Archiv der Kategorie: Bonds

AI pollution illustration by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

AI pollution: Researchpost 185

AI pollution: Illustration from Pixabay by Gerd Altmann

AI pollution: 11x new research on varying environmental concerns, green investment market and growth, equity climate risk, AI for climate adaptation and AI pollution, ESG surveys, SDG scores and benefits of green corporate and government bonds (#shows SSRN downloads as of July 18th, 2024)

Ecoological and social research

Environmental concerns: “The development of global environmental concern during the last three decades by Axel Franzen and Sebastian Bahr as of July 10th, 2024 (#9): “… the average level of countries` environmental concern first decreased until 2010 but recovered in 2020 to the level observed in 1993. … Countries with higher GDP per capita tend to rank higher in terms of environmental concern. At the individual level, environmental concern is closely related to education, post-materialistic values, political attitudes, and individuals’ trust in the news media and in science” (p. 8).

Broad green market: Investing in the green economy 2024 – Growing in a fractured landscape by Lily Dai, Lee Clements, Alan Meng, Beth Schuck, Jaakko Kooroshy from LSEG as of July 9th, 2024: “The global green economy, a market providing climate and environmental solutions, … In 2023 it made a strong recovery from a sharp decline in 2022, with its market capitalisation reaching US$7.2 trillion in Q1 2024. However, headwinds remain, such as overcapacity issues and trade barriers related to renewable energy equipment and electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing. … Despite market volatility and increasingly complex geopolitical risks …, the green economy is expanding. Its long-term growth (10-year CAGR of 13.8%) outpaces the broader listed equities market. … Energy Efficiency has been by far the best-performing green sector, as well as the largest (46% of the green economy and 30% of the proceeds from green bonds), covering, for example, efficient IT equipment and green buildings. … Almost all industries generate green revenues. Technology is by far the largest sector (US$2.3 trillion of market capitalisation) and Automobiles has the highest green penetration rate (42%). … Newly issued green bonds now account for around 6% of the total bond offerings each year … meanwhile carbon-intensive bond issuance is approximately 2.5 times higher than green bond issuance each year. … Tech giants are concerned with their increasingly significant energy consumption and environmental footprints and are becoming the largest buyers of renewable energy. …  energy-efficiency improvement, which is another area of potentially rapid growth, is needed in areas including chips and servers, cooling systems, hyperscale data centres and energy-demand management” (p. 4/5).

ESG investment research (in: AI pollution)

Green investment growth potential: Household Climate Finance: Theory and Survey Data on Safe and Risky Green Assets by Shifrah Aron-Dine, Johannes Beutel, Monika Piazzesi, and Martin Schneider as of July 1st, 2024 (#4, for a free download a NBER subscription is required): “This paper studies green investing … using high-quality, representative survey data of German households. We find substantial heterogeneity in green taste for both safe and risky green assets throughout the wealth distribution. Model counterfactuals show nonpecuniary benefits and hedging demands currently make green equity more expensive for firms. Yet, these taste effects are dominated by optimistic expectations about green equity returns, lowering firms‘ cost of green equity to a greenium of 1%. Looking ahead, we … find green equity investment could potentially double when information about green finance spreads across the population” (abstract). My comment: It would be interesting to have a similar studyon social investments which unfortunately are even less common than serious green investments(my approach with listed equities see My fund).

Wrong ESG-questions? Sustainability Preferences: The Role of Beliefs by Rob Bauer, Bin Dong, and Peiran Jiao as of July 12th, 2024 (#97): “In this study, we formally investigate index fund investors’ return expectations towards ESG funds … Our methodologies encompass both the widely used unincentivized Likert scale questions and the incentivized Exchangeability and Choice Matching Methods. … Utilizing unincentivized Likert scale methods, we observe that a majority of investors expect that ESG funds financially underperform relative to conventional funds. Conversely, when applying the incentivized … methods, investors report consistent beliefs that are in contrast with their beliefs from the unincentivized Likert scale. What gives us additional confidence is that our incentivized methods elicit beliefs closer to investors’ true belief is that these beliefs also have a significant and meaningful impact on investors’ allocation choices. … the significant influence of investors’ return expectations on their allocation to SRIs underscores the importance of financial motivations in investment decisions related to SRIs. Therefore, return expectations play an important role in investors’ decisions involving SRI“ (p. 26 and 28).

Equity climate risk: How Does Climate Risk Affect Global Equity Valuations? A Novel Approach by Riccardo Rebonato, Dherminder Kainth, and Lionel Meli from EDHEC as of July 2024: “1. A robust abatement policy, i.e., roughly speaking, a policy consistent with the 2°C Paris-Agreement target, can limit downward equity revaluation to 5-to-10%. 2. Conversely, the correction to global equity valuation can be as large as 40% if abatement remains at historic rates, even in the absence of tipping points. … 3. Tipping points exacerbate equity valuation shocks but are not required for substantial equity losses to be incurred” (p. 6).

Equity climate risk return effects: The Effects of Physical and Transition Climate Risk on Stock Markets: Some Multi-Country Evidence by Marina Albanese, Guglielmo Maria Caporale, Ida Colella, and Nicola Spagnolo as of July 3rd, 2024 (#20): “This paper examines the impact of transition and physical climate risk on stock markets … for 48 countries from 2007 to 2023 … The results suggest a positive impact of transition risk on stock returns and a negative one of physical risk, especially in the short term. Further, while physical risk appears to have an immediate impact, transition risk is shown to affect stock markets also over a longer time horizon. Finally, national climate policies seem to be more effective when implemented within a supranational framework as in the case of the EU-28“ (abstract).

Adaptation AI: Harnessing AI to assess corporate adaptation plans on alignment with climate adaptation and resilience goals by Roberto Spacey Martín, Nicola Ranger, Tobias Schimanski, and Markus Leippold as of July 2nd, 2024 (#293): “We build on established sustainability disclosure frameworks and propose a new Adaptation Alignment Assessment Framework (A3F) to analyse corporate adaptation and resilience progress. We combine the framework with a natural language processing model and provide an example application to the Nature Action 100 companies. The pilot application demonstrates that corporate reporting on climate adaptation and resilience needs to be improved and implies that progress on adaptation alignment is limited. Further, we find that … integration of nature-related risks and dependencies is low“ (abstract). My comment: I miss studies on the experience with AI of ESG “rating” agencies. My data supplier Clarity.ai seems to be rather good in this respect, see Clarity AI named a leader in Forrester Wave ESG 2024 – Clarity AI

AI pollution: AI and environmental sustainability: how to govern an ambivalent relationship by Federica Lucivero as of March 12th, 2024 (#23): “While AITs hold promise in optimizing supply chains, circular economies, and renewable energy, they also contribute to significant environmental costs …. The concept of „digital pollution“ emphasizes the physical and ecological impacts of AI infrastructures, data storage, resource consumption, and toxic emissions. … “ (abstract).

Impact investment research (in: AI pollution)

Stable SDG scores? Sustainability Matters: Company SDG Scores Need Not Have Size, Location, and ESG Disclosure Biases by Lewei He, Harald Lohre and Jan Anton van Zanten from Robeco as of July 11th, 2024 (#65): “We investigate whether SDG scores, which evaluate companies’ alignment with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, exhibit similar biases that affect ESG ratings. Specifically, we document that SDG scores need not be influenced by size, location, and disclosure biases” (abstract). My comment: SDG-scores typically include very similar information as ESG scores. It would be interesting to investigate the value add of SDG-scores to ESG-scores. I prefer SDG-revenues as indicators for SDG-alignment.

Green impact: Greenness Demand For US Corporate Bonds by Rainer Jankowitsch, Alexander Pasler, Patrick Weiss, and Josef Zechner as of July 11th, 2024 (#26): “We document that institutional investors have a positive demand for greener assets. … In particular, the Paris Agreement signed at COP21 is accompanied by the highest greenness demand, and the US withdrawal from the same policy is associated with a significant decrease in greenness demand. … Bonds of firms with high environmental performance have, on average, significantly lower yields due to greenness demand, and vice versa for brown bonds. Furthermore, our findings reveal that insurance companies, with their consistent positive greenness demand, significantly drive these valuation effects. … Our counterfactual analyses allow us to quantify both the losses browner portfolios experience and the benefits for investors with a positive greenness tilt. These results point to the potential regulatory risks faced by investors due to uncertain future policies …  firms can derive significant yield reductions from improving their environmental performance. These benefits are larger for the brownest firms, and the benefits rise with greenness demand across the environmental spectrum. Despite this fact, we only find evidence that green firms react to changes in demand by improving their greenness in periods following high greenness demand, whereas brown firms do not. … we also show that green firms react to higher greenness demand by raising more capital via corporate bonds than their brown counterparts, as the former issue bonds more frequently and choose higher face values“ (p. 43/44). My comment: My approach of investing only in the companies with very good ESG-scores (see e.g. SDG-Investmentbeispiel 5) seems to be OK

Green catalysts: Sovereign Green Bonds: A Catalyst for Sustainable Debt Market Development? by Gong Cheng, Torsten Ehlers, Frank Packer, and Yanzhe Xiao from the International Monetary Fund as of July 12th,  2024 (#12): “… the sovereign (debt issuance, Sö) debut is associated with an increase in the number and the volume of corporate green bond issues. The stricter a country’s climate policy or the less vulnerable the country is to climate risks, the stronger this catalytic effect of its sovereign debut. … sovereign issuers entering the green and labelled bond market promote best practice in terms of green verification and reporting, inducing corporate issuers to follow suit. … The debut is a distinctive event for the liquidity and pricing of corporate green bonds; it increases liquidity and diminishes yield spreads in the corporate green bond markets. The same impact is not observed for subsequent sovereign green bond issues after the debut. Our empirical study shows that sovereigns’ entry into the sustainable bond market can spur corporate sustainable bond market development, even when sovereigns are latecomers to the markets. Sovereigns entering the sustainable bond market help to stimulate more growth in private sustainable bond markets as well as improve market liquidity and pricing. We also see scope for sovereign issuers to improve further market transparency, in line with the recommendations of NGFS (2022). Some jurisdictions have introduced supervisory schemes for green verification providers. To standardise or make mandatory impact reporting is another important step that might be considered in future regimes“ (p. 19). My comment: Currently, I only use bonds of multilateral development banks instead of government bonds for ETF allocation portfolios. But this research shows that giving money to Governments which do strange things from a sustainability perspective (= all) may be OK if green/social/sustainable bonds are used.

