Dear Fellow Stakeholder,
The growth of financial markets depends on standards. Standardization is a key element of the transparency on which our markets rely. The NYSE, for example, can trace its roots to the Buttonwood Agreement, when 24 stockbrokers agreed on the basic standards of their trading.
Today’s markets for commodities, futures, derivatives, structured financial products and much more operate based on common standards that allow both buyer and seller to know the terms of the contracts in which they transact and facilitate the efficient flow of capital across global markets. At ICE, our business is based on providing the infrastructure, data and technology that these markets operate through.
The history of sustainability in the financial world begins much more recently, where just this century we have started to develop and agree on standards. The consensus on the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions has less than a twenty-year history, and the standards for how to measure biodiversity are just being written today.
At ICE, we are proud to contribute to the formation of standards. Through our environmental markets, our data services, and within our NYSE listed company universe, we’re helping build consensus around how to evaluate the non-financial risks that may be financially material to a company or otherwise important to investors making decisions about where to deploy their capital.
There is a risk that too many different, well-intentioned standards do not contribute to the benefits that a common standard provides. While no single standard can meet every possible need for every possible stakeholder, we should consider with each agreement, especially those that cross borders and jurisdictions, the value that the common understanding helps unlock for all stakeholders.
The most effective standards are created when all the necessary voices have a seat at the table. Today ICE is directly involved in these conversations, acting on behalf of our clients to bring their voices to policymakers and other standard-setting organizations across the globe.
This report, our eighth annual report, summarizes the steps ICE is taking to address sustainability within our own walls as a company, as well as through the products and services we make available for our customers. We welcome your feedback as we continue to evolve how we approach and report on sustainability.
All my best,