Nasdaq Baltic embraces ESG values at conversational festival “Exactly”

23.09.2019 VLN

A discussion festival took place 6-8 September in Birstonas, Lithuania gathering 6-8 thousand participants. The initiative to hold discussion festival in Lithuania was inspired by the examples of Democracy festivals in Scandinavian countries as well as Latvia and Estonia. The festival’s mission is to contribute to building a democratic welfare state by fostering a culture of discussion, concord and tolerance among participants from political, business, academic, cultural, non-governmental organizations and other sectors. Nasdaq Vilnius hosted a panel discussion on why ESG investments are needed in Lithuania.

Saulius Malinauskas, President of Nasdaq Vilnius, participated in a panel hosted by Nasdaq Vilnius entitled “Why Lithuania needs green investments?”. The panel was moderated by Justinas Juknys, Account Manager, Baltic issuer services and included a group of distinguished speakers, including Minister of Finance of Lithuania, CEO of listed company „Auga Group“, representative of SEB investment management, and ESG advisory consultant.

Nasdaq Vilnius hosted a panel discusion on why ESG investments are needed in Lithuania. 

First part of the panel focused on ESG definition and considered whether it is important to companies, investors, and the state. It was noted that consumer demand for ecological products is increasing, employees are also increasingly expecting companies‘ management to engage more with employees via various incentive programs, to respect diversity in its culture. In addition, enhancing companies‘ governance, i.e. increasing their board independence, provides ground for better performance.

Saulius Malinauskas noted that stock exchange is a natural ground for companies to enhance their ESG frameworks.

Global and local institutional investors, including Baltic pension funds, are putting increasingly important emphasis to ESG factors. The State also considers green investments important, since such investments, for example, increases energy efficiency of buildings, reduces utility costs for consumers etc.

Minister of Finance of Lithuania noted that “green” investments can be embedded in national budget planning and strategies and that Lithuania has ambitious plans in this field.

In the second part of discussion the panelists talked about possible measures that can foster ESG culture among companies and ESG investments. It was noted that stock exchange is a natural ground to foster ESG as listed companies are naturally more transparent, can offer employees e.g. share incetive plans, have benchmark governance practices to follow. In addition, it was noted that Nasdaq Nordic is becoming an ESG hub in European markets, and the Baltic markets are gradually following suite (i.e. green bonds are marked with a green leaf on Nasdaq Baltic website). Other considered ideas, included a proposal to establish a State-private co-partnership based Lithuanian green investment fund, coordinate efforts of national institutions regarding sustainability better, identify and promote new leaders and culture in the companies that would put ESG at the forefront of business model.

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