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Werbehinweis (in: AI pollution)

Unterstützen Sie meinen Researchblog, indem Sie in meinen globalen Smallcap-Investmentfonds (SFDR Art. 9) investieren und/oder ihn empfehlen. Der Fonds konzentriert sich auf die Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDG: Investment impact) und verwendet separate E-, S- und G-Best-in-Universe-Mindestratings sowie ein breites Aktionärsengagement (Investor impact) bei derzeit 29 von 30 Unternehmen: Vgl. My fund.

Zur jetzt wieder guten Performance siehe zum Beispiel Fonds-Portfolio: Mein Fonds | CAPinside

Tiny houses: ai generated by GrumpyBeere from Pixabay

Tiny houses and more: Researchpost 184

Tiny houses: Illustration AI generated by GrumpyBeere from Pixabay

7x new studies on tiny and shared housing, climate-induced stock volatility, sustainability-led bonds, ESG-ETF divestment effects, hedge fund corporate governance effects, SFDR analysis, female SDG fintech power (# shows SSRN full paper downloads as of July 11th, 2024)

Social and ecological research (Tiny houses and more)

Tiny houses and & shared living:  Living smaller: acceptance, effects and structural factors in the EU by Matthias Lehner, Jessika Luth Richter, Halliki Kreinin, Pia Mamut, Edina Vadovics, Josefine Henman, Oksana Mont, Doris Fuchs as of June 27th, 2024: “This article … studies the acceptance, motivation and side-effects of voluntarily reducing living space in five European Union countries: Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Spain and Sweden. … Overall, the data reveal an initial reluctance among citizens to reduce living space voluntarily. They also point to some major structural barriers: the housing market and its regulatory framework, social inequality, or dominant societal norms regarding ‘the ideal home’. Enhanced community amenities can compensate for reduced private living space, though contingent upon a clear allocation of rights and responsibilities. Participants also reported positive effects to living smaller, including increased time for leisure activities and proximity to services. This was often coupled with urbanization, which may also be part of living smaller in the future” (Abstract). My comment: See Wohnteilen: Viel Wohnraum-Impact mit wenig Aufwand

Responsible investment research

Climate vola: Do Climate Risks Increase Stock Volatility? By Mengjie Shi from the Deutsche Bundesbank Research Center as of July 1st, 2024 (#23): “This paper finds that stocks in firms with high climate risk exposure tend to exhibit increased volatility, a trend that has intensified in recent years, especially following the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. … Institutional investors and climate policies help counterbalance the impact of climate risks on stock stability, whereas public concerns amplify it. My baseline findings are robust across alternative climate risk and stock volatility measures, as well as diverse country samples. Subsample analysis reveals that these effects are more pronounced in firms with carbon reduction targets, those in carbon-intensive industries, and those with reported emissions” (p. 23).

Bondwashing? Picking out “ESG-debt Lemons”: Institutional Investors and the Pricing of Sustainability-linked Bonds by Aleksander A. Aleszczyk and Maria Loumioti as of July 2nd, 2024 (#20): “… classifying SLBs into impact-oriented (i.e., ESG performance-enhancement and transition bonds) and values-oriented (i.e., bonds not written on ambitious and material sustainability outcomes or those issued by firms with less significant sustainability footprint). We find that investors equally price various degrees of sustainability impact in SLBs and likely pay too much for buying an ESG-label attached to SLBs that are unlikely to yield strong sustainability impact. We show that demand for sustainability impact is positively influenced by investors’ ESG commitment and strategy implementation and SLB investment preferences. Heavyweight ESG-active asset managers are more likely to purchase values-aligned SLBs. Focusing on investor pricing decisions, we find that new entrants and investors likely to benefit from adding impact-oriented SLBs to their portfolios are more willing to pay for impact. In contrast, investors with a preference for values-oriented SLBs are less willing to pay a sustainability impact premium“ (p. 31/32). My comment: I focus on bond-ETFs with already good ESG-ratings for my ETF-portfolios not on (“sustainable”) bond labels

Divestments work: The effects of Divestment from ESG Exchange Traded Funds by Sebastian A. Gehricke, Pakorn Aschakulporn, Tahir Suleman, and Ben Wilkinson as of June 25th, 2024 (#5): “We find that divestment by predominantly passive ESG ETFs has a significant negative effect on the stock returns of firms, especially when a higher number of ESG ETFs divest in a firm in the same quarter …. Such coordinated divestment results in initial negative effects on stock returns, increases in the firms’ equity and debt cost of capital and a delayed decrease in carbon emission intensities. There also seems to be a positive effect on ESG ratings, but only after 8 quarters” (p. 16/17). My comment: my experience with divestments is positive, see Divestments: 49 bei 30 Aktien meines Artikel 9 Fonds. Since then, I reinvested  in a few stocks which improved their ESG-ratings.

Good hedge funds: Corporate Governance and Hedge Fund Activism by Shane Goodwin as of Feb. 12th, 2024 (#159): “My novel approach to inside ownership and short-interest positions as instrumented variables that predict a Target Firm’s vulnerability to hedge fund activism contributes to the literature on the determinants of shareholder activism. … My findings suggest that Hedge Fund Activists generate substantial long-term value for Target Firms and their long-term shareholders when those hedge funds function as a shareholder advocate to monitor management through active board engagement“ (p. 155/156).

SFDR clarity? Sustainability-related materiality in the SFDR by Nathan de Arriba-Sellier and Arnaud Van Caenegem as of July 1st, 2024 (#19): “… we should think about the SFDR as a layered system of sustainability-related disclosures, which combine the concepts of “single-materiality” and the “double-materiality”. …  it is not the definition of “sustainable investment” which is relevant, but the additional disclosure requirements that apply as soon as a financial market participant deems its financial product to be in line with the definition. The SFDR encourages robust internal assessments over blind reliance on opaque ESG rating agencies and provides financial market participants with the freedom to justify what a contribution to an environmental or social objective means. This freedom sets it apart from a labeling mechanism with a clearly defined threshold of what a contribution should entail. The … proposed guidelines by ESMA for regulating the names of investment funds that involve sustainable investment … do not create a clear labelling regime” (abstract).

Other investment research (in: Tiny houses and more)

Female SDG power: Measuring Fintech’s Commitment to Sustainable Development Goals by Víctor Giménez García, Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá, Diego Prior Jiménez and Josep Rialp as of May 31st, 2024 (#8): “This study investigates the performance of Fintech companies in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) … Our results show that female founders enhance Fintech sector’s alignment with the SDGs, specially in smaller companies, indicating that gender diversity in leadership promotes sustainable practices. Additionally, companies with more experienced founders and higher funding tend to prioritize growth and financial performance over sustainability” (abstract).

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Werbehinweis (in: Tiny houses and more)

Unterstützen Sie meinen Researchblog, indem Sie in meinen globalen Smallcap-Investmentfonds (SFDR Art. 9) investieren und/oder ihn empfehlen. Der Fonds konzentriert sich auf die Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDG: Investment impact) und verwendet separate E-, S- und G-Best-in-Universe-Mindestratings sowie ein breites Aktionärsengagement (Investor impact) bei derzeit 29 von 30 Unternehmen: Vgl. My fund.

Zur jetzt wieder guten Performance siehe zum Beispiel Fonds-Portfolio: Mein Fonds | CAPinside

Halbjahres-Renditen Illustration von Gerd Altmann von Pixabay

Halbjahres-Renditen: Divergierende Nachhaltigkeitsperformances

Halbjahres-Renditen Illustration von Gerd Altmann von Pixabay

Halbjahres-Renditen der Soehnholz ESG Portfolios: Vereinfacht zusammengefasst haben die Trendfolge-, ESG-ETF- und SDG-ETF-Aktienportfolios relativ schlecht rentiert. Dafür performten passive Asset Allokationen, ESG-Anleihenportfolios und vor allem direkte SDG Portfolios und der FutureVest Equity SDG Fonds sehr gut.

Halbjahres-Renditen: Passive schlägt aktive Allokation

Halbjahres-Renditen: Das regelbasierte „most passive“ Multi-Asset Weltmarkt ETF-Portfolio hat +7,2% (+5,4% in Q1) gemacht. Das ist ähnlich wie Multi-Asset ETFs (+7,0%) und besser als aktive Mischfonds mit +6,0% (+4,8% in Q1). Das ebenfalls breit diversifizierte ESG ETF-Portfolio hat mit +6,5% (+4,2% in Q1) ebenfalls überdurchschnittlich rentiert.

Nachhaltige ETF-Portfolios: Anleihen gut, Aktien nicht so gut, SDG schwierig

Das ESG ETF-Portfolio ex Bonds lag mit +9,3% (+6,1% in Q1) erheblich hinter traditionellen Aktien-ETFs mit +14,7% (+10,6% in Q1) und aktiv gemanagten globalen Aktienfonds mit +13,7% zurück.

Mit -0,9% (-0,3% in Q1) rentierte das sicherheitsorientierte ESG ETF-Portfolio Bonds (EUR) wie aktive Fonds mit -0,9% (-0,7% in Q1). Das renditeorientierte ESG ETF-Portfolio Bonds hat mit +1,6% (+1,6% in Q1) dagegen nennenswert besser abgeschnitten als vergleichbare aktiv gemanagte Fonds (-1.2%).

Das aus thematischen Aktien-ETFs zusammengestellte SDG ETF-Portfolio lag mit -1,4% (-0,2% in Q1) stark hinter diversifizierten Weltaktienportfolios aber noch vor einem relativ neuen Multithemen SDG ETF, der -4,8% im ersten Halbjahr verlor. Besonders thematische Investments mit ökologischem Fokus liefen auch im zweiten Quartal 2024 nicht gut.  

Halbjahres-Renditen: Sehr gute direkte ESG SDG Portfolios und Fonds

Das auf Small- und Midcaps fokussierte Global Equities ESG SDG hat im ersten Halbjahr mit +8,4% (1,4% in Q1) im Vergleich zu Small- (+1,4%) und Midcap-ETFs (+0,6%) und aktiven Aktienfonds (+5,8%) sehr gut abgeschnitten. Das Global Equities ESG SDG Social Portfolio hat mit +6,3% (+3,7% in Q1) ebenfalls sehr gut abgeschnitten.

