Istanbul Stock Exchange 

Sustainability Index (ISESI) Project

#ISESI @isesi


The ISE Sustainability Index [ISESI] aims to provide a platform for Turkish companies demonstrating best practice in corporate sustainability to be profiled to investors. ISESI will enable Turkish and international investors to benchmark listed companies for their leadership in the development of sustainable business in Turkey. Turkish and international investors may use the ISESI as a tool to understand the importance of the management of sustainability for the short and long-term health of businesses.

The design and development of an ISE Sustainability Index [ISESI] has been initiated by the Istanbul Stock Exchange [ISE] and Turkish Business Council for Sustainable Development [TBCSD] in partnership with leading experts in corporate sustainability and sustainable investment [SinCo], with expertise in global and emerging markets. The development of the index has been endorsed by leading Turkish companies, investors, NGOs, as well as Sustainable Asset Management (SAM), asset managers and sustainability indexes, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index series.


The ISESI Project Team is currently reviewing the criteria, and testing the draft criteria with key stakeholders.

The project website explains the project, the stakeholder engagement, criteria development and the project team. SinCo covers important items for the investment case for fighting malnutrition on from @SinCo_ESG and @esgarchitect using hashtag #isesi.


Companies in Turkey in the twenty-first century face competition domestically and internationally for customers and capital. Internationally and in Turkey there is increasing awareness of the threats to business as usual from diminishing resources and changing investor, regulator and public attitudes that demand accountability for the role of companies as corporate citizens and the size of their environmental, social and governance footprints. On 10 August 2010 in Istanbul, the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) and Turkey Business Council for Sustainable Development (TBCSD) launched the Istanbul Stock Exchange Sustainability Index (ISESI) Project. The Project’s aim is to review listed companies on the ISE based on their management of sustainability issues and to create an index that will demonstrate the leadership of listed Turkish companies.

The ISESI seeks to provide competitive advantage for leading Turkish companies by raising the profile of sustainability leaders, similar to companies listed on global sustainability indexes, as well as indexes recently launched in emerging markets like Brazil, China, Egypt, Korea, India, and South Africa. The ISESI project will develop an index of companies listed on the ISE to act as a benchmark encouraging and enabling major companies in Turkey to compete successfully today in a world where corporate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) performance is necessary for long term success. The ISTANBUL STOCK EXCHANGE SUSTAINABILITY INDEX (ISESI) PROJECT is a multi-stakeholder project through December 2011 developing best practices with the goal of launching a Turkish sustainability benchmark for ISE-listed companies and their investors.

Sustainability indexes provide a benchmark, a “reference point against which the progress of sustainable investment can be measured globally by specific regions and across asset classes” (see also chapter on Chapter 32: Indexes in Evolutions in Sustainable Investing:Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership (Wiley, 2011) in SinCo LIBRARY. Furthermore, providing indexes meets with increased demand from index-tracking investors, and global emerging markets investors seeking differentiated and qualitative indicators, “the shift of new asset flows into indexed investing creates a large opportunity not currently seized by sustainability indexes”.  Sustainability indexes have emerged alongside demand for strategies integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. Leading countries and investors have established ESG-issue and sustainable investment indexes for some years now, including in major emerging markets Brazil (2005) and South Africa (2004). New emerging markets indexes in 2011 include in Mexico  and Russia.  The consolidation of major ESG rating firms continued in 2011 with regional specialists and global majors defining the rating landscape in emerging markets. The Sustainalytics - Responsible Research tie-up in March 2012 is the latest evidence of industry consolidation and coverage expansion in emerging markets.


2011 was a busy year for the ISESI Project  under the leadership of the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE) and Turkish Business Council for Sustainable Development (TBCSD). The ISE Sustainability Index (ISESI) aims to provide a platform for Turkish companies demonstrating best practice in corporate sustainability to benchmark against their peers, demonstrate best practice to stakeholders, and profile leaders to domestic financiers and global emerging markets investors. We end 2011 with a solid record of activity including company and investor engagement meetings, criteria decision-making workshops and research functions.

The ISESI is well on its way toward the goal of the design and development of an ISE Sustainability Index (ISESI) endorsed by leading Turkish companies, investors, NGOs, with input from international experts in sustainability, sustainable investment, and sustainability indexes. We are at the crucial stage of developing the criteria and establishing the business model for the ISE including the rating function and the institution that will execute it regularly. Therefore we have extended the ISESI project timeline and milestones to accommodate the complexity of work, the stakeholder engagement, and the pace of work possible. 2012 should see the ISESI launch in its first iteration.

