Sustainability Q&A: Evan Harvey, Nasdaq
Nasdaq won the Instinet Positive Change Award for Sustainability at the 2021 Markets Choice Awards.
Markets Media caught up with Evan Harvey, Global Head of Sustainability for Nasdaq, to learn more.
What is your reaction to Nasdaq winning the Instinet Positive Change Award for Sustainability?
We are incredibly honored to receive this award. It underscores our overall commitment to sustainability, be it through the purpose-led work we do in our communities, the insights and solutions we provide to clients, or the principles we believe in that guide us in running our operations responsibly.
Briefly describe how Nasdaq has increased its emphasis on sustainability in recent years?
Nasdaq’s position at the intersection of the capital markets, data and analytics, regulation, and the corporate experience gives us a unique perspective on environmental, social, and governance best-practices. Of course there are certain global factors that require our increased participation, but given our role in the marketplace, we have also invested over the last two decades in ways to ensure all sides of the markets ecosystem are equally informed on ESG related decision-making power.
What specific ESG-related milestones would you highlight? What are some of your current initiatives?
Our colleagues care deeply about the climate, diversity and inclusion, as well as health and safety; this philosophy is deeply embedded in our culture but also expressed in our operational commitments and through our client-focused approach. We are very proud of our past achievements, which include two consecutive years of carbon neutrality across all business operations and being the only exchange operator selected for the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index during the past five years. We have also made significant efforts to advance diversity, inclusion and belonging within Nasdaq and have been recognized for those efforts in both the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index and in Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index. What’s been equally exciting is our newly launched Purpose Initiative that now comprises our philanthropic, corporate sustainability, and employee volunteerism programs. This includes the Nasdaq Foundation, which was re-chartered in September 2020 with a new mission to advance financial literacy and financial independence through our commitment to entrepreneurship. We’re very excited to begin awarding grants from the foundation to organizations that provide financial and entrepreneurship education to under-served communities.
How does sustainability make good business sense?
Applying ESG at the corporate level creates a framework to not just track a range of metrics, but to provide a mechanism for risk management oversight. Additionally, leadership teams can use their ESG data to drive more disciplined decision making within their organization, for example, in the areas of human capital management or a company’s environmental impact. And lastly, most companies can implement ESG-related practices that drive certain enhancements, like in their supply chain, or in product innovation.
What does the future hold for Nasdaq, and the broader financial industry, in the area of sustainability?
Nasdaq has always been driven by purpose – to create better markets by leveraging innovative technology and empowering people to reach their potential. We certainly see a future that, we hope, will include increased access to better data, which will create clearer signals regarding the connection between ESG and business returns. As the category of ESG continues to gain wider adoption, it is expanding to cover global issues. The capital markets are increasingly being seen as the crucial network to tackle these challenges at a global scale, and Nasdaq will continue to use its unique position in the market to advocate for all our stakeholders as we continue on our ESG journey.
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