UN women ringing bell

A Year in Review: Nasdaq’s ESG Milestones in 2018

A Year in Review: Nasdaq's ESG Milestones in 2018

Exchanges play a critical role in creating jobs and economic growth around the world. Given our central place in the financial ecosystem, Nasdaq has both the ability and responsibility to direct capital flows toward more sustainable use.

In 2018, Nasdaq made significant strides in advancing its environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices. As you can see in the summary below, our efforts were successfully reflected both in work with companies listed on Nasdaq’s U.S. and Nordic exchanges as well as in our own operations.

The trend towards ESG and sustainable investments is here to stay, and I expect it to have an escalating impact on our industry is the coming years. As we enter 2019, Nasdaq is fully committed to continuing its efforts in this space. We are seeing authentic client demand in ESG-themed products and services across many parts of our organization, and we look forward to continuing to seize opportunities this year and leading the shift towards more sustainable capital markets.

Evan Harvey

Global Head of Sustainability, Nasdaq


Nasdaq 2018 ESG Highlights


  • Landing a spot as the only stock exchange operator on the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the third consecutive year
  • Launching new cutting edge ESG-focused products for clients, including:
    • The ESG Data Portal, which mainstreams new performance data in support of more sustainable investments across Nasdaq’s Nordic markets;
    • Hedging against risk through ESG futures in the Nordics, based on the OMXS30 ESG Responsible index in Sweden, the first exchange-listed and ESG-compliant index future in the world;
    • Conducting the ESG Pilot Program, which used a European focus group to illuminate similarly productive ways for our global markets to reach better and more practical ESG reporting; and
    • The Nasdaq Sustainable Debt Markets in the Nordics more than doubled during 2018, driven by the entrance of 18 new issuers, green bonds from three new countries and innovative retail instruments in Sweden. New segments for sustainable commercial papers, structured bonds and retail corporate bonds were also launched


  • Serving as an ESG thought leader by driving content and events including:
    • The Nasdaq ESG Reporting Guide, which serves as a baseline template for listed companies in the Nordics and reinforces the business case for voluntary disclosure;
    • Hosting a sustainable business forum, “The Intersection of Entrepreneurship & Climate Innovation” at the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, in partnership with Bank of the West, as part of the Global Climate Action Summit, convening over 400 attendees; and
    • Hosting the inaugural Nasdaq LGBT Leaders Conference, featuring Qantas CEO Alan Joyce and more than 40 corporate executives
    • Launching the campaign Green Voices of Nasdaq Nordic, where investors and issuers talk about leveraging the green bond market to support sustainable development.


  • Serving as a steward of the community through:
    • 100 employee volunteer events, logging nearly 4,000 service hours with more than 400 Nasdaq participants;
    • Reinforcing our commitment to diversity in meaningful ways – achieving 30% female participation on our board of directors and signing the United Nations’ CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles
    • Empowering diversity, equality and inclusion through the creation of five new internal employee affinity groups, bringing the total to seven in 2018 with approximately 1,160 employees participating worldwide;
    • Committing more than $1M in grants and donations to organizations in the U.S. and abroad through our Educational Foundation and Nasdaq Good Works program; and
    • Working with MBA students on ESG work in Bard College’s NYCLab course


  • Reinforcing a commitment to green office space: the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York City transitioned to 100 percent renewable energy sourcing and Nasdaq’s Helsinki office achieved carbon neutral status for the sixth year in a row

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Latest Leadership Videos

    Driving Excellence: Leadership in AI, with Aicha Evans & Mark Thompson

    Zoox CEO Aicha Evans shares her journey to leadership and best practices for entrepreneurs who want to develop an organization around an idea. Find out why she believes the audacity to be confident, yet humble, plays a role in driving excellence.

    5 days ago