The primary stakeholder for the ISESI is the private sector businesses whose activities the ISESI aims to influence and rate for advancement of sustainability performance. Engagement in 2011 was via in-person, telephonic and/or email communications. For example, the third workshop on the 23 March 2011 focused on Turkey’s ecological footprint and its effect in the investment environment, while the representatives of the ISE-traded companies discussed the first draft of the ISESI criteria at the workshop.


Investors are a critical audience for ISESI, and our work continues to map in the perspectives of investor stakeholders , building on our work in 2010 and 2011. As explained in our briefing of September 2011, strategic support from the Turkish institutional investment managers' association (TKYD), an open door to engaging investor relations professionals (for example, through IsBank), and engagement with investors internationally through global investor networks like Principles for Responsible Investment  has been important.

The ISESI project has its own Investor Stakeholder Plan, and is using the inputs from multiple sources, including the IFC report "Sustainable Investments in Turkey 2010" released in January 2011 to provide a landscape of the Turkish investment market, and drivers and barriers for growth of sustainable investment (SI) in Turkey, and the Carbon Disclosure Project Turkey 2011 Report (on behalf of 551 investors with assets of US$ 71 trillion) on 18 November 2011 , sponsored in Turkey by Akbank. Investment representations will include Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey ( Stakeholders include Private Equity investors, perhaps counter-intuitivly, but ISESI seeks to set private sector-wide sustainability practices, and PE firms are an important part  of the ISE-listing pipeline, and have also exhibited ESG factors integration.

Presentation on ISESI project to IFS 2010, Istanbul, Turkey on September 2010 


See also major Lectures and Conferences for Turkey-specific and ISESI events where the project is profiled.


  •     SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing (formerly SRI in the Rockies), Mohegan Sun Conference Center in southeastern Connecticut, 2 - 4 October 2012
  •     All Green Expo Istanbul, Turkey, September 6-9, 2012
  •     International Sustainability Conference 2012 Basel Switzerland, 29 - 31 August 2012
  •     JSE SRI Index Investor Roundtable, JSE, Sandton South Africa on 23 Aug 2012
  •     Istanbul International Conference on Business and Economics Istanbul Turkey, 3 - 4 August 2012
  •     International Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 Montclair New Jersey, 1 - 2 August 2012
  •     Global Conference on Global Warming, Istanbul Turkey, 8 - 12 July 2012
  •     PRI in Person 2012, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 28-29 June 2012
  •     SuperReturn Emerging Markets 2012: Private Equity, Growth Capital & Venture Capital In Converging, Emerging & Frontier Economies Investor Summit 25 June, Main Conference 26-28 June, InterContinental Hotel Geneva, Switzerland, 25 - 28 June 2012
  •     Rio+20, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 20 - 22 June 2012
  •     Sustainable Stock Exchange Global Dialogue, UN Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 18 June 2012
  •     ACI’s 3rd Global Forum on Anti-Corruption Compliance in Emerging Markets, To Be Determined, Washington, DC, Tuesday, June 19 to Wednesday, June 20, 2012
  •     International Conference on Economics and Finance, Izmir Turkey, 7 June 2012
  •     EBES 2012 Conference, Istanbul, Turkey, 24 - 26 May 2012
  •     B4E Business for the Environment – Global Summit 2012, Berlin Germany, 21 - 23 May 2012
  •     4th Annual ARCS 2012 Research Conference and Sustainability Teaching Summit hosted by Center for Business and the Environment (CBEY) Yale University, Wednesday 16 - Friday 18 May 2012
  •     IFC's 14th Annual Global Private Equity Conference held in association with EMPEA, The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C. USA, 14 - 16 May 2012
  •     Sustainable Investing in Action, USSIF Annual Conference, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington DC, USA, 2-4 May 2012
  •  Annual Investment Meeting 2012, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 1 - 3 May 2012
  •     International Conference on Economics and Finance, Izmir Turkey, 27 April 2012
  •     International Finance, Banking, and Insurance Congress Antalya Turkey, Antalya, Turkey, 18 - 22 April 2012
  •     Fortune Brainstorm GREEN Live, April 16-18 2012, in Laguna Niguel, CA USA
  •     4rd International Conference on Governance Fraud Ethics and CSR, Antalya Turkey, 4 - 7 April 2012
  •     ESG Leaders Webinar - 'Assessing the Effectiveness of ESG Ratings' with HOST:  Mike Scott, FTfm  SPEAKERS:  Roger Urwin, Towers Watson; Hewson Baltzell / Noel Friedman, MSCI;  Magyar Balazs, Bank Sarasin CH; Graham Sinclair, Thu 29 Mar 2012 SinCo 3:00PM BST (London)
  •     Spring Symposium 2012 - Joint IWG and UKSIF Event, 27 - 28 March 2012
  •     Turkey Trade & Export Finance Conference, Istanbul Turkey, 22 - 23 March 2012
  •     Long Finance Spring Conference 2012 - Into The Folly Of Value: Reforming Sustainable Finance, 1 March 2012
  •     MSCI Webinar: How Do You Identify a Country´s Exposure to and Management of ESG Risks? - 9 Feb 2012 10AM EST
  •     Webinar - Future risk: How can the insurance industry influence the agenda in the climate change debate? 8 February 2012
  •      Turkish and SEE Private Equity Forum, Hotel Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul, Thursday, January 19 to Friday, January 20, 2012



