Archiv der Kategorie: Faktorinvesting

SDG rating confusion illustration with picture from GoranH from pixabay

SDG rating confusion: Researchpost #152

SDG rating confusion: 13x new research on emissions, life expectancy, green bonds, physical risks and transition, environmental information, private equity ESG, SDG ratings, bond and equity factors, fraud, health-wealth relations, LLM financial analysts (# shows the number of full paper SSRN downloads as of Nov. 16th, 2023)

Ecological and social research (SDG rating confusion)

Too hot: The State of Climate Action: Major Course Correction Needed from +1.5% to −7% Annual Emissions by the World Economic Forum and The Boston Consulting Group as of November 2023: “As 1.5°C is slipping out of reach, achieving it now calls for a 7% annual emissions reduction, more than the climate reduction impact from COVID-19 and against the current trend of a 1.5% annual increase. … Only 35% of emissions are covered by a national net-zero commitment by 2050, and only 7% by countries that complement bold targets with ambitious policies. Fewer than 20% of the world’s top 1,000 companies have set 1.5°C science-based targets, and, based on the Net Zero Tracker, fewer than 10% also have comprehensive public transition plans. Technologies that are economically attractive now or will be in the near future can only achieve just over half of the emissions reductions needed to reach 1.5°C. … More than half of climate funding needs are still unmet, with critical gaps in early technologies and infrastructure particularly acute, and the climate funding gap twice as large in developing economies as in developed ones” (p. 4).

Longer lifes: The Long-run Effect of Air Pollution on Survival by Tatyana Deryugina and Julian Reif as of Nov. 13th, 2023 (#8): “We show that the short-run mortality effects of acute SO2 exposure can be decomposed into two distinct phenomena: mortality displacement, where exposure kills frail individuals with short counterfactual life expectancies, and accelerated aging, where mortality continues to increase after exposure has ceased. … we calculate that a permanent, ten percent decrease in air pollution exposure would improve life expectancy by 1.2–1.3 years … our estimates imply that value of reducing pollution exposure may be substantially larger than has previously been recognized“ (p. 37).

Responsible investing research (SDG rating confusion)

Green bond limits: Decoding Corporate Green Bonds: What Issuers Do With the Money and Their Real Impact by Yufeng Mao as of Nov. 8th, 2023 (#157): “This paper reveals a distinct motivation for issuing green bonds compared to conventional bonds. Proceeds from green bonds remain as cash for longer periods, largely owing to the time required to identify eligible projects. Contrary to the notion of fungibility, my results indicate that they neither lead to more new investments than conventional bonds nor are used in apparent green-washing. … firms issuing green bonds show improved environmental performance, particularly in the reduction of GHG intensity. However, this improvement appears not to stem from incremental green investments facilitated by green bonds but rather from issuers that would have pursued green initiatives regardless” (p. 44).

Physical risk costs: The cost of maladapted capital: Stock returns, physical climate risk and adaptation by Chiara Colesanti Senni and Skand Goel as of July 23rd, 2023 (#48): “Using S&P Global Sustainable data on Physical Risk and measures of adaptability to physical risk from S&P Global Corporate Sustainability Assessment, we find evidence that higher physical risk is associated with higher expected returns. However, this risk premium diminishes with increased adaptability, signifying that risk management through adaptation reduces a company’s cost of capital. Notably, this adaptability-driven risk discount is more pronounced for high levels of physical risk, reflecting market incentives for efficient adaptation” (abstract).

