2016.
"Twenty-one stock exchanges have confirmed to us they will introduce new guidelines either this year or within the first quarter of next year, and we know that many of them are close because they have posted draft guidelines on their websites for comment and discussion," he said.
Mr Zhan said such reporting had “come of age” and that companies were more likely to act sustainably when they were required to report on ESG issues.
The commitments to sustainability reporting are part of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) initiative launched in 2009 by UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon, UNCTAD said.
UNCTAD SSE inititative co-ordinator Anthony Miller added that ESG reporting was becoming increasingly important to market participants.
"Market expectations are shifting quickly and we see more and more stock exchanges viewing sustainability reporting as necessary and inevitable," he said.
“Those expectations create their own momentum."