Check back regularly for new dates added. We look forward to meeting you and engaging in conversation about the research, findings and recommendations to grow Sustainable Investment in Turkey.



Finalizing criteria indicator and questions with consultants
Finalization of Methodology
Decision on narrative and exclusion
Communication of meeting minutes (assessment infrastructure)& timeplan with BOD     
Communication of criteria and indicator together with questions with BOD         
Communication of criteria and indicator together with questions with TBCSD
Program Group meeting TBCSD for criteria SIGN OFF
Feedback from BOD for assessment methodology & infrastructure        

Feedback to stakeholders who gave final input to criteria & questions test in December 2011
Signing-off of indicator, criteria and questions  and scoring       
Finalizing communications with companies after sign-off by TBCSD and ISE (Turkish version)
Communication of criteria and indicator
Guidance document on criteria & questions - complete draft for input
Media release on ISESI criteria and indicator



Final draft version of assessment methodology and assessment infrastructure
Briefing Capital Markets Board together with TBCSD and ISE

Necessary setup for data ownership         
Agreement with assessment company         
Training of assessment company
Setup of database
Evaluation of companies
Creation of index-rules
Call for ISE-listed companies to be rated for ISE Sustainability Index 2012
Briefing /training meeting to companies
Sending questions to ISE-listed candidate companies seeking to be included in ISESI       


Companies ESG profiles rating
Conclusion of assessment and ranking& analysis of results


Calculation of index       
Launch of results     
Launch event for ISESI 2012


Criteria development has been the major activity of 2011. The sustainability criteria have evolved substantially over the past year, hammered out through a series of workshops and multilateral meetings since the ISE-TBCSD criteria-building workshop on 8 December 2010 in Istanbul, Turkey. The ISESI Project has astutely built upon foundations in global best practice and Turkey stakeholder engagement, building on the Vision 2050 event in October 2010  co-hosted by TBCSD and chaired by WBCSD CEO, Bjorn Stigson, with some 40 senior executives from the Turkish business community. From Q2 2012 onwards, the project team was heavily engaged with scoping, defining, debating, and refining the criteria for the ISESI in 2012. The criteria have received feedback within the project and has been made available for public comment - see “The Draft Sustainability Criteria” . The final selection criteria will be communicated in a transparent and inclusive way, from the ISE website, similar to existing indices (see ISE Selection Criteria; Definitions and General Rules ). Key categories (with number of criteria questions) include: Business & Society (4); Environment (8); Social (9); Governance (13) in the current draft.

The development of criteria was able to leverage the work of best practices developed in Turkey. For example, TSK Bank’s voluntary-compliance environment policy; quantifying and recording internal environmental impact data since 2006  or academic reviews of corporate best practice dating back to 2004 . We also expect to learn more from the UNDP review of "Enhancing the Capacity of Turkey to Adapt to Climate Change (June 2008 – December 2011)" Project. The ISESI seeks to build on all existing Turkey legislation and policies , and Turkey’s active input into the United Nations (UN) High-level Panel on Global Sustainability . For example, a major country-specific criteria the team has developed is the awareness and response to earthquakes by the private sector; a point reinforced by the tragedy in Van in October 2011, and the reactions to the planned nuclear power site Akkuyu in the wake of the Japanese disaster at Fukushima earlier in 2011 .