Carbon-free distance: Carbon-Transition Risk and Net-Zero Portfolios by Gino Cenedese, Shangqi Han, and Marcin Kacperczyk as of Oct. 5th, 2023 (#493): “…. using a novel measure of distance-to-exit (DT E) … we show that companies that are more exposed to exit from net-zero portfolios have lower values and require higher returns from investors holding them. This result is economically large and is consistent with the view that DT E are useful measures of transition risk. Notably, we show that DT E capture distinct variation to that captured by previously used measures based on corporate carbon emissions. Distinct from these, they capture information that is forward-looking and is grounded in climate science“ (p. 29)

Attention, outsiders: Do Insiders Profit from Public Environmental Information? Evidence from Insider Trading by Sadok El Ghoul, Zhengwei Fu, Omrane Guedhami, and Yongwon Kim as of Oct. 19th, 2023 (#26): “We provide evidence that insiders sell their stocks profitably based on publicly available information on environmental costs. Further analysis indicates that these results become more pronounced when the search frequency for environmental information in Google is low, in countries governed by left-leaning governments, and in countries where investor protection is weak. These results … suggest that investor inattention and investor protection are key drivers of insider trading performance“ (abstract).

PE ESG boost: ESG Footprints in Private Equity Portfolios: Unpacking Management Instruments and Financial Performance by Noah Bani-Harounia, Ulrich Hommel, and Falko Paetzold as of Nr. 8th, 2023 (#13): “Based on data covering 206 buyout funds for the time period 2010-2022, … Improving fund-level ESG footprints by 50% explains a statistically and economically significant net IRR increase of up to 12.4% over a fund’s life cycle. The outcome is linked to specific ESG-management instruments of private equity investors, such as centralised ESG management and ESG value enhancement plans, while no significant effect is recorded for other measures, such as ESG reporting frequencies and ESG impact controlling” (abstract).

SDG rating confusion: “In partnership for the goals”? The (dis)agreement of SDG ratings by Tobias Bauckloh, Juris Dobrick, André Höck, Sebastian Utz, and Marcus Wagner as of May 31st, 2023 (#59): „This paper analyzes the (dis)agreement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ratings across different rating providers and implications for portfolio management. It documents a considerable level of disagreement that is particularly high for large companies and for companies from the Healthcare and the Basic Materials sector. In general, the sector in which the companies are mainly active explains a large part of the variation in disagreement measures of the SDG ratings. Moreover, we document different return characteristics and risk factor exposures of portfolios sorted according to SDG ratings of different rating providers” (abstract). My comment: I expect SDG-Risk-Ratings to have little additional value to ESG-Ratings. I prefer to use SDG-related revenues or Capex in addition to ESG-Ratings to avoid SDG rating confusion (see e.g. Divestments: 49 bei 30 Aktien meines Artikel 9 Fonds – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Other investment research

Equity factors: Factor Zoo (.zip) by Alexander Swade, Matthias X. Hanauer, Harald Lohre and David Blitz from Robeco as of Nov. 15th, 2023 (#2546): “Using a comprehensive set of 153 U.S. equity factors, we find that a set of 10 to 20 factors spans the entire factor zoo, depending on the selected statistical significance level. This implies that most candidate factors are redundant but also that academic factor models, which typically contain just three to six factors, are too narrowly defined. When repeating the factor selection to factors as they become available over an expanding window, we find that newly published factors sometimes supersede older factor definitions, emphasizing the relevance of continuous factor innovation based on new insights or newly available data. However, the identified factor style clusters are quite persistent, emphasizing the relevance of diversification across factor styles” (p. 20/21). My comment: Without good (almost impossible) forecasts which factors will outperform, outperforming factor investing is difficult.

Bond factors: Corporate Bond Factors: Replication Failures and a New Framework by Jens Dick-Nielsen, Peter Feldhütter, Lasse Heje Pedersen, and Christian Stolborg as of Oct. 26th, 2023 (#1257): “Many corporate bond factors cannot be reproduced even when attempting to use the methodology of the corresponding paper. More broadly, even factors that can be reproduced should be questioned, since the corporate bond literature is based on data full of errors. … we show that the majority of corporate bond factors from the literature fail to replicate, but a minority of factors remain significant. Further, analyzing corporate bond factors based on equity signals, we find a number of significant new factors“ (p. 27/28). My comment: Same as above: Without good (almost impossible) forecasts which factors will outperform, outperforming factor investing is difficult.

