Five Questions about SRI – Weekly Expert Interview with Corli le Roux, Head of SRI Index and Sustainability, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, South Africa – April 6, 2012
By Geoffrey on April 6, 2012
An interview from Emerging Markets ESG
Each week Emerging Markets ESG publishes an interview entitled, “Five Questions about SRI.” The interview features a practitioner’s insights about SRI in emerging markets and through Emerging Markets ESG shares this expertise with a wide global audience. The goals of Five Questions about SRI are fourfold:
To collect a catalogue of examples of SRI in practice in emerging markets;
To raise awareness about SRI in emerging markets;
To reflect on what SRI in emerging markets means to practitioners; and
To enable SRI practitioners in emerging markets to network with peers around the world.
This week’s interview is with Corli le Roux, Head of SRI Index and Sustainability, Strategy and Public Policy Division, Johannesburg Stock Exchange, South Africa.
As South Africa’s only full service securities exchange, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) connects buyers and sellers in four different financial markets, namely equities, equity derivatives, commodities derivatives and interest rate instruments. The JSE offers the investor a first world trading environment, with world class technology, surveillance and settlement in an emerging market context. It is amongst the top 20 largest equities exchanges in terms of market capitalisation in the world. As a central player in the local economy, the exchange sees itself not only as regulator of listed companies, but also as influencer. In relation to sustainability, our activities include: company regulation (the Listings Requirements include a requirement to apply the principles of the King Code on Corporate Governance or explain where this has not occurred); investment tools (such as the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Index Series and other customised products); and sustainability advocacy as well as a growing focus on strategic internal sustainability. The first of its kind in an emerging market and a leading sustainability index worldwide, the SRI index’s intention is two-fold: to encourage companies to operate responsibly and transparently and to prompt institutions to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when evaluating potential investments. The index was established in May 2004 and comprises listed companies which meet criteria related to their ESG and climate change policies, management practices and reporting. The 2011 SRI index constitutes a total of 74 companies, with 22 of them making the best performer threshold. Corli le Roux joined the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Legal Counsel and Strategy Division in August 2001 following four years as legal advisor to SAFEX (The South African Futures Exchange). Over the years, Corli’s responsibilities have expanded into various strategic arenas, and as a result she has since 2002 been responsible for the development and operation of the JSE’s SRI Index, a pioneering initiative through which the JSE has been providing critical thought leadership around sustainability and responsible investment. Since February 2012, Corli has moved into the Strategy and Public Policy Division of the JSE, from where she oversees the SRI Index and the development of a strategic sustainability framework for the JSE. Corli represents the JSE on various committees, including the Institute of Directors’ Sustainable Development Forum, the Integrated Sustainability Task Team for the Third King Report on Corporate Governance 2009, the Integrated Reporting Committee as well as its working group. During 2011 she was a finalist for South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards 2011/2012. Corli holds a BA LLB from the Rand Afrikaans University (now the University of Johannesburg), as well as an ICMQ (International Capital Markets Qualification).