- Stock exchanges have a critical role to play when it comes to sustainability
- Have to make sure growth is environmentally sustainable
- Showcasing companies that champion sustainability
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Sunil Benimadhu, CEO of Mauritius Stock Exchange and David Nelson
David Nelson – Show Host, Traders Network Show:00:00
Welcome back. I’m David Nelson, host of the Traders Network Show broadcasting worldwide from the New York Stock Exchange on the iHeartRadio and Equities.com. We’re here for an event being hosted by the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative. And my next guest is Sunil Benimadhu. Excuse me, who’s the CEO of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius, welcome. So thanks so much for being with us. You know, I was looking over your background, Mr. Benimadhu and you are appointed as Director of the Exchange back in really the dark days of 2008 and during the financial crisis. And here you are now as the CEO of the exchange. How did you manage to make that transition and accomplish so much over these last few years?
Sunil Benimadhu – CEO, Mauritius Stock Exchange: 00:45
Well, ever since I joined the exchange, I’ve been driven by a number of goals. First of all, I think a stock exchange has a critical role to play in terms of unfolding the potential of economic growth. And therefore, the whole idea of being at the head of an exchange is to try to drive this agent forward. And I’ve been driven by that together with my team so that, you know, the story of Mauritius can play an important role in driving the growth of the immersion economy bringing change to the lives of people and powering the investor, but also creating the platform for companies to raise capital to fund their future growth and create jobs for the economy.
David Nelson – Show Host, Traders Network Show:01:33
Yeah. We were talking off camera and you mentioned that that your organization has just joined the initiative at this point. What prompted that?
Sunil Benimadhu – CEO, Mauritius Stock Exchange: 01:40
Well, I think we wanted to bring our very modest contribution to the international sustainable agent, we think that as exchanges we have, as I mentioned, a very important role to play in driving economic growth, but we have to make sure that this growth takes place within a very sustainable environment. I think we all know that the world is threatened by a number of potential calamities, climate change and the impact that it is having. And coming from an Island like Mauritius, which, you know, drives each you know growth and from, from its beauty from the climate in which we live, I think it was fundamental for us as an exchange to bring our small contribution to the national agent of positioning mergers as a sustainable Island. But our drive to join the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative is a clear indication of our willingness to bring this small contribution to the glow, the agent of sustainability.
David Nelson – Show Host, Traders Network Show:02:48
Wow. That’s, well said. How are you, how is the exchange really positioning itself to get this message out to the members of your exchange, the companies that trade on your floor?
Sunil Benimadhu – CEO, Mauritius Stock Exchange: 02:57
Well, first of all, we embarked on what I call a voluntary exercise. So we wanted to showcase those companies that are championing the sustainability CO’s in Mauritius. So we went ahead and say the best way to show that is to create a sustainability index, which will track the performances of those companies that are really championing this cause. So we went, created a framework, define the criteria of what is sustainable companies and we use the global reporting initiative, GRI criteria, which embraces four pillars of sustainability linked to governance, linked to environmental concerns, linked to social concerns, but also linked to the economic agenda of companies. Because for me, a sustainable company is one which is taking care of its sustainability from a profit perspective but also its sustainability from a transparency governance standpoint, from each, the role that it plays within society.
Sunil Benimadhu – CEO, Mauritius Stock Exchange: 04:01
But also how well governor this company is. So we went ahead and created a, you know, this framework identify all the criteria and then invited the companies to those that were volunteering to be part of that index to demonstrate their compliance. Yes, it has been voluntary and I was pleasantly surprised because many of the large companies that are listed came forward and said, this is a good initiative. We want to be part of it because we want to also bring our own contribution to the national agent out positioning militias as a sustainable Island. So once the companies went through this exercise, we identified those that met the minimum pass mark, which was about 60% weighted average of all the four pillars that I mentioned. And then we outsource the audit on the ground to an independent party to ascertain that what was said by the companies was actually what was on the ground. So then once we had, I think about a number of companies that complied. We launch our index two weeks ago, and now this index is tracking those companies. And our whole objective is to encourage other listed companies that have not been part of it since the beginning to join later. And eventually, you know, to Anchorage, even the non-listed companies do emulate those that are driving this agent.
David Nelson – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 05:08
Any last words that you have for the United Nations and the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative as they launched their Sustainable Development Goals?
Sunil Benimadhu – CEO, Mauritius Stock Exchange: 05:34
No, I think it’s a great initiative because at the end of the day, as you know, we had a discussion before I came to this interview and it was made very clear by the UN representatives. In that luncheon that a UN can drive the agenda, but for it to be a success, it has to get the buying of the operators, the private sector people.
Sunil Benimadhu – CEO, Mauritius Stock Exchange: 06:08
I think exchanges are ideally positioned at the intersection between the policymakers, the investors, and the listed companies. So I think it’s a great initiative and we really look forward as the stock exchange is just to be an active member of the, a UN sustainable stock exchange initiative and to drive these agents because at the end of the day, I think our whole future, the whole, the future of humanity depends a lot on how we move forward.
David Nelson – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 06:39
Thank you so much for being with us.
Sunil Benimadhu – CEO, Mauritius Stock Exchange: 06:41
Pleasure. Thank you. Thank you for these very interesting questions.
David Nelson – Show Host, Traders Network Show: 06:45
Thank you. That was Sunil Benimadhu, CEO of the Mauritius Stock Exchange. By the way, a quick thank you goes out to 1-800-PublicRelations for all the PR and media support. Thanks for joining. I’m David Nelson.
Guest: Sunil Benimadhu
Event: Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative (NYSE)
Show: Traders Network Show, An equities news original show