Mein auf globales Smallcaps fokussierter FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R Fonds (Start 2021) hat im ersten Halbjahr 2024 eine ebenfalls sehr gute Rendite von +6,8% (+2,6% in Q1) erreicht (weitere Informationen wie z.B. auch den aktuellen detaillierten Engagementreport siehe FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T und My fund – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com).

Für Trendfolgeportfolios haben die zur Risikosenkung gedachten Signale vor allem Rendite gekostet, weil die Portfolios nach dem Marktausstieg aufgrund negativer Signale nicht von dem schnellen und starken Marktaufschwung profitieren konnten.

Mehr Details sind hier zu finden: Soehnholz ESG, siehe auch Excel-Download: Historische Zeitreihen der Portfolios.

ESG audits illustration by xdfolio from Pixabay

ESG audits: Researchpost 181

ESG audits illustration by xdfolio from Pixabay

ESG audits: 9x new research on migration, floods, biodiversity risks, credit risks, ESG assurance, share loans, LLM financial advice, mental models and gender investing (# shows number of SSRN full paper downloads as of June 20th, 2024).

Social and ecological research

Complementary migrants: Do Migrants Displace Native-Born Workers on the Labour Market? The Impact of Workers‘ Origin by Valentine Fays, Benoît Mahy, and François Rycx as of April 9th, 2024 (#34): “… native-born people with both parents born in the host country (referred to as ‘natives’) and native-born people with at least one parent born abroad (referred to as ‘2nd-generation migrants’) … Our benchmark results … show that the relationship between 1stgeneration migrants, on the one hand, and natives and 2nd-generation migrants, on the other hand, is statistically significant and positive, suggesting that there is a complementarity in the hirings or firing of these different categories of workers in Belgium … tests support the hypothesis of complementarity between 1st-generation migrants on the one hand, and native and 2nd-generation migrant workers on the other. … complementarity is reinforced when workers have the same (high or low) level of education and when 1st-generation migrant workers come from developed countries” (p. 22/23).

ESG investment research (in: ESG audits)

Corporate flood risk: Floods and firms: vulnerabilities and resilience to natural disasters in Europe by Serena Fatica, Gábor Kátay and Michela Rancan as of April 16th, 2024 (#76): “…. we investigate the dynamic impacts of flood events on European manufacturing firms during the 2007-2018 period. … We find that water damages have a significant and persistent adverse effect on firm-level outcomes, and may endanger firm survival, as firms exposed to water damages are on average less likely to remain active. In the year after the event, an average flood deteriorates firms’ assets by about 2% and their sales by about 3%, without clear signs of full recovery even after 8 years. While adjusting more sluggishly, employment follows a similar pattern, experiencing a contraction for the same number of years at least. “ (p. 35).

Too green? Impact of ESG on Corporate Credit Risk by Rupali Vashisht as of May 30th, 2024 (#23): “… improvements in ESG ratings lead to lower spreads due to the risk mitigation effect for brown firms. On the other hand, for green firms, ESG rating upgrades lead to higher spreads. Next, E pillar is the strongest pillar in determining the bond spreads of brown firms. All pillars E, S, and G pillars are important determinants of bond spreads for green firms. Lastly, improvements in ESG ratings are heterogeneous across quantiles“ (abstract). “… “findings in the recent literature substantiate the results of this paper by providing evidence that green companies are deemed safe by investors and that any efforts towards improving ESG performance may be considered wasteful and therefore, penalized” (p. 47). My comment: In may experience, even companies with good ESG ratings can improve their sustainability significantly. Investors should encourage that through stakeholder engagement. My approach see Shareholder engagement: 21 science based theses and an action plan – (prof-soehnholz.com) or my engagement policy here Nachhaltigkeitsinvestmentpolitik_der_Soehnholz_Asset_Management_GmbH

Independent ESG audits: Scrutinizing ESG Assurance through the Lens of Reporting by Cai Chen as of June 7th, 2024 (#33): “… I examine three reporting properties (materiality, verifiability, and objectivity) relevant to the objectives of ESG assurance (Söhnholz: independent verification) across an international sample. I document positive associations between ESG assurance and all three reporting properties … These associations strengthen with assurers’ greater industry experience, companies’ ESG-linked compensation, and companies’ high negative ESG exposure” (abstract).

Biodiversity ESG audits: Pricing Firms’ Biodiversity Risk Exposure: Empirical Evidence from Audit Fees by Tobias Steindl, Stephan Küster, and Sven Hartlieb as of as of May 14th, 2024 (#73): “… we find that biodiversity risk is associated with higher audit fees for a large sample of listed U.S. firms. Further tests reveal that auditors do not increase their audit efforts due to firms’ higher biodiversity risk exposure but rather charge an audit fee risk premium. We also find that this audit fee risk premium is only charged (i) by auditors located in counties with high environmental awareness, and (ii) if the general public’s attention to biodiversity is high“ (abstract).

Other investment research (in: ESG audits)

Share loaning: Long-term value versus short-term profits: When do index funds recall loaned shares for voting? by Haoyi (Leslie) Luo and Zijin (Vivian) Xu as of May 22nd, 2024 (#20): “… we analyze the share recall behavior of index funds during proxy voting and investigate the implications for voting outcomes. … We find that higher index ownership is more likely associated with share recall, particularly in the presence of higher institutional ownership, lower past return performance, smaller firms, and more shares held by younger fund families with higher turnover ratios or higher management fees. … a higher recall prior to the record date is associated with fewer votes for a proposal if opposed by ISS“ (p. 29). My comment: ETF-selectors should discuss if loaning shares is positive or negative.

AI financial advice: Using large language models for financial advice by Christian Fieberg, Lars Hornuf and David J. Streich as of May 31st, 2024 (#162): “…. we elicit portfolio recommendations from 32 LLMs for 64 investor profiles differing with respect to their risk tolerance and capacity, home country, sustainability preferences, gender, and investment experience. To assess the quality of the recommendations, we investigate the implementability, exposure, and historical performance of these portfolios. We find that LLMs are generally capable of generating financial advice as the recommendations can in fact be implemented, take into account investor circumstances when determining exposure to markets and risk, and display historical performance in line with the risks assumed. We further find that foundation models are better suited to provide financial advice than fine-tuned models and that larger models are better suited to provide financial advice than smaller models. … We find no difference in performance for either of the model features. Based on these results, we discuss the potential application of LLMs in the financial advice context“ (abstract).

Mental constraints? Mental Models in Financial Markets: How Do Experts Reason about the Pricing of Climate Risk? by Rob Bauer, Katrin Gödker, Paul Smeets, and Florian Zimmermann as of June 3rd, 2024 (#175): “We investigate financial experts’ beliefs about climate risk pricing and analyze how those beliefs influence stock return expectations. … most experts share the view that climate risks are insufficiently reflected in stock prices, yet they hold heterogeneous beliefs about the source and persistence of the mispricing. … Differences in experts’ mental models explain variation in return expectations in the short-term (1-year) and long-term (10-year). Furthermore, we document that experts’ political leanings and geography determine the type of mental model they hold” (abstract).

Gender investments: Gender effects in intra-couple investment decision-making: risk attitude and risk and return expectations by Jan-Christian Fey, Carolin E. Hoeltken, and Martin Weber as of Nov. 29th, 2023 (#147): “Using representative data on German households … we show that the relation between gender, risk attitudes (both in general and financial matters) and risky investment is much more complex than prior literature has acknowledged. … This analysis has shown that risk-loving, wife-headed households seem to have a less optimistic risk and return assessment than their husband-headed counterparts. Overall, 40 percent of the 10.57 percentage point gap in capital market participation potentially arises from a less favourable view on investment Sharpe ratios taken by female financial heads. … General risk attitudes are our preferred measure of innate risk attitudes since the financial risk attitude question can easily be contaminated by financial constraints, and understood by survey participants as a question of their capacity to take risks rather than their willingness“ (p. 42/43).

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Werbehinweis

Unterstützen Sie meinen Researchblog, indem Sie in meinen globalen Smallcap-Investmentfonds (SFDR Art. 9) investieren und/oder ihn empfehlen. Der Fonds konzentriert sich auf die Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDG: Investment impact) und verwendet separate E-, S- und G-Best-in-Universe-Mindestratings sowie ein breites Aktionärsengagement (Investor impact) bei derzeit 29 von 30 Unternehmen:  My fund – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com). Zur jetzt wieder guten Performance siehe zum Beispiel Fonds-Portfolio: Mein Fonds | CAPinside

Brown banks: clker free vector images from Pixabay

Brown banks? Researchpost 180

Brown banks picture from clker free vector images from Pixabay

Brown banks: 9x new research on CO2-costs, climate policy effects, Mittelstand climate, stock prices, ESG, CSR, gender diversity, green projects, and listed real estate (# shows the number of SSRN full research paper downloads as of June 13th, 2024)

Social and ecological research

Correct CO2 costs? Synthesis of evidence yields high social cost of carbon due to structural model variation and uncertainties by Frances C. Moore, Moritz A. Drupp, James Rising, Simon Dietz, Ivan Rudik, Gernot Wagner as of June 10th, 2024 (#9): “Estimating the cost to society from a ton of CO2 – termed the social cost of carbon (SCC) – requires connecting a model of the climate system with a representation of the economic and social effects of changes in climate, and the aggregation of diverse, uncertain impacts across both time and space. … we perform a comprehensive synthesis of the evidence on the SCC, combining 1823 estimates of the SCC from 147 studies with a survey of authors of these studies. The distribution of published 2020 SCC values is wide and substantially right-skewed, showing evidence of a heavy right tail (truncated mean of $132). … we train a random forest model on variation in the literature and use it to generate a synthetic SCC distribution that more closely matches expert assessments of appropriate model structure and discounting. This synthetic distribution has a mean of $284 per ton CO2, respectively, for a 2020 pulse year (5%–95% range: $32–$874), higher than all official government estimates … “ (abstract).

Strict policy effects: Climate and Environmental Policy Risk and Debt by Karol Kempa and Ulf Moslener as of April 25th, 2024 (#95): “… we find that policy determines how firms’ externalities, such as CO2 emissions and different types of environmental pollution, translate into credit risks and corporate bond pricing. The size as well as direction of the effect of externalities on credit risk and bond spreads depends on the stringency of policy. Ambitious policy increases the credit risk and costs of debt for dirty firms and decreases both for clean firms. Lenient regulation can have the opposite effect. … Finally, we find that a higher likelihood of stringent climate policies in the future increases the impact of CO2 emissions on credit risk“ (abstract).

