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Corporate social responsibility

The Board monitors environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks through its enterprise risk management framework with a focus on the sustainability of ASX’s business.

ASX’s ESG strategy encompasses initiatives designed to address these risks and to improve ASX’s impact on society through:

  • the role that it plays in financial markets
  • how it conducts its business.

Below is an overview of some of ASX’s initiatives.

ASX’s role in financial markets

Investor education

Promoting informed investing supports ASX’s business. ASX provides access to free tools and resources to explain the potential rewards and risks of investing. These include online courses, YouTube presentations, face-to-face events around Australia and a monthly e-newsletter.

The ASX Sharemarket Game provides an opportunity for the general public and secondary school students to become familiar with the mechanics of share trading. The game is linked to the live market, which connects students to real-world events. There were more than 65,000 student entries from 900 schools and 49,000 entries from members of the public playing the Game in FY17.

ASX Corporate Governance Council

The ASX Corporate Governance Council publishes a principles-based framework for corporate governance practices – the Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations – that serves as a relevant and practical guide for listed entities, investors and the wider Australian community.

The Council brings together business, investment and shareholder groups. As the convener, ASX nominates the chair, contributes one member of the Council and provides executive support.

ASX's listing rules require that listed entities disclose the extent to which they have followed the recommendations set by the Council during the relevant reporting period. Where companies have not followed a recommendation, they must provide an explanation (‘if not, why not’ reporting). These reporting requirements bring transparency to the corporate governance practices of listed companies, which enables investors to make informed investment decisions.

Participation in external assessments

ASX participates in the following assessments of its ESG practices:

  • Carbon Disclosure Project – emissions and waste
  • FTSE4Good Index Series – identifies companies that meet social and environmental criteria
  • World Federation of Exchanges annual survey – gauges an exchange’s role in sustainability.

Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative

In 2017, ASX became a partner exchange in the United Nations' Sustainable Stock Exchange (SSE) Initiative. The SSE is a peer-to-peer learning platform for exploring how exchanges, in collaboration with investors, regulators and companies, can enhance corporate transparency on ESG issues and encourage sustainable investment.

How ASX conducts its business

ASX people

ASX aims to build and retain a highly motivated team of professionals with the best available skills and experience.

The Remuneration Committee oversees and receives reports on ASX's people policies and programs. In addition, the Executive Committee reviews talent and leadership programs, performance management and reward processes, succession planning, diversity, and staff alignment and engagement results.

Culture

Management and the Board review the values and behaviours that reflect ASX’s brand and culture. An annual survey measures staff alignment, engagement and commitment to ASX values and behaviours. Results are reviewed by the Remuneration Committee. ASX’s Internal Audit and Regulatory Assurance functions provide periodic feedback on risk and compliance consciousness.

Ethics and integrity

ASX’s Code of Conduct and Anti-Bribery and Corruption, Fraud Control, and Whistleblower Protection policies promote ethical and responsible decision-making by ASX directors and employees. Employees certify they understand and comply with these policies. Periodic training is provided on these policies, and on equal employ-ment opportunity, diversity and dealing rules.

Further details of ASX’s human capital policies are set out on pages 14-15 of ASX’s 2017 Annual Report.

Diversity and inclusion

ASX supports a diverse and inclusive work environment where employees have equal access to career opportunities, training and benefits.

ASX promotes gender equality as a priority and supports equal participation of men and women in the workforce.

ASX is recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Federal Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and continues as member of the Male Champions of Change, a corporate and institutional collaboration committed to advancing women in leadership positions.

Gender equality targets

ASX has a target of 40% female representation for all senior management levels. Progress was made in FY17, with the target exceeded at the Management Executive and Manager/Team Leader levels, as well as across the entire organisation.

Representation of women in ASX as at 30 June 2017:

 ASX level FY16% FY17% Target%
 Board of directors 22 30 33.3
 Group Executives 25 25 40
 Executive Committee (excludes CEO) 36 31 40
 Management Executive 38 44 40
 Managers/Team Leaders 41 42 40
 Professional/technical 39 39 40
 Administrative 85 84 50+
 Entire organisation 42 43 40+
Group Executives: direct reports to the CEO
Executive Committee: comprises all Group Executives and Executive General Managers
Management Executive: executives two layers below the CEO
Managers/Team Leaders: executives three layers below the CEO
Entire organisation: includes casual staff and excludes non-executive directors and independent contractors
Note: all data is non-cumulative and is calculated on the number of employees in each level

Environment

ASX is a service-based organisation that does not extract physical or natural resources and is not involved in the manufacture or transport of products. ASX’s environmental footprint is small and arises from the energy used by its three offices and two data centres, and from consumables, primarily paper.

