Nasdaq, Inc. announced Monday it has acquired OneReport, Inc., a provider of corporate responsibility and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data management and reporting services, a deal that will further expand the company’s suite of offerings to approximately 10,000 clients.
OneReport will become part of Nasdaq’s new ESG reporting and workflow solution, to be named Nasdaq OneReport.
The deal comes amid increasing pressure on companies to make more formal disclosures related to ESG issues. Activists such as Greta Thunberg have called out corporations to be more responsible and asset managers like Blackrock have said their portfolio companies should use frameworks such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
ASB and TCFD standards are gradually becoming part of corporate reporting in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A combined 38 proxy statements and annual reports (10-Ks) mentioned SASB in 2019, up from just two documents in 2015, according to Sentieo, a leading AI-enabled financial research and workflow platform.
OneReport, founded in 2003, helps companies navigate various frameworks, allowing them to capture and share ESG data with ratings agencies and other stakeholders. There are currently several frameworks in addition to SASB and TCFD, creating a significant workload for corporations that want to be compliant.
“Nasdaq OneReport will broaden our strategic engagement and collaboration with issuers who are seeking clarity on ESG reporting,” said Nelson Griggs, President of the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. “We are strongly positioned to solve these challenges given the thousands of clients globally who rely on Nasdaq for counsel on a range of investor relations, governance, and sustainability-related issues.”
Nasdaq itself has taken major steps to get greener. It has reached a zero-carbon footprint within its own corporation by addressing emissions generated by various facilities. In the case of the MarketSite Tower in Times Square, Nasdaq purchased renewable energy certificates from wind farms to offset the energy it consumes from the grid. In other instances, such as Nasdaq’s data center in Sweden, facilities actually run on entirely green energy sources and don’t have a carbon footprint.
Outside of Nasdaq’s own walls, it has introduced a wide array of services to clients dedicated to ESG issues. One is the ESG Reporting Guide, which Nasdaq published in May 2019 to support public and private companies that aim to incorporate ESG reporting into their existing reporting processes.
In late 2018, launched futures based on the OMXS30 ESG Responsible index, creating the first exchange listed and ESG compliant index future in the world. Trading grew rapidly, with the futures hitting the 1 million contract milestone within a year.
Nasdaq also last year launched the Nasdaq Center for Corporate Governance, an information and research platform dedicated to supporting boards, senior executives, and governance professionals at public, private, and nonprofit organizations. Nasdaq also acquired Center for Board Excellence (CBE), a privately-held provider of corporate governance and compliance software, a move reflecting a continued push to provide technology solutions to boardrooms. In November, Nasdaq, ICR, and CorpGov hosted the 2019 Corporate Governance Forum, which included a publication of six interviews available here.
John Jannarone, Editor-in-Chief