Mittelstandsklima: Die unternehmerische Akzeptanz von Klimaschutzregulierung von Markus Rieger-Fels, Susanne Schlepphorst, Christian Dienes, Rodi Akalan, Annette Icks und Hans-Jürgen Wolter vom 3. Juni 2024: „Nur eine starke Volkswirtschaft kann die für den Klimaschutz erforderlichen Ressourcen aufbringen. Die Unternehmen sind dabei in der Mehrzahl bereit, diesen Weg mitzugehen. Speziell die mittelständischen Unternehmerinnen und Unternehmer weisen tendenziell eine hohe intrinsische Motivation auf, zum Schutz der Umwelt und des Klimas beizutragen. Das ist wichtig, da den Unternehmen stets ein strategischer Spielraum in der Umsetzung bleibt. Das Spektrum reicht dabei von einer Standortverlagerung über eine Produktionseinstellung und dem bewussten Ignorieren von Vorgaben bis hin zur freiwilligen Übererfüllung von Regulierungen …“ (p. 26/27). My comment: The reaction of global “Mittelstand” companies regarding my shareholder engagement activities (see Shareholder engagement: 21 science based theses and an action plan – (prof-soehnholz.com)) is more open than I thought

ESG investment research (in: Brown banks)

Brown banks? Banking on climate chaos – Fossil fuel finance report 2024 by Urgewald as of May 13th, 2024: “The 60 biggest banks globally committed $705 B USD to companies conducting business in fossil fuels in 2023, bringing the total since the Paris agreement to $6.9 T. These banks committed $347 billion in 2023 and $3.3 trillion total since 2016 to expansion companies – those companies that the Global Oil & Gas Exit List and the Global Coal Exit List report having expansion plans. … Total financing committed for companies with methane gas (LNG) import and export capacity under development, increased from $116.0 billion in 2022 to $121.0 billion in 2023. … 15.4 % of the financing by dollar value issued in 2023 matures after 2030; 3.7 % matures after 2050. Financing for fossil fuel extraction or infrastructure that matures after 2030 faces a risk of becoming stranded … several banks, including Bank of America and PNC, rolled back their previous exclusions in 2023 (see p. 32). Banks continue to prioritize net zero targets, though early research suggests that these targets, like other bank policies, leave loopholes for ongoing fossil fuel finance (see p. 35)” (p. 4). My comment: Check out you bank based on the detailed data: Banking on Climate Chaos 2024 – Banking on Climate Chaos

Climate correlations: The Cold Hard Cash Effect: Temperature’s Role in Shaping Stock Market Outcomes by Yosef Bonaparte as of April 15th, 2024 (#8): “The analysis conducted across 67 countries …highlight that warmer climates are linked to lower stock market returns, with a notable economic significance exceeding 9.12%, and reduced volatility, demonstrating an economic significance of at least 36.9%. Conversely, the Sharpe ratio, serving as a gauge of risk-adjusted returns, displays a positive co-movement with temperature change, indicating an economic significance surpassing 1.63%. Furthermore, cold countries earn greater stock market returns but are more negatively affected by temperature changes” (p. 16).

ESG or CSR? Combining CSR and ESG for Sustainable Business Transformation: When Corporate Purpose Gets a Reality Check by David Risi, Eva Schlindwein and Christopher Wickert as of June 7th, 2024 (#135): “ESG is a compliance-driven and metrics-oriented idea for stimulating sustainable business transformation. It focuses on reducing negative impacts and improving performance in specific areas. Moreover, it provides a reality check on how a firm is doing in light of increasing societal expectations for greater sustainability. By contrast, CSR is often viewed as a more values-based and internally driven approach to sustainability. It provides a strategy for developing a sense of meaning and purpose for responsible business conduct that reflects a firm’s values and identity… In their mutual integration, CSR and ESG create synergy since they can compensate for their respective weaknesses” (p. 12/13).

Good diversity: Board Gender Diversity and Investment Efficiency: Global Evidence from 83 Country-Level Interventions by Dave (Young Il) Baik, Clara Xiaoling Chen, and David Godsell as of May 4th, 2024 (#177): “We document increases in firms’ investment efficiency after the adoption of BGD interventions relative to firms in countries that do not concurrently adopt BGD interventions. Our results are economically significant, suggesting that treatment firms reduce inefficient investment by 0.6 percent of total assets or 6.5 percent of total investment and are 4 percentage points more likely to have above-median investment efficiency after interventions relative to firms in countries not concurrently adopting interventions“ (p. 33). My comment: I recently divested from a company because the social rating declined which was mainly due to low gender worker and board diversity

Impact investment research

Small climate steps: Inside the Blackbox of Firm Environmental Efforts: Evidence from Emissions Reduction Initiatives by Catrina Achilles, Peter Limbach, Michael Wolff and Aaron Yoon as of June 7th, 2024 (#35): “This study uses granular data at the firm’s project level, provided by the Carbon Disclosure Project, to present primary evidence on what large U.S. firms actually do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. … the majority of emissions reduction projects require small investments – the median investment per project is $127,000, with the median of firms’ total annual investment in such projects amounting to only 0.2% of net income. Second, 63% of all projects have payback periods of at most three years, while just about 10% of all projects pay off after more than ten years. These short-term projects mostly target energy efficiency in buildings or production, and typically do not involve new transformative technology and low-carbon energy. … our results suggest that short-term emissions reduction projects generate more CO2e and monetary savings per year, yield greater NPVs, and predict higher environment-related ESG ratings in the near future. However, total CO2e savings over the projects’ lifetime are at least 25% lower for short-term payback projects. Firms that exhibit the most CO2e savings have a mix of short- and longer-term projects, while firms exclusively implementing only short-term or longer-term projects save significantly less CO2e. We also study how characteristics of firms’ emissions reduction projects, such as their payback period and efficiency in saving CO2e, evolve over time and show which firms implement more short-term projects …. the evidence presented in this paper suggests that the majority of large U.S. firms do not act … long-term oriented” (p. 31/32).  

Other investment research (in: Brown banks)

Real estate hedge: U.S. and European Listed Real Estate as an Inflation Hedge by Jan Muckenhaupt, Martin Hoesli and Bing Zhu as of May 28th, 2024 (#27): “This paper investigates the inflation-hedging capability of an important asset class, i.e., listed real estate (LRE), using data from 1990 to the end of 2023 … Listed real estate provides an effective hedge against inflation in the long run, both in crisis and non-crisis periods. In the short term, listed real estate only hedges against inflation in stable periods. LRE effectively serves as a hedge against inflation shocks, particularly protecting against unexpected inflation from the first month and against energy inflation during stable periods. While stocks surpass LRE in long-term inflation protection and LRE has short-term benefits, gold distinguishes itself from LRE by offering reliable long-run protection, but only in economic downturns” (abstract). My comment: My “most-passive” multi-asset ETF portfolios have a target allocation of 10-12% Listed Real Estate, 5 to 6 % Listed Infrastructure and 5% US Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities

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Werbehinweis

Unterstützen Sie meinen Researchblog, indem Sie in meinen globalen Small-Cap-Anlagefonds (SFDR Art. 9) investieren und/oder ihn empfehlen. Der Fonds konzentriert sich auf die Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDG: Investment impact) und verwendet separate E-, S- und G-Best-in-Universe-Mindestratings sowie ein breites Aktionärsengagement (Investor impact) bei derzeit 29 von 30 Unternehmen:  My fund – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com). Zur jetzt wieder guten Performance siehe zum Beispiel Fonds-Portfolio: Mein Fonds | CAPinside

Financial health: Picture from Riad Tchakou from Pixabay

Financial health: Researchpost #177

Financial health: Illustration from Riad Tchakou from Pixabay

9x new research on financial health, startups, circular economy, family firms, green revenues, green bonds, green CAPM, and index funds (# shows SSRN full paper downloads as of May 23rd, 2024)

Social and ecological research: Financial health and more

Financial health 1: Connecting Mental and Financial Wellbeing – Insights for Employers by Surya Kolluri, Emily Watson and High Lantern Group as of May15th,2024 (#29): “Financial health is deeply intertwined with mental health. Financial stresses, such as debt, significantly contribute to mental health challenges. This stress affects personal wellbeing and has profound implications on workplace productivity and employee engagement, affecting personal relationships, work performance, and overall wellbeing.  Additionally, poor mental health also hinders effective decision-making by impairing the cognitive capacity crucial for evaluating financial options and risks which can lead to impulsive spending, poor financial planning, and increased vulnerability to stressinduced short-term financial decisions. By providing integrated education and support, employers play a crucial role in positively addressing the mutually reinforcing financial and mental health relationship” (p. 2).

Financial health 2: New insights into improving financial well-being by Jennifer Coats and Vickie Bajtelsmit as of May 1st, 2024 (#25): “Individual discount rates, risk preferences, and financial self-confidence consistently contribute to different indicators of FWB (Sö: Financial well-being). In particular, we find significant evidence that both the discount rate and self-confidence in financial decision-making have strong impacts on the dimensions of FWB. Financial literacy has an important moderating role in relation to these two drivers and to income. Personality traits, such as conscientiousness and neuroticism are influential in alternative ways across models” (abstract). … “The most important contribution of this study is the finding that individual discount rates play such an important role in determining composite financial well-being … Financial literacy appears to be necessary but not sufficient to enhance FWB. In particular, if individuals lack the confidence and/or patience to make sound financial decisions, the influence of financial literacy on FWB is limited” (p. 30).

Startup-migration: The Startup Performance Disadvantage(s) in Europe: Evidence from Startups Migrating to the U.S. by Stefan Weik as off Sept. 27th, 2023 (#202): “This paper explores the main drawbacks of the European startup ecosystem using a new dataset on European startups moving to the U.S. … Empirical evidence shows that startups moving to the U.S. receive much more capital, produce slightly more innovation, and are grow much bigger before exit than startups staying in Europe. More surprisingly, I find that U.S. migrants do not increase their revenues for many years after migration, instead incur higher financial losses throughout, and do not significantly improve their likelihood of achieving an IPO or successful exit. Additional evidence shows that large parts of the innovation, net income loss, and growth difference can be explained by U.S. migrants’ funding advantage. … European startups are only marginally, if at all, hindered by technology, product, and exit markets, but that the main disadvantage is the VC financing market“ (p. 24/25).