Environmental risks are monitored, assessed and managed as part of ASX’s risk management framework. ASX’s approach includes: measuring the impact of its activities, minimising consumption of materials, recycling and re-using consumables, and supporting awareness of environmental issues.

FY17 initiatives

In FY17, ASX:

  • introduced a paper-free employee on-boarding system to reduce paper consumption
  • finalised the roll out of mobility devices to all staff, upgraded communication equipment to enable virtual meetings and reduced business travel between ASX offices
  • upgraded its intranet and file sharing technology to enhance the ability to store and present documents electronically.

These initiatives build on those introduced in FY16 including:

  • ASX Environment Committee newsletter
  • paperless supplier invoice process
  • simplified New Investor Pack
  • battery, phone and coffee pod recycling programs
  • use of carbon neutral paper.

FY17 achievement against initiatives/targets

In FY17, Management set the following targets for controllable consumption of paper (not including CHESS statements and noti¬fications) and electricity (excluding ASX’s data centre hosting):

  • 5% reduction in controllable paper usage per headcount
  • 2% reduction in controllable electricity consumption per $1,000 of revenue generated.

ASX’s achievement against these targets is set out below:

FY17 targets FY16 FY17 Target reduction
for FY17
Actual reduction from prior year
Electricity GHG* emission (excluding ASX's data centre hosting) per $1,000 of revenue generated (in t CO2-e**) 0.0106 0.0102 2% 3%
Paper usage (excluding CHESS statements and notifications) by headcount (tonnes) 0.0138 0.0123 5% 11%
*  Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
** Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Electricity usage

ASX has a number of initiatives in place to reduce its emissions. ASX’s electricity consumption decreased slightly in FY17, notwithstanding increased headcount and activity levels during the period.

More than half of ASX’s energy usage is in the Australian Liquidity Centre (ALC), ASX’s primary data centre. The ALC supports the equipment and systems of customers who co-locate with ASX instead of in their own or other facilities. Growth in this business (and its energy consumption) reflects the ALC’s position as the premier financial markets ecosystem in Australia.

In FY17, ASX purchased diesel for the back-up power systems at the ALC. This was the first top-up since FY15 and is the primary reason for the increase in diesel consumption shown in the following table.

Environmental impact          
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions Unit 2014 2015 2016 2017
Scope 1 – diesel and gas t CO2-e* 100 29 11 48
Scope 2 – electricity t CO2-e 12,250 13,011 14,435 14,262

GHG emissions by activity

Unit

2014

2015

2016

2017
Scope 1 – diesel and gas combustion t CO2-e 100 29 14 48
Scope 2 – electricity (data centre hosting) t CO2-e 7,963 8,457 10,105 9,983
              – electricity (remainder ASX’s business) t CO2-e 4,288 4,554 4,332 4,279
Scope 3 – travel (business travel and commuting) t CO2-e 956 986 1,021 613
              – paper usage (office)** t CO2-e 23 16 0** 0
              – paper usage (CHESS statements and notifications)** t CO2-e 120 146 0** 0

Paper usage

Unit

2014

2015

2016

2017
Office use tonnes 11.58 8.01 7.35 6.82
CHESS statements and notifications tonnes 64 73 75 74
Tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
** GHG emissions reported inclusive of carbon offset.  ASX commenced using 100% carbon neutral paper in 2015.

Paper usage

ASX’s paper usage by headcount (excluding CHESS statements and notifications) decreased over FY17.

Management continues to reduce paper usage in ASX’s business and the financial markets overall. For example, ASX's simplified New Investor Pack saved more than 47,500 pieces of paper in FY17. ASX encourages its shareholders to receive electronic communications instead of hard copy communications via post.

ASX in the community

ASX assists its employees to support worthwhile causes and participate in community programs outside the workplace. This includes providing paid volunteering leave. ASX’s community programs allow employees to support causes and charities of their choice. ASX matches employee donations to these charity partners, with $103,000 donated to 48 charities in FY17.

Anzac Centenary Public Fund

ASX is contributing a total of $1 million over a number of years to the Anzac Centenary Public Fund. The Fund, established by the Australian Government, receives donations to commemorate the centenary of Australia’s involvement in the First World War and a Century of Service. Projects honour and improve understanding of the service and sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and women, past and present, in defending Australia’s values and freedoms.

ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation

The ASX Thomson Reuters Charity Foundation supports Australian children’s and medical research charities by organising fundraising events for financial markets participants. Over $1.3 million was raised and distributed to 31 charities in FY17.

ShareGift Australia

ASX has supported ShareGift Australia since 2007 and promotes the charity on CHESS statements sent to investors. ShareGift Australia allows shareholders to sell shares free of brokerage costs and donate the proceeds to charity. ASX reimburses all ASX exchange fees on these transactions. ASX includes a ShareGift donation form each year with its year-end dividend advice. ShareGift Australia has donated over $1.4 million to more than 450 charities.