Writing, analysis and articles which reference and/or relate to ISESI project:

  1. Evolutions in Sustainable Investing: Strategies, Funds and Thought Leadership (Wiley Finance, 2011) [Kindle Edition October 14, 2011; Hardcopy edition 27 December 2011] edited by Cary Krosinsky, Nick Robins, and Stephen Viederman includes three chapters by Graham Sinclair on Sustainability Indexes, Private Equity and Frontiers in Africa (with SinCo alumnus, Roselyne Yao).
  2. The State of Sustainable Investment in Key Emerging Markets (IFC, May 2011) IFC's Advisory Services team seeks to influence, support, and enable capital allocation and portfolio management processes, using IFC's own investment practices as a model. This high-level compilation sought to aggregate data from different analysis methods into some form that we would learn from. Since 2009, IFC has produced a series of sustainable investment country reports covering major emerging capital markets attracting global portfolio investors: Brazil, India, China, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and Turkey.
  3. IFC Sustainable Investment in Turkey by Illac (IFC, January 2011) assesses current levels of sustainable investment awareness, practices, and demand.  It also identifies opportunities to increase the flow of sustainable investment funds to Turkey.  Sustainable-investment practice factors environmental sustainability, social impact, and corporate-governance risks into investment decisions.
  4. Assessing Emerging Markets Sustainability Indices by Esty Environmental Partners (EEP) (June, 2011). This report explores the rapid expansion of sustainability indices in emerging markets and the potential of these indices to support broader sustainability efforts. It looks at 17 emerging market sustainability indices, comparing and contrasting business models, sustainability objectives, and construction methodologies, and identifying obstacles in establishing a viable business model.

Check back regularly for new data added. We look forward to meeting you and engaging in conversation about the research, findings and recommendations to grow sustainable investment in Turkey.


  1. Strengthening corporate governance in Turkey, Posted by Babak Yektafar|, CIPE Development Blog, 18 January 2011
  2. Five Questions about SRI – Weekly Expert Interview with Mustafa Baltaci, Executive Vice Chairman, Istanbul Stock Exchange, Istanbul, Turkey – December 23, 2011 By Geoffrey on December 23, 2011
  3. ISE Sustainability Index Project in progress
  4. Work on ISE Sustainability Index (ISESI) in progress, Istanbul Stock Exchange, Posted: Thursday, 24 Mar 2011
  5. TSKB Sustainability Report H2 2009 - 2010


Established in 1985, the Istanbul Stock Exchange (ISE), is the only securities exchange in Turkey to provide trading in a wide variety of securities, namely, stocks, exchange traded funds, warrants, government bonds, treasury bills, corporate bonds, money market instruments and foreign securities. With its legal framework in line with the European capital markets and modern technology, clearing and settlement in accordance with international standards, advanced intermediary services such as research, investment consultancy and portfolio management, and free repatriation of principal and proceeds for foreign investors, the ISE is a secure platform for international investors. The ISE has contributed to the development of Turkish capital markets and Turkish economy since the date of its establishment. Established as per the Governmental Decree in Force of Law (KHK) No.91, the ISE is a public corporation operating as an autonomous and professional institution and entitled to issue legal regulations related to the subjects and fields within the scope of its authority.  The General Assembly comprising of the ISE Members is the supreme decision making body. While the Chairman is appointed as per a tripartite decree, members of the Executive Council and auditors are elected by the General Assembly of ISE. Hüseyin ERKAN was appointed Chairman & CEO of the ISE on November 2, 2007. In 2010 the ISE becoming a signatory of the internationally recognized Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), which demonstrates its aims to advance the awareness and implementation of sustainable investing amongst Turkish investors, and markets. There are 330 companies listed with market capitalization of USD 280 billion on the ISE.

The World Business Council Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a CEO-led global business association of over 200 multinational corporations with a shared commitment to sustainable development and business leadership for change. TBCSD as a regional network of WBCSD is a business association, working with leading Turkish businesses on business and sustainability issues. BCSD Turkey aims the sustainable success of Turkey and Turkish Business World in the global platform, by working simultaneously with the WBCSD, to maintain social, economical, and environmental atmosphere and conditions, in the efficient usage of the resources.  Its main goal is to increase the awareness and implementation of corporate sustainability practices amongst Turkish businesses as well as engaging in multi stakeholder processes that advance sustainable development in Turkey such as the development of the ISE Sustainability Index (ISESI).