Full circle? The Circular Economy by Don Fullerton as of May 16th, 2024 (#47): “Research about the circular economy is dominated by engineers, architects, and social scientists in fields other than economics. The concepts they study can be useful in economic models of policies – to reduce virgin materials extraction, to encourage green design, and to make better use of products in ways that reduce waste. This essay attempts to discuss circular economy in economists’ language about market failures, distributional equity, and policies that can raise economic welfare by making the appropriate tradeoffs between fixing those market failures and achieving other social goals” (p. 15).

ESG investment research (in: “Financial health”)

Green families: Family-Controlled Firms and Environmental Sustainability: All Bite and No Bark by Alexander Dyck, Karl V. Lins, Lukas Roth, Mitch Towner, and Hannes F. Wagner as of May15th, 2024 (#11): “We find that family-controlled firms have carbon emissions that are indistinguishable from those of widely held firms. … Further, we find that family-controlled firms have significantly lower carbon emissions than widely held firms in countries where a government has not taken significant climate actions and there is thus a substantial risk of policy tightening in the future. … Our paper also finds that, relative to widely held firms, family-controlled firms are significantly less likely to disclose and perform well against the myriad qualitative metrics that comprise a large component of ESG rating agency scores …” (p. 26/27). My comment: With more supply chain transparence ESG-ratings of public and privately held suppliers will become much more important, see Supplier engagement – Opinion post #211 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

Green institutional benefits: In the Pursuit of Greenness: Drivers and Consequences of Green Corporate Revenues by Ugur Lel as of May 19th, 2024 (#142): “Firms are increasingly turning to green products and services in recent years …Drawing on an extensive dataset spanning from 2008 to 2023 across 49 countries, … I find that foreign institutional ownership, especially from countries with rigorous environmental regulations and norms, significantly boosts green revenue intensity. … These effects are mostly present in carbon-intensive firms …. I also observe a significant increase in green revenues following the implementation of EU Green Deal, accompanied by improvements in CO2 emissions and other environmental policies. There is also an immediate effect of green revenues on profit margins but only for firms in clean industries” (p. 26/27).

Green reputation pays: The reputation effect of green bond issuance and its impact on the cost of capital by Aleksandar Petreski, Dorothea Schäfer, and Andreas Stephan as of Nov. 19th, 2023 (#61): “This study provides a deeper understanding of the mechanism behind the established negative relationship between green bond issuances and financing costs. The paper hypothesized that this negative relationship can be explained by reputation effects that arise from repeated green bond issuances. … The econometric results … using Swedish real estate firms confirm that it is not the occasional issuance of green bonds but the repeated green bond issuance that reduces the firm’s cost of capital. This effect is also found for the cost of equity. … Additional econometric results confirm the effect of green-bond issuance on reputation using ESG scores as a reputation proxy variable. We find that all aspects of the ESG composite score—environmental, social, and governance pillars—are positively affected by a long track record of green bond issuance, whereas only the governance pillar of ESG is positively affected by a long track record of non-green issuance“ (p. 18).

ESG investment model: Modelling Sustainable Investing in the CAPM by Thorsten Hens and Ester Trutwin as of April 22nd, 2024 (#202): “We relate to existing studies and use a parsimonious Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) in which we model different aspects of sustainable investing. The basic reasoning of the CAPM, that investors need to be compensated for the bad aspects of assets applies so that investors demand higher returns for investments that are harmful from an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) perspective. Moreover, if investors have heterogeneous views on the ESG–characteristics of a company, the market requires higher returns for that company, provided richer investors care more about ESG than poorer investors, which is known as the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC). Besides the effect on asset prices, we find that sustainable investing has an impact on a firm’s production decision through two channels – the growth and the reform channel. Sustainable investment reduces the size of dirty firms through the growth channel and makes firms cleaner through the reform channel. We illustrate the magnitude of these effects with numerical examples calibrated to real–world data, providing a clear indication of the high economic relevance of the effects” (abstract).

Traditional investment research

Smart investors: Is Money in Index Funds Smart? by Jeffrey A. Busse, Kiseo Chung, and Badrinath Kottimukkalur as of Jan. 17th, 2024 (#157): “Passive funds with inflows generate positive risk-adjusted returns during the subsequent year and outperform funds with outflows, consistent with the notion that index fund money is “smart.” Similar outperformance during the next year is not present in active funds seeing higher inflows. Passive funds that outperform see high inflows even though their performance does not persist after accounting for size, value, and momentum. These findings suggest that the “smart money” effect in passive funds reflects genuine investor ability …“ (abstract).

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Werbehinweis (in. „Financial health“)

Unterstützen Sie meinen Researchblog, indem Sie in meinen globalen Small-Cap-Anlagefonds (SFDR Art. 9) investieren und/oder ihn empfehlen. Der Fonds mit aktuell sehr positiver Performance konzentriert sich auf die Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDG: Investment impact) und verwendet separate E-, S- und G-Best-in-Universe-Mindestratings sowie ein breites Aktionärsengagement (Investor impact) bei derzeit 27 von 30 Unternehmen: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T und My fund – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

New gender research illustration by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

New gender research: Researchpost 176

New gender research illustration by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

New gender research: 16x new research on child labor, child bonus, climate models, green bonds, social returns, supply chain ESG, greenwashing, ESG bonifications, gender index, gender inheritance gap, inflation, investment risks and investment AI (# shows SSRN full paper downloads as of May 16th, 2024)

Social and ecological research in: New gender research

US child labor: (Hidden) In Plain Sight: Migrant Child Labor and the New Economy of Exploitation by Shefali Milczarek-Desai as of April 18th, 2024 (#164): “Migrant child labor pervades supply chains for America’s most beloved household goods including Cheerios, Cheetos, Lucky Charms, J. Crew, and Fruit of the Loom. Migrant children, some as young as twelve and thirteen, de-bone chicken sold at Whole Foods, bake rolls found at Walmart and Target, and process milk used in Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream. Most work grueling shifts, including overnight and over twelve-hour days, and some, working in extremely hazardous jobs such as roofing and meat processing, have died or suffered serious, permanent injuries. … many … are unaccompanied minors and have no choice but to work. … this paper charts a multifaceted course that might realistically address the predicament of migrant child workers who are precariously perched at the intersection of migration and labor“ (abstract).

New gender research: Is There Really a Child Penalty in the Long Run? New Evidence from IVF Treatments by Petter Lundborg, Erik Plug, and Astrid Würtz Rasmussen as of May 2nd, 2024 (#32): “The child penalty has been singled out as one of the primary drivers behind the gender gap in earnings. In this paper, we challenge this notion by estimating the child penalty in the very long run. For this purpose, we rely on … fertility variation among childless couples in Denmark to identify child penalties for up to 25 years after the birth of the first child. … we find that the first child impacts the earnings of women, not men. While the child penalties are sizable shortly after birth, the same penalty fades out, disappears completely after 10 years, and turns into a child premium after 15 years. … we even find that the birth of the first child leads to a small rise in the lifetime earnings of women” (p. 15/16).

New gender research: What Works in Supporting Women-Led Businesses? by Diego Ubfal as of April 30th, 2024 (#125): “This paper reviews evidence on interventions that can address the constraints faced by growth-oriented, women-led micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (WMSMEs). … First, evidence of modest average treatment effects and treatment effect heterogeneity across various interventions suggests the need for better targeting and segmentation. Second, women-led firms face multiple constraints, and addressing them requires a package of multiple interventions“ (p. 20).

Climate model risks: The Emperor’s New Climate Scenarios – Limitations and assumptions of commonly used climate-change scenarios in financial services by Sandy Trust, Sanjay Joshi, Tim Lenton, and Jack Oliver as of July 4th, 2023: “Many climate-scenario models in financial services are significantly underestimating climate risk. … Real-world impacts of climate change, such as the impact of tipping points (both positive and negative, transition and physical-risk related), sea-level rise and involuntary mass migration, are largely excluded from the damage functions of public reference climate-change economic models. Some models implausibly show the hot-house world to be economically positive, whereas others estimate a 65% GDP loss or a 50–60% downside to existing financial assets if climate change is not mitigated, stating these are likely to be conservative estimates. … Carbon budgets may be smaller than anticipated and risks may develop more quickly. … We may have underestimated how quickly the Earth will warm for a given level of emissions, meaning we need to update our expectations as to how quickly risks will emerge. A faster warming planet will drive more severe, acute physical risks, bring forward chronic physical risks, and increase the likelihood of triggering multiple climate tipping points, which collectively act to further accelerate the rate of climate change and the physical risks faced. … Firms naturally begin with regulatory scenarios, but this may lead to herd mentality and ‘hiding behind’ Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) thinking, rather than developing an appropriate understanding of climate change. Key model limitations, judgements and choice of assumptions are not widely understood, as evidenced by current disclosures from financial institutions” (p. 6).

ESG investment research

Managed greenium: Determinants of the Greenium by Christoph Sperling, Roland Maximilian Happach, Holger Perlwitz, and Dominik Möst as of May 9th, 2024 (#23): “Environmental, social and governance (ESG) bonds can benefit from yield discounts compared to their conventional twins, a phenomenon known as the ‚greenium‘. … we examine five observable characteristics of corporate ESG bonds and their conventional twins for statistical differences in primary market yields and derive two overarching determinants from this” (abstract). “… two overarching determinants affecting the occurrence and magnitude of a greenium become apparent: transparent information disclosure and sustainable corporate management. Companies can actively enhance their greenium in the primary market and reduce debt financing costs by communicating clearly about the intended use of proceeds and aligning with ambitious sustainability goals” (p. 28).

Social return effects: Social Premiums by Hoa Briscoe-Tran, Reem Elabd, Iwan Meier, and Valeri Sokolovski as of April 30th, 2024 (#123): “Our analysis illuminates the impact of the S dimension of ESG on future stock returns. We find that the aggregate S score does not affect stock returns. However, the two main components of the S score exert significant, yet opposite, effects on returns. Specifically, higher human capital scores are associated with higher returns, aligning with previous research and suggesting that markets may not fully price in firms’ human capital. Conversely, higher product safety scores are associated with lower average returns, consistent with the risk-based explanation that firms with safer products exhibit safer cash flows, reduced risk, and therefore, lower expected returns” (p. 26). My comment: If social investments have similar returns as other investments, everything speaks for social investments.

