EBRD helps North Macedonia exchange to develop ESG guidelines

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

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  • Macedonian Stock Exchange publishes ESG reporting guidelines, developed with EBRD help
  • Guidelines steer issuers’ non-financial reporting to address investor ESG expectations
  • In 2021, EBRD invested 134 million in North Macedonia. Total commitments top €2.2 billion

The Macedonian Stock Exchange (MSE) has published its first environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting guidelines for listed companies, developed with the technical assistance of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Sustainability reporting has become a core element of the development of modern capital markets. Growing pressure from policymakers, regulators and institutional investors is fuelling ever more global financial flows to sustainable investment. Such growth requires more transparency on how issuers manage ESG risks. Taking action to mitigate global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss has never been more crucial.

The guidelines, prepared in cooperation with sustainability consultancy Steward Redqueen, are in line with national legislation, European Union (EU) sustainable finance considerations and international best practices. They also take into account the nascent development of ESG reporting practices in North Macedonia. They build on the country’s Corporate Governance Code for listed companies, developed with the Securities and Exchange Commission of North Macedonia, published in October 2021, which provide a broader view of ESG reporting context and practices.

“The MSE’s guidelines are intended to be a practical tool for our listed companies in the area of ESG disclosure, in line with our Corporate Governance Code and the latest international standards in this area,” said Ivan Shteriev, CEO of the MSE. “These ESG guidelines have been created to assist MSE-listed companies in their interactions with investors, to help them understand how to internally address ESG issues as a key component of investor relations and how to manage ESG factors and risks, as well as to assist them in enjoying more visibility as a benefit of their ESG commitment.”

“We are committed to continuing our support for the country in its transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy,” Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, said. “We are also strongly committed to improving corporate governance standards in the country and are very pleased that ‒ following the MSE’s adoption of an improved corporate governance code for listed companies, prepared with the support of the EBRD ‒ the MSE has published its ESG reporting guidelines, helping listed companies in North Macedonia to further improve their governance and reporting.”

“There is growing demand globally for consistent and comparable ESG company data as investors increasingly seek long-term value and alignment with sustainability and climate-related objectives,” said Vesselina Haralampieva, Senior Counsel on the EBRD’s Legal Transition programme. “As North Macedonia continues on its path to EU accession, it will be essential to align national regulations and market practices with the EU sustainability framework and international best practices. The new guidelines will increase issuers’ awareness of such practices and support them on their ESG journey.”

The MSE has a powerful role in facilitating the flow of ESG information between companies and investors by fostering transparency, providing guidance and services, and raising the awareness of its clients and stakeholders more broadly.

Last year, the EBRD also helped the Warsaw Stock Exchange to develop and publish ESG reporting guidelines.

In 2021, the EBRD invested €134 million in North Macedonia. Since cooperation began in 1993, the Bank has committed more than €2.2 billion to 154 projects in the country, with substantial grant funding mobilised to date. In line with the EBRD’s target to increase its green financing, 61 per cent of EBRD investment in North Macedonia in 2021 was in “green” projects.

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