Big fraud? How pervasive is corporate fraud? by Alexander Dyck, Adair Morse, and Luigi Zingales as of Oct. 2nd, 2023 (#120): “… we use the natural experiment provided by the sudden demise of a major auditing firm, Arthur Andersen, to infer the fraction of corporate fraud that goes undetected. This detection likelihood is essential to quantify the pervasiveness of corporate fraud in the United States and to assess the costs that this fraud imposes on investors. We find that two out of three corporate frauds go undetected, implying that, pre Sox, 41% of large public firms were misreporting their financial accounts in a material way and 10% of the firms were committing securities fraud, imposing an annual cost of $254 billion on investors“ (p. 31). My comment: It would be interesting to see the relationship between governance-ratings and fraud.

Health-Wealth-Gap: Health Heterogeneity, Portfolio Choice and Wealth Inequality by Juergen Jung and Chung Tran as of Oct. 18th, 2023 (#28): “… the early exposure to health shocks has strong and long-lasting impacts on the portfolio choice of households and the observed wealth gap among households at retirement age. … as sicker individuals often forgo investing in risky assets that pay higher returns in the long-run. This health-wealth portfolio channel amplifies wealth concentration across groups and over the lifecycle. … In the absence of the health-wealth portfolio channel, the observed wealth gap at retirement is 40–50 percent smaller. In addition, we provide new insights into the social benefit of health insurance. The expansion of public or private health insurance in the US can reduce wealth inequality via mitigating exposure to health expenditure shocks and thereby allow households to make riskier investment choices with higher long-term returns” (p. 27/28).

LLM financial analysts: Large Language Models and Financial Market Sentiment by Shaun A. Bond, Hayden Klok, and Min Zhu as of Oct. 23rd, 2023 (#257): “… we use ChatGPT and BARD to recall daily news summaries related to the S&P 500 Index, classify sentiments from these texts, and use these sentiments to forecast future index returns. … we demonstrate ChatGPT and BARD can recall and classify summary market-level financial text from the perspective of a financial analyst. … we show these sentiments proxy for aggregate investor sentiment and forecast future return reversals of the S&P 500 Index … we provide evidence that incorporating ChatGPT-derived sentiments leads to superior economic performance compared to portfolios that incorporate sentiments from BARD, simpler transformer models, and traditional dictionary approaches. LLMs have superior potential to process contextual information around specific topics or themes beyond that of simpler transformer models and context-indifferent word frequency methods. This greater context awareness leads to better identification of aggregate market sentiment, and superior short-term economic performance when taken into account. Further, results suggest LLMs can identify different aspects of sentiment from text, such as information on different frequencies, and the presence of persistent effects“ (p. 45). My comment see AI: Wie können nachhaltige AnlegerInnen profitieren? – Responsible Investment Research Blog ( or How can sustainable investors benefit from artificial intelligence? – GITEX Impact – Leading ESG Event 2023


Liquid impact advert for German investors

Sponsor my research by investing in and/or recommending my global small/midcap mutual fund (SFDR Art. 9). The fund focuses on social SDGs and uses separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings and broad shareholder engagement with currently 24 of 30 companiesFutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T or Noch eine Fondsboutique? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Picture by gerd Altmann from Pixabay show Partnership Illustration as Picture for Complex Engagement

Complex engagement, ESG placebo and more: Researchpost #132

Complex engagement: 10x new research on hot Nordics, green growth, GHG data, debt-for-nature, quant and placebo ESG, shareholder engagement, bond factors, insider trading and international fintech by Sebastian Grund, Julian Heeb, Julian Kölbel, Florian Berg, Andrew Lo, Roberto Rigobon and many more (# shows the number of SSRN downloads on June 22nd, 2023)