ESG purchasing benefits: A Procurement Advantage in Disruptive Times: New Perspectives on ESG Strategy and Firm Performance by Wenting Li and Yimin Wang as of May 5th, 2024 (#29): “Drawing on the COVID-19 pandemic as a natural experiment, we define a firm’s resilience as its relatively superior financial performance during the pandemic. … The results reveal that increased ESG practices strengthen a firm’s resilience during disruptions: a 1% increase in ESG practice scores leads to a 0.215% increase in firms’ return on assets. We analyze the mechanisms driving this resilience effect and show that improved ESG practices are associated with reduced purchasing costs and higher profitability amid disruptions. … we provide robust evidence that ESG enhances operational congruency with suppliers, which becomes critical in securing a procurement advantage during severe external constraints. Contrary to popular belief, there is little evidence that the ESG improves price premiums during the disruption“ (abstract). My comment: My detailed recommendations for supplier evaluations and supplier engagement see Supplier engagement – Opinion post #211 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

NGOs and Greenwashing: Scrutinizing Corporate Sustainability Claims. Evidence from NGOs’ Greenwashing Allegations and Firms’ Responses by Janja Brendel, Cai Chen, and Thomas Keusch as of April 9th, 2024 (#107): “We find that advocacy NGOs (Sö: Non-Governmental Organizations) increasingly campaign against greenwashing, targeting predominantly large, publicly visible firms in the consumer-facing and oil and gas industries. These campaigns mostly accuse firms of making misleading or false statements in communication outlets such as product labels, advertisements, and public relations campaigns about companies’ impacts on climate change and consumer health. Shareholders and the media react to NGO campaigns, especially when they allege greenwashing of material environmental or social performance dimensions. Finally, firms facing environment-related greenwashing allegations disclose less environmental information in the future, while companies criticized for climate-related greenwashing reduce future greenhouse gas emissions“ (abstract). My comment see Neues Greenwashing-Research | CAPinside

New gender research: Who Cares about Investing Responsibly? Attitudes and Financial Decisions by Alberto Montagnoli and Karl Taylor as of April 30th, 2024 (#25): “Using the UK Financial Lives Survey data … our analysis reveals that, firstly, individual characteristics have little explanatory power in terms of explaining responsible investments, except for: education; gender; age; and financial literacy. Secondly, those individuals who are interested in future responsible investments are approximately 7 percentage points more likely to hold shares/ equity, and have around 77% more money invested in financial assets (i.e. just under twice the amount)“ (abstract).

New gender research: Index Inclusion and Corporate Social Performance: Evidence from the MSCI Empowering Women Index by Vikas Mehrotra, Lukas Roth, Yusuke Tsujimoto, and Yupana Wiwattanakantang as of May 14th, 2024 (#48): “… we focus on the years surrounding the introduction of the MSCI Empowering Women Index (WIN), in which membership is based on a firm’s gender diversity performance in the workforce. … firms ranked close to the index inclusion threshold enhance their proportion of women in the workforce following the WIN inception compared to control firms that are distant from the inclusion threshold. Notably, these improvements are not accompanied by a reduction in male employees, … we observe that the enhancement of women’s representation in the workforce predominantly occurs in management positions, rather than at the rank-and-file positions, which remain largely unchanged. Additionally, there is evidence of a cultural shift within these firms, as indicated by a reduction in overtime and a higher incidence of male employees taking parental leaves in the post-WIN period. Moreover, WIN firms experience an increase in institutional ownership without any discernible decline in firm performance or shareholder value …” (p. 26).

Impact investment research

ESG bonus leeway: ESG & Executive Remuneration in Europe by Marco Dell’Erba and Guido Ferrarini as of May 6th, 2024 (#160): “… a qualitative and empirical analysis of the ways in which the major 300 largest corporations by market capitalization in Europe (from the FTSEurofirst 300 Index) implement ESG factors in their remuneration policies. … Few metrics are clearly measurable, and there is a general lack of appropriate metrics and targets” (p. 36/37). My comment see Wrong ESG bonus math? Content-Post #188 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

Bank net zero failure: Business as Usual: Bank Net Zero Commitments, Lending, and Engagement by Parinitha (Pari) Sastry, Emil Verner, and David Marques-Ibanez as of April 23rd, 2024 (#876): “This paper is the first attempt to quantify whether banks with a net zero pledge have made meaningful changes to their lending behavior. … we find that net zero lenders have not divested from emissions-intensive firms, in mining or in the sectors for which they have set targets. This holds both for borrowing firms in the eurozone, as well as across the globe. We also find limited evidence that banks reallocate financing towards low-carbon renewables projects within the power generation sector, casting doubt on within-sector portfolio reallocation. Further, we do not find evidence for engagement. Firms connected to a net zero bank are no more likely to set decarbonization targets, nor do they reduce their carbon emissions“ (p. 35).

Other investment research: in New gender research

New gender research: Wealth creators or inheritors? Unpacking the gender wealth gap from bottom to top and young to old by Charlotte Bartels, Eva Sierminska, and Carsten Schroeder as of Apri 28th, 2024 (#157): Using unique individual level data that oversamples wealthy individuals in Germany in 2019, we find that women and men accumulate wealth differently. Transfer amounts and their timing are an important driver of these differences: men tend to inherit larger sums than women during their working life, which allows them to create more wealth. Women often outlive their male partners and receive larger inheritances in old age. Yet, these transfers come too late in order for them to be used for further accumulation and to start a business. Against this backdrop, the average gender wealth gap underestimates the inequality of opportunity that men and women have during the active, wealth-creating phase of the life course” (p. 7).

Inflation ignorants: Don’t Ignore Inflation Ignorance: An Experimental Analysis of the Degree of Money Illusion in Individual Decision Making by Nicole Branger´, Henning Cordes, and Thomas Langer as of Dec. 30th, 2024 (#18): “Money illusion refers to the tendency to evaluate economic transactions in nominal rather than real terms. One manifestation of this phenomenon is the tendency to neglect future inflation in intertemporal investment decisions. Empirical evidence for this “inflation ignorance” is hard to establish due to the host of factors that simultaneously change with the inflation rate. … We find money illusion to be substantial – even in experimental settings where the bias cannot be driven by a lack of diligence, arithmetic problems, or misunderstandings of inflation. Our findings contribute to understanding various anomalies on the individual and market level, such as insufficient savings efforts or equity mispricing“ (abstract).

Active risk: Sharpe’s Arithmetic and the Risk Matters Hypothesis by James White, Vladimir Ragulin, and Victor Haghani from Elm Wealth as of Dec. 20th, 2023 (#140): “… the authors present … the „Risk Matters Hypothesis“ (RMH), which asserts that the average risk-adjusted excess return across all active portfolios will be greater than the risk-adjusted excess return of the market portfolio, before accounting for fees and trading costs” (abstract).

AI for the big guys only? A Walk Through Generative AI & LLMs: Prospects and Challenges by Carlos Salas Najera as of Dec. 20th, 2023 (#68): “Generative AI has firmly established its presence, and is poised to revolutionise various sectors such as finance. Large Language Models (LLMs) are proving pivotal in this transformation according to their recent impressive performances. However, their widespread integration into industries might only lead to gradual progress. The investment sector faces challenges of inadequate expertise and notably, the substantial costs associated with inhouse model training. Consequently, investment enterprises will confront the choice of leveraging foundational models, customisable variants, or insights from NLP vendors who remain well-versed in the latest advancements of LLMs” (p. 9). My comment: See How can sustainable investors benefit from artificial intelligence? – GITEX Impact

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Werbehinweis

Unterstützen Sie meinen Researchblog, indem Sie in meinen globalen Small-Cap-Anlagefonds (SFDR Art. 9) investieren und/oder ihn empfehlen. Der Fonds konzentriert sich auf die Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung (SDG) und verwendet separate E-, S- und G-Best-in-Universe-Mindestratings sowie ein breites Aktionärsengagement bei derzeit 26 von 30 Unternehmen: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T und My fund – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

Climate Shaming: Illustration from Nina Garman from Pixabay

Climate shaming: Researchpost 171

Ilustration from Pixabay by Nina Garman

Climate shaming: 11x new research on green technology, sustainable fund labels, sustainable advice, carbon premium, brown profits, green bonds, green growth, green shareholder engagement, climate shaming, optimizations and investment timing (# shows number of SSRN full paper downloads as of April 11th, 2024)

Ecological and social research

Green technology benefits: Economic Impact of Natural Disasters Under the New Normal of Climate Change: The Role of Green Technologies by Nikos Fatouros as of March 18th, 2024 (#9):” In our model of the world economy, raising temperatures are expected to negatively affect consumption as well as increase debt. The most frequently proposed possible solution to climate change, is the de-carbonization of production, by using more “green” technologies. Under “green” technology adaptation, countries would be projected to achieve higher levels of consumption and welfare. This positive effect of more environmentally friendly means of production, tends to be stronger for more developed countries. However, under the assumption of greater technological progress of the “green” sector, our results show that even developing countries would be projected to follow the same path of higher and more sustainable levels of consumption and welfare” (p. 10).

ESG investment research (in: Climate Shaming)

Attractive labels: In labels we trust? The influence of sustainability labels in mutual fund flows by Sofia Brito-Ramos, Maria Céu Cortze Nipe, Svetoslav Covachev, and Florinda Silva as of April 2nd, 2024 (#29): “In Europe, investors can resort to different types of sustainable labels such as GNPO-sponsored labels and ESG ratings from commercial data vendors that assess funds’ sustainability risks. In addition, funds can communicate their sustainability features by including ESG-related designations in the name or self-classifying themselves as article 8 or 9 of the SFDR. … Drawing on a dataset of equity funds sold in Europe … Our initial results document investors‘ preferences for sustainability labels, with GNPO labels (Sö: Government and non-profit organizations) standing out as salient signals. … we find that GNPO labels have an effect on fund flows … Furthermore, this impact is stronger for funds holding other sustainability signals, such as Morningstar top globes, the LCD (Sö: Low Carbon Designation) and an ESG name, suggesting a complementary effect of labels … our results show that the effect of funds being awarded a GNPO label is stronger for the institutional invest segment. The findings show that GNPO labels and SFDR classification are influential for investors’ decisions (p. 23/24). My comment: Maybe I should consider paying for labels for my Article 9 fund. A more detailed comment can be found here Nachhaltigkeitssiegel beim Verkauf von Investmentfonds | CAPinside

(Un-)Sustainable advice? Investing Responsibly: What Drives Preferences for Sustainability and Do Investors Receive Appropriate Investments? by Chris Brooks and Louis Williams as of April 8th, 2024 (#21): „ While investors with stronger desires for sustainability do hold more highly ESG-rated funds on average, the relationship is weaker than might have been expected. Perhaps surprisingly, a majority of clients for whom responsible investing is very important hold some unrated funds, while those for whom it is unimportant nonetheless hold the highly ESG-rated funds in their portfolios. We therefore conclude that more focus on sustainability preferences is required to ensure that retail investors get the portfolios they want” (abstract). My comment: Advisor should develop detailed sustainability policies at least for larger investors, see e.g. DVFA_PRISC_Policy_for_Responsible_Investment_Scoring.pdf (English version available upon demand)

No carbon premium: Carbon Returns Across the Globe by Shaojun Zhang as of April 5th, 2024 (#272): ” Emissions are a weighted sum of firm sales scaled by emission factors and grow almost linearly with firm sales. However, emission data are released at significant lags relative to accounting variables, including sales. After accounting for the data release lag, more carbon-intensive firms underperform relative to less carbon-intensive ones in the U.S. in recent years. International evidence on carbon or green premium is largely absent. The carbon premium documented in previous studies stems from forward-looking bias instead of a true risk premium in ex-ante expected returns” (p. 23).

