Making finance work for humanity

By: Karim Hajji, CEO, Bourse de Casablanca Nov 2018

In recent years, the world has witnessed events that have highlighted the disastrous consequences of certain financial models on both the individual and the environment. These events drew attention to the notion of a financial system with long-term economic growth that takes into account its environmental and social impact. The issue is to promote responsible finance for more sustainable and lasting growth.

Many governments, NGOs and major international institutions have committed to reaching this goal. This is also the case for Bourse de Casablanca, where we are working hard on socially responsible investment, and contributing to its promotion.

To this end, at the COP22 in Marrakech in 2016, in partnership with the Moroccan Capital Market Authority (AMMC), Bourse de Casablanca put in place ‘The Marrakech Pledge for Fostering Green Capital Markets in Africa’, which enabled regulators and stock exchanges from 25 African countries to be involved in the promotion of green finance in Africa.

We have also carried out targeted action with companies to raise their awareness on the need to adopt governance and reporting best practices.

We developed a guide with the AMMC on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and reporting for publicly traded companies, along with the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, and the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM). This guide aims to disseminate and promote a culture of CSR amongst issuers and professionals in the sector by clarifying various concepts, and providing a practical approach for the implementation CSR initatives, and the adoption of ESG reporting.

In addition, through the ELITE programme set up in Morocco in partnership with the London Stock Exchange Group, we also support companies to meet the requirements of the financial market, as well as finance their development. A major component in this programme consists of adopting best practice in governance and reporting. In the long-term, this will allow us to simultaneously enable companies to be listed more easily on the exchange, and offer investors sustainable and profitable investment opportunities.

More recently, in order to encourage socially responsible investment, Bourse de Casablanca introduced the 'Casablanca ESG 10' index, which includes the 10 listed stocks with the highest ESG ratings from Vigeo Eiris, which represents the best ESG practices adopted by listed companies.

Aware of our own impact on the environment and society, Bourse de Casablanca has obtained CGEM’s CSR label, which shows our very strong commitment to the adoption of best practice in this area. In addition, our sponsorship of primary schools in rural areas, raising children's awareness of financial culture, and the training of more than 7,000 people each year by our stock exchange school illustrate some of our endeavours in education.

The role of a stock exchange is crucial in the development of CSR policies, and we will spare no effort to continue to promote best practice among issuers and operators, both in Morocco and on the continent.