Ecological and social research

Hot Nordic mountains? Does Climate Sensitivity Differ Across Regions? A Varying–Coefficient Approach by Heather Anderson, Jiti Gao, Farshid Vahid, Wei Wei, and Yang Yang as of May 14th, 2023 (#21): “… using data from 1209 weather stations show that mid/high-latitude regions in the northern hemisphere are more sensitive to changes in GHGs (Sö: greenhouse gases) than the equatorial area or the southern hemisphere, and that inland areas are more sensitive than coastal areas. Our latitude-varying model estimates suggest that global temperature would rise by 3.7◦C following a doubling CO2, with areas above 50◦N rising by more than 5 ◦C and areas near 30◦S rising by 2.5◦C. … In an out-of-sample forecasting exercise, we demonstrate that our latitude-varying model outperforms the parsimonious constant coefficient model in forecasting future temperatures“ (p. 25).

Policy failure? Restructuring Reforms for Green Growth by Serhan Cevik and João Tovar Jalles from the IMF as of June 20th, 2023 (#17): “… in a panel of 25 countries during the period 1970– 2020 … First, while electricity and gas sector reforms so far failed in bringing about a reduction in CO2 and GHG emissions per capita, there is some evidence for greater effectiveness in lowering GHG emissions per unit of GDP. Second, although electricity and gas sector reforms are not associated with higher supply of renewable energy as a share of total energy supply, they appear to stimulate a sustained increase in the number of environmental inventions and patents per capita over the medium term …  market-oriented electricity and gas sector reforms leading to better environmental outcomes and green growth in countries with stronger environmental regulations”.

GHG data issues: GHG Challenges for the Accurate Measurement and Accounting of Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Anton Kelnhofer and Benedikt Brauner as of May 9th, 2023 (#23): “ … companies often struggle to ensure the validity and accuracy of GHG emission calculations published and frequently remain reluctant to intensify their efforts due to perceived ambiguity and clarity on their true carbon footprint. This potentially results in substantial deviations between GHG emission data actually incurred and publicly reported. We attempt to identify the drivers at the root of these deviations. To this end, we conduct a multiple-case study among 14 large, public companies operating in emission-intensive sectors. The study reveals that GHG accuracies mostly result from challenges regarding the application of available standards and initiatives, the collection and calculation of GHG emission data along scopes 1, 2 and 3, the transparency, motivation and target definition of published reports as well as objectives and quality of external verification by auditors” (abstract).

Responsible investment research (complex engagement)

Debt-for-Nature? Debt-for-Nature Swaps: The Belize 2021 Deal and the Future of Green Sovereign Finance by Stephanie Fontana-Raina and Sebastian Grund as of May 16th, 2023 (#226): “The Belize debt-for-nature swap was a milestone … Despite representing innovations that facilitated Belize’s significant investments in local environmental protection while providing much needed, if possibly insufficient, fiscal relief, this new model of debt-for-nature swap is limited in terms of scalability and replicability. … For countries with unsustainable debt, a debt-for-nature swap cannot be expected to restore sustainability on its own, unless it involves a sufficiently large share of a country’s debt and substantial debt relief. The model in recent debt-for-nature swaps supports that the transaction may not be financially feasible without grant funding or credit enhancement from a highly creditworthy party, and the larger the stock of external debt that needs to be restructured, the more difficult it may be to attract sufficient credit support from the official sector. Larger debt restructurings involve tens of billions of dollars. … For now, debt-for-nature swaps represent a significant evolution in green sovereign finance and can serve as a “sweetener” in more traditional debt restructurings” (p. 22/23).

No ESG placebo: Is Sustainable Finance a Dangerous Placebo? by Florian Heeb, Julian F. Kölbel, Stefano Ramelli, Anna Vasileva as of June 19th, 2023 (#198): “Some observers argue that sustainable finance is a dangerous placebo that crowds out individual support for policy-driven solutions to societal challenges … with a pre-registered experiment exploiting a real-world climate policy referendum in Switzerland. We find that the opportunity to invest in a climate-conscious fund does not crowd out individual political engagement and costly efforts to advance formal climate policy. If anything, we observe moderate, not statistically significant, evidence for a crowding-in effect of sustainable investing on political engagement … on average, voters do not consider sustainable finance a substitute for political action“ (p. 18/19).