Profitable brown greening? Paying or Being Paid to be Green? by Rupali Vashisht, Hector Calvo-Pardo, and Jose Olmo as of March 31st, 2024 (#70): “… firms in the S&P 500 index are divided into brown (heavily polluting) and green (less polluting) sectors. In clear contrast with the literature, (i) brown firms pay to be green (i.e.better financial performance translates into higher environmental scores) but green firms appear not to. In addition, (ii) neither brown nor green firms with higher environmental scores perform better financially” (abstract). My comment: If brown and green firms perform the same, why not invest only in green firms?

Resilient green bonds: “My Name Is Bond. Green Bond.” Informational Efficiency of Climate Finance Markets by Marc Gronwald and Sania Wadud as of April 4th, 2024 (#15): “… the degree of informational inefficiency of the green bond market is generally found to be very similar to that of benchmark bond markets such as treasury bond markets. … the degree of inefficiency of the green bond market during the Covid outbreak in 2020 and the inflation shock in 2022/2023 is lower than that of the treasury bond market“ (abstract).

Green growth: Investing in the green economy 2023 – Entering the next phase of growth by Lily Dai, Lee Clements, Edmund Bourne, and Jaakko Kooroshy from FTSE Russell as of Sep. 19th, 2023: “After a downturn in 2022 … Green revenues for listed companies are on track to exceed US$5 trillion by 2025 — doubling in size since the conclusion of the Paris Agreement in 2015 — with market capitalisation of the green economy approaching 10% of the equity market. However, to shift the global economy onto a 1.5°C trajectory, green growth would have to further substantially accelerate with green market capitalisation approximating 20% of global equity markets by 2030” (p. 3).

Impact investment research (in: Climate Shaming)

Short-term impact: The Value Impact of Climate and Non-climate Environmental Shareholder Proposals by Henk Berkman, Jonathan Jona, Joshua Lodge, and Joshua Shemesh as of April 3rd, 2024 (#19): “In this paper, we investigate the value impact of environmental shareholder proposals (ESPs) for a large sample of Russell 3000 firms from 2006 to 2021 … We find that both withdrawn and non-withdrawn climate ESPs have positive CARs (Sö: Cumulative abnormal returns), indicating that management screens value-enhancing climate proposals and rejects value-destroying climate proposals. For non-climate ESPs we find insignificant CARs, suggesting that management does not have an ability to screen non-climate proposals. However, we find that close-call non-climate ESPs that are passed have negative abnormal returns, implying that for non-climate ESPs the original decision by managers not to agree with the activists is supported by the share market” (p. 26).

Climate shaming: Fighting Climate Change Through Shaming by Sharon Yadin as of April 4th, 2024 (#13): “This Book contends that regulators can and should shame companies into climate-responsible behavior by publicizing information on corporate contribution to climate change. Drawing on theories of regulatory shaming and environmental disclosure, the book introduces a “regulatory climate shaming” framework, which utilizes corporate reputational sensitivities and the willingness of stakeholders to hold firms accountable for their actions in the climate crisis context. The book explores the developing landscape of climate shaming practices employed by governmental regulators in various jurisdictions via rankings, ratings, labeling, company reporting, lists, online databases, and other forms of information-sharing regarding corporate climate performance and compliance” (abstract). My comment: Responsilbe Naming and Climate Shaming are adequate investor impact tools in my opinion (my “climate shaming” activities see Engagement report” here FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T)

Other investment research

(Pseudo-)Optimization? Markowitz Portfolio Construction at Seventy by Stephen Boyd, Kasper Johansson, Ronald Kahn, Philipp Schiele, and Thomas Schmelzer as of Feb. 13th, 2024 (#50): “More than seventy years ago Harry Markowitz formulated portfolio construction as an optimization problem that trades off expected return and risk, defined as the standard deviation of the portfolio returns. Since then the method has been extended to include many practical constraints and objective terms, such as transaction cost or leverage limits. Despite several criticisms of Markowitz’s method, for example its sensitivity to poor forecasts of the return statistics, it has become the dominant quantitative method for portfolio construction in practice. In this article we describe an extension of Markowitz’s method that addresses many practical effects and gracefully handles the uncertainty inherent in return statistics forecasting” (abstract). My comment:  Extensions of Markowitz methods create complexity but still contain many assumptions/forecasts and are far from solving all potential problems. I prefer very simple optimization and forecast-free approaches, see Das-Soehnholz-ESG-und-SDG-Portfoliobuch.pdf (soehnholzesg.com)

Bad timing? Another Look at Timing the Equity Premiums by Wei Dai and Audrey Dong from Dimensional Fund Advisors as of Nov. 2nd, 2023 (#1642): “We examine strategies that time the market, size, value, and profitability premiums in the US, developed ex US, and emerging markets …. Out of the 720 timing strategies we simulated, the vast majority underperformed relative to staying invested in the long side of the premiums. While 30 strategies delivered promising outperformance at first glance, further analysis shows that their outperformance is very sensitive to specific time periods and parameters for strategy construction”(abstract).

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Greeniums: Picture from Sergio Cerrato from Pixabay

Greeniums and more: Researchpost #170

Picture from Sergio Cerrato from Pixabay

Greeniums: 15x new research on transition risk, emissions assurance, biodiversity risks, materiality, climate commitments, investment consultants, green innovation, biodiversity premium, sustainable fund flows, brown home bias, greenwashing, retail governance, and private debt performance

Ecological research

Transition or not? How you measure transition risk matters: Comparing and evaluating climate transition risk metrics by Philip Fliegel as of March 28th, 2024: “We employ a new dataset containing for the first-time reported EU taxonomy alignment of both capex and revenues as a proxy for companies transition risk. … We find a strong divergence in transition risk metrics for similar companies. … We find that only taxonomy and TRBC (Sö: Refinitiv Business Classification) based portfolios are able to measure green firms’ climate transition risk. … notably, emission based green portfolios are highly invested in service, technology and finance, not typical green sectors enabling the transition …” (abstract).

CO2-Negative assurance? On the Importance of Assurance in Carbon Accounting by Florian Berg, Jaime Oliver Huidobro, and Roberto Rigobon as of March 25th, 2024: “Firms that obtain assurance for their carbon emissions report on average a 9.5% higher carbon intensity than their peers without assurance. When controlling for assurance, we do not find evidence that SBTi target-setters reduce their future emissions. Instead, firms that audit reduce their future carbon intensity by 3.3%. This has implications for portfolio managers and ESG raters as taking disclosed carbon emissions at face value would lead to penalizing firms that are more serious about their carbon reductions …“ (p. 12).

Biodiversity risk details: Study for a methodological framework and assessment of potential financial risks associated with biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, Final Report by Maha Cziesielski, Cosima Dekker-Hufler, Timea Pal, Graeme Nicholls, Foivos Petsinaris, Lisa Korteweg (Trinomics) Michael Obersteiner, Nikolay Khabarov for the European Commission as of February 2024: “Biodiversity and nature loss pose multifaceted risk, … Reviewing best-practices and existing frameworks, the study covers the key definitions and steps in determining risk drivers, types, transmission channels, and exposure assessments. An assessment of the EU’s sectoral exposure furthermore reveals that agriculture, real estate and construction, and healthcare sectors as most susceptible” (p. 5).

Scarce materiality? European corporate sustainability reporting – The Financial Materiality Compass as an auxiliary tool by Christina Bannier and Henry Flach as of Feb. 8th, 2024: “European companies in scope of the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) will have to report on all sustainability topics that are either financially-material or impact-material (or both) to them. Determining materiality in an extensive individual analysis, however, proves to be an expensive undertaking that will encumber resource-constrained and smaller companies in particular. To offer an easily applicable auxiliary tool, we create a comprehensive sector-specific Financial Materiality Compass (FMC) along the lines of the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS). … We find that for companies in the consumer staples and energy sector nine out of 10 ESRS categories are financially material, but only one, respectively two, of these categories show a strong materiality. For companies in the health care, information technologies and real estate sector, in contrast, we report the lowest number of financially material ESRS categories in total“ (abstract).

Net-zero bullshit? Business as usual: bank climate commitments, lending, and engagement by Parinitha (Pari) Sastry, Emil Verner, David Marques-Ibanez from the European Central Bank as of March 26th, 2024 (2x): “A prominent initiative is the Net Zero Banking Alliance, which constitutes an agreement to set voluntary net zero targets and decrease financed emissions in targeted sectors over the medium-term (2030) and long-term (2050). This paper is the first attempt to quantify whether banks have met their stated goals using administrative data that allows for a comprehensive examination of net zero lending commitments. We find that climate-aligned lenders reduce lending to targeted sectors, both in absolute terms and relative to other sectors. However, once we compare climate-aligned lenders to other lenders, we find that climate-aligned lenders have not differentially divested from emissions-intensive firms, in mining or in the sectors for which they have set targets. … Further, we do not find evidence for engagement. Firms connected to climate-aligned banks are no more likely to themselves set decarbonization targets“ (p. 36/37).