SAM is an investment boutique focused exclusively on Sustainability Investing. The firm’s offering comprises asset management, indexes and private equity. Its asset management capabilities include a range of single-theme, multi-theme and core sustainability investment strategies catering to institutional asset owners and financial intermediaries in Europe, the United States, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Through its index activities, SAM has partnered with Dow Jones Indexes for the publication and licensing of the globally recognized Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes (DJSI) as well as customized sustainability benchmarks. SAM has compiled one of the world's largest sustainability databases and analyzes over 2,000 listed companies annually. SAM belongs to Robeco, a subsidiary of the AAA-rated Rabobank Group. SAM was founded in 1995, is headquartered in Zurich and employs over 100 professionals. As of June 30, 2010, SAM’s total assets amount to EUR 11.2 billion.

Cheryl D. Hicks is an independent consultant and special advisor on sustainability. In 2008-2009 Cheryl led the WBCSD-UNEP FI initiative that brought companies and investors together to accelerate the valuation of sustainability in the capital markets.  In January 2010 Cheryl became an independent consultant focused on special projects advancing sustainability, sustainability driven innovation and the financing of sustainable development. 


  • Levent Bilgin - Istanbul Stock Exchange
  • Oya Karagumus - Istanbul Stock Exchange
  • Konca Çalkıvik - Turkey Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Cheryl Hicks
  • Edoardo Gai - Sustainable Asset Management
  • Engin Bilgin - Turkey Business Council for Sustainable Development
  • Graham Sinclair - SinCo

Project Calendar

  • ISESI launch, Istanbul Stock Exchange, Turkey H2 2012
  • Launch of ISESI company research phase Q2 2012 TBA
  • Webinar for ISESI project for investors and investment stakeholders TBA
  • Launch of revised website

Project Meetings


    • Bloomberg ESG + Turkey scoping telcon Fri 20 Apr
    • Operations telcon TBCSD Wed 18 Apr
    • E&Y Turkey scoping telcon Apr
    • Bloomberg Turkey data in-person, London UK 27 Mar
    • Team criteria telcon Thu 23 Feb 15:30 – 18:30 (SAST)
    • Team criteria telcon Fri 17 Feb 15:30 – 18:30 (SAST)
    • Team criteria telcon, Fri 10 Feb
    • Team criteria telcon, Fri 27 Jan
    • Team Mon 24 Jan
    • Team Mon 23 Jan
    • Team 13 Jan


    • Team - 19 Dec 


    • August 2010



    Follow us on



    "Graham brings energy, ideas and networks for solutions to complex challenges linking good business practice with good development practice. He is an exceptional facilitator of expert panels and groups of diverse stakeholders." - Manager, international financing facility,international organization, Geneva.

    "Graham was extremely helpful in helping get up the curve on our sustainability initiative. Graham was very knowledgeable and insightful and allowed us to quickly get up the curve on Sustainability." - Chief Administrative Officer, Global Real Estate, trillion-dollar New York headquartered global institutional investor.

    "[SinCo] brings a balanced and realistic perspective to sustainable investment and the claims related to performance. As a sustainable investment architect, [Graham] provides tangible and practical points of view on the subject without sacrificing the intellectual rigour that is needed to better understand the challenges facing the sector. Furthermore, Graham's enthusiastic and entertaining style makes the challenging subject of finance one worth listening to." - Associate, global social responsibility consultants, France

    “Graham brings energy, ideas and networks for solutions to complex challenges linking good business practice with good development practice. he is an exceptional facilitator of expert panels and groups of diverse stakeholders.” - Fund manager, international organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

    “Graham has one of the most fantastic international networks that I've ever encountered. His understanding of, and passion for, responsible investment makes him one of the most knowledgeable in the field. I've always been impressed with his delivery and focus.” - Sustainability officer, leading premium retailer, Cape Town, South Africa.

    “I have known Graham personally for over 20 years. Graham is one of the most motivated and focused people I know. Graham is committed and trusted in his work and in his relationships. He invests passionate effort in everything he does to attain the best” - global human resources officer, global investment bank, London, UK.

    “Graham launched the Boston Professional chapter of Net Impact and his leadership was instrumental in the chapter being awarded the "Rookie Chapter of the Year" award. Graham steps up, takes the lead, and always goes beyond what's required. I'm pleased to endorse him - highly recommended.”  - Professional Net Impact member, Boston, USA.

    Home  |  Our Approach  |  Portfolio of work  |  What we do  |  How we do it  |  About us  |  Library  |  Lectures & Conferences  |  Contact Us

    Recommendations  |  Frequently Asked Questions FAQs  |  Subscribe to our Newsletter  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Statement

    SinCo - Sustainable Investment Consulting LLC - is a Limited Liability Company registered in the state of Delaware, USA.

    Copyright SinCo 2006 - 2014. All Rights Reserved.