ESG investment research (in: Greeniums)

Dangerous pension consultants? Loading the DICE against pension funds – Flawed economic thinking on climate has put your pension at risk by Steve Keen for Carbon Tracker as of July 27th, 2023: “Investment consultants to pension funds have relied upon peer-reviewed economic research to provide advice to pension funds on the damages to pensions that will be caused by global warming. Following the advice of investment consultants, pension funds have informed their members that global warming of 2 – 4.3oC will have only a minimal impact upon their portfolios. … Economists have claimed, in refereed economics papers, that 6oC of global warming will reduce future global GDP by less than 10%, compared to what GDP would have been in the complete absence of climate change. In contrast, scientists have claimed, in refereed science papers, that 5oC of global warming implies damages that are “beyond catastrophic, including existential threats,” while even 1oC of warming—which we have already passed—could trigger dangerous climate tipping points“ (p. 6).

Variable greeniums: The Monetary Channel of the Green Premium by Xinwei Li as of March 26th, 2024: „I document .. novel empirical facts about the green premium, which refers to the average return of the Green-Minus-Brown (GMB) portfolio. First, I show that the green premium varies substantially over time, where greenness can be measured ether by Trucost carbon emission intensities or by MSCI environmental scores. The green premium ranges from -53 bps to 76 bps on a monthly basis …. Second, I find that the … green premium is positive and significant during periods of expansionary monetary policy and turns zero or even negative during periods of contractionary monetary policy …“ (p. 26).

True greeniums? In Search of the True Greenium by Marc Eskildsen, Markus Ibert, Theis Ingerslev Jensen, and Lasse Heje Pedersen as of March 1st, 2024: “We find widespread robustness problems with the ESG literature that estimates the greenium based on realized returns combined with a variety of greenness measures. … the true greenium … is negative across countries and asset classes. In equities, the estimated annual greenium is −25 bps per standard deviation increase in the robust green score. This greenium corresponds to a −50 bps expected return spread between the top- and bottom third of firms by greenness. Looking at more extreme differences, the greenium corresponds to a near −100 bps expected return spread between the top- and bottom deciles. Further, the greenium becomes more negative over time and is more negative in greener countries“ (p. 45/46).

Greeniums and innovation: Funding the Fittest? Pricing of Climate Transition Risk in the Corporate Bond Market by Martijn A. Boermans, Maurice J. G. Bun, and Yasmine van der Straten as of Jan. 17th, 2024: “We focus on the amount of green patents relative to the total amount of patents of a given company, and assess whether the interaction between emission intensity and the green patent ratio affects bond yield spreads. Our empirical results provide evidence that a firm’s carbon emission intensity positively affects the bond yield spread. At the same time we find that investors reward those emission-intensive companies engaging in green innovation. … we assess whether green patenting is associated with a decline in future emission intensity. We document substantial heterogeneity in the effect over time and across industries. … our results suggest that investors should exercise caution when accommodating emission intensive companies with a smaller bond yield spreads once they innovate in the green space. Finally, our results reveal that European investors, and particularly institutional investors, are more inclined to price exposures to climate transition risk …“ (p. 35).

Biodiversity premium? Biodiversity Risk Premium by Helena Naffaa and Gergely Janos Czupya as of March 27th, 2024: “By analysing almost 3,000 constituents of the MSCI All Country World Index over a decade, spanning from 2013 to 2023 … we observed decreases of 0.9%, 1.5%, and 3.6% in the maximum attainable Sharpe ratio in the universe for low, moderate, and high levels of biodiversity risk mitigation, respectively. … Moreover, there is an additional cost associated with the reduction in portfolio diversification due to the screening process, further diminishing the Sharpe ratio by 1.1%, 2.3%, and 3.5% for the respective risk mitigation levels. Our study also highlights the added benefit of biodiversity alignment on ESG scores, revealing unintended consequences resulting in improvements in the environmental, social and governance pillar metrics, in addition to the incurred reduction in the Sharpe ratio“ (p. 30/31).

Sustainable flows? Sustainability or Performance? Ratings and Fund Managers’ Incentives by Nickolay Gantchev, Mariassunta Giannetti, and Rachel Li as of March 9th, 2024: “Following the introduction of Morningstar’s sustainability ratings (the “globe” ratings), mutual funds increased their holdings of sustainable stocks to attract flows. Such sustainability-driven trades, however, underperformed, impairing the funds’ overall performance. Consequently, a tradeoff between sustainability and performance emerged. In the new equilibrium, the globe ratings do not affect investor flows and funds no longer trade to improve their globe ratings” (abstract). My comment: If there is similar performance, I would select the more sustainable investment (for the most recent performance of my sustainable portfolios see Q1 Renditen der Soehnholz ESG Portfolios – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

Pollution home bias: Carbon Home Bias by Patrick Bolton, Marc Eskildsen, and Marcin Kacperczyk as of Feb. 18th, 2024: “We undertake a global analysis of institutional investor portfolios and find widespread underweighting of companies with higher carbon emissions. This underweighting is largely driven by underinvestment in foreign companies with high carbon emissions … Similar domestic firms are overweighted but by a smaller magnitude. Further, the divestment of foreign polluters has increased since 2015“ (abstract).

Beyond Greenwashing: Crosswashing in Sustainable Investing: Unveiling Strategic Practices Impacting ESG Scores by Bertrand Kian Hassani and Yacoub Bahini as of March 26th, 2024: “… cross-washing involves companies strategically investing in sustainable activities to boost Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) scores while preserving non-sustainable core operations. The study emphasizes that this specific form of greenwashing is not currently considered in existing ESG assessments, potentially leading to an inflated perception of corporate ethical practices “ (abstract). … “The findings derived from the case study indicate a notable overestimation in current ESG notations. This overestimation, however, is contingent upon the specific industry sectors and the size of the companies involved” (p. 19). My comment: For a detailed comment see Nur ESG-Ratings für Nachhaltigkeitsbeurteilungen? | CAPinside

Retail governance: Corporate Governance Through Social Media by Christina M. Sautter as of March 20th, 2024: “Retail investors are vigorously and loudly taking positions regarding corporate governance issues on social media. … Retail investors have opened tens of millions of new brokerage accounts since 2020. … These wireless investors are taking advantage of social media platforms like YouTube, Reddit, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), WhatsApp, Telegram, and Discourse, among other venues to transform corporate governance engagement. … Although structural barriers do impede engagement and reforms to the system are necessary … a case study of one particularly illustrious event involving AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. .. show(s) that retail investors are anything but silent” (abstract). My comment: Shareholder engagement is not that difficult, see “Engagementresport” at FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T

Other investment research (in: Greeniums)

Unattractive debt investments? Risk-Adjusting the Returns to Private Debt Funds by Isil Erel, Thomas Flanagan, Michael Weisbach as of March 26th, 2024: “Private debt funds are the fastest growing segment of the private capital market. … Using both equity and debt benchmarks to measure risk, a typical private debt fund produces an insignificant abnormal return to its investors. However, gross-of-fee abnormal returns are positive, and using only debt benchmarks also leads to positive abnormal returns as funds contain equity risks. The rates at which private debt funds lend appear to be high enough to offset the funds’ fees and risks, but not high enough to exceed both their fees and investors’ risk-adjusted rates of return” (abstract).

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Advert for German investors:

Sponsor my research by investing in and/or recommending my global small cap mutual fund (SFDR Art. 9). The fund focuses on the Sustainable Development Goals and uses separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings and broad shareholder engagement with currently 28 of 30 companiesFutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T or My fund (prof-soehnholz.com).

Halbjahres-Renditen Illustration von Gerd Altmann von Pixabay

Q1 Renditen der Soehnholz ESG Portfolios

Q1 Renditen: Passive Multi-Asset Portfolios OK

Q1 Renditen: Das regelbasierte „most passive“ Multi-Asset Weltmarkt ETF-Portfolio hat mit +5,4% im Vergleich zu Multi-Asset ETFs (+5,1%) und aktiven Mischfonds (+4,8%) gut abgeschnitten. Das ebenfalls breit diversifizierte ESG ETF-Portfolio hat mit +4,2% dagegen unterdurchschnittlich rentiert.

Nachhaltige ETF-Portfolios: Anleihen gut, Aktien OK, SDG schwierig

Das ESG ETF-Portfolio ex Bonds lag mit +6,1% erheblich hinter traditionellen Aktien-ETFs (+10,6%) zurück. Die Rendite ist aber ähnlich wie die 7,2% traditioneller aktiv gemanagter globaler Aktienfonds.

Mit -0,3% rentierte das sicherheitsorientierte ESG ETF-Portfolio Bonds (EUR) ähnlich wie aktive Fonds (-0,7%). Das renditeorientierte ESG ETF-Portfolio Bonds hat mit +1,6% ebenfalls etwas besser abgeschnitten als vergleichbare aktiv gemanagte Fonds (+1.3%).

Das aus thematischen Aktien-ETFs bestehende SDG ETF-Portfolio lag mit -0,2% stark hinter traditionellen Aktienanlagen zurück. Besonders thematische Investments mit ökologischem Fokus liefen auch im ersten Quartal 2024 nicht gut.  

Q1 Renditen: Direkte ESG SDG Portfolios OK

Das auf Small- und Midcaps fokussierte Global Equities ESG SDG hat mit 1,4% im Vergleich zu Small- und Midcap-Aktienfonds schlecht abgeschnitten. Das ist vor allem auf den hohen Anteil an erneuerbaren Energien zurückzuführen. Das Global Equities ESG SDG Social Portfolio hat mit 3,7% dagegen vergleichbar wie Small- und Midcap-Portfolios abgeschnitten.

Mein FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R Fonds (Start 2021) hat nach einem guten Quartal 4/2023 im ersten Quartal 2024 eine Rendite von +2,6% erreicht. Das ist durch den Fokus auf Smallcaps und den relativ hohen Anteil an erneuerbaren Energien erklärbar (weitere Informationen wie z.B. auch den aktuellen detaillierten Engagementreport siehe FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T und My fund – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com).

Für die zu Jahresende 2023 voll investierten Trendfolgeportfolios gab es im ersten Quartal keine Signale, so dass sie wie die Portfolios ohne Trendfolge abgeschnitten haben.

Weiterführende Infos:

Regeländerungen: Nachhaltig aktiv oder passiv? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

2023: Passive Allokation und ESG gut, SDG nicht gut – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

Glorreiche 7: Sind sie unsozial? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (prof-soehnholz.com)

Anmerkungen: Die Performancedetails siehe www.soehnholzesg.com und zu allen Regeln und Portfolios siehe Das Soehnholz ESG und SDG Portfoliobuch. Benchmarkdaten: Eigene Berechnungen u.a. auf Basis von www.morningstar.de