Quant ESG: Quantifying the Returns of ESG Investing: An Empirical Analysis with Six ESG Metrics by Florian Berg, Andrew W. Lo, Roberto Rigobon, Manish Singh, and Ruixun Zhang as of June 16th, 2023 (#1210): “… we quantify the excess returns of arbitrary ESG portfolios … for firms in the U.S., Europe and Japan from 2014 to 2020. … We also propose a number of methods to aggregate ESG scores across vendors to produce the best signal within the data, simultaneously addressing measurement errors and yielding a single measure of ESG that can potentially be used for portfolio management. Empirically, we find significant ESG excess returns in the U.S. and Japan. We also find positive and higher than market risk-adjusted returns” (p. 30). My comment: Including 2021 and 2022 experiences, investors should not expect excess ESG returns but they may still have lower risks with ESG investments. Instead of “pseudo-optimizing” portfolios and aggregating ESG scores from different providers which reduces transparency and explainability, more efforts should go into comparing rating approaches and finding the best (fitting) ones.

Complex engagement: Shareholder Engagement Inside and Outside the Shareholder Meeting by Tim Bowley, Jennifer G. Hill, and Steve Kourabas as of June 1st, 2023 (#199): “First, contemporary shareholder-company engagement is a multi-dimensional and evolving phenomenon. Shareholders use, to varying degrees, a wide range of engagement techniques. These include the shareholder meeting, behind-the-scenes interactions, public campaigns, and online technologies such as discussion boards and messaging apps. The latter technologies are particularly favoured by younger retail investors and have been used with remarkable effect to marshal the governance influence of such investors in recent high-profile cases. Second, shareholders often mix and match different engagement techniques in a synergistic manner to leverage their governance influence. Third, shareholders increasingly undertake their engagement activities collectively, highlighting the growing capacity of public company shareholders to overcome traditional collective action challenges. Finally, despite the engagement alternatives available to shareholders, the shareholder meeting remains an important engagement mechanism. … the processes which shape corporate decisions are becoming more diffuse and potentially less transparent. Ensuring accountability is a more complex issue in these circumstances …” (abstract). My comment: My most recent engagement experience see Active or impact investing? – (

Traditional investment research (complex engagement)

No bond outperformance? Priced risk in corporate bonds by Alexander Dickerson, Philippe Mueller, and Cesare Robotti as of June 15th, 2023 (#1191): “… we explore the limitations of evaluating factor models on corporate bonds …. Overall we find that it is difficult for newly proposed specifications to outperform the simple bond CAPM, economically and statistically. … given the nontrivial transaction costs in the over-the-counter trading of corporate bonds, it would be valuable to formally compare the performance of alternative pricing models for bonds based on economically meaningful metrics that take into account transaction costs …” (p. 22/23).

Insider ETFs: Using ETFs to conceal insider trading by Elza Eglīte, Dans Štaermans, Vinay Patel, and Tālis J. Putniņš as of Feb. 1st, 2023 (#2097): “We show that exchange traded funds (ETFs) are used in a new form of insider trading known as “shadow trading.” Our evidence suggests that some traders in possession of material non-public information about upcoming M&A announcements trade in ETFs that contain the target stock, rather than trading the underlying company shares, thereby concealing their insider trading” (abstract).

International fintech: Global Fintech Trends and their Impact on International Business: A Review by Douglas Cumming, Sofia Johan and Robert S. Reardon as of June 19th, 2023 (#82): “Firstly, fintech facilitates entrepreneurial internationalization, as evidenced by the role of crowdfunding in numerous start-ups‘ internationalization processes. Crowdfunding, along with P2P lending, has lowered barriers across countries by opening global markets and providing alternative funding sources. Fintech can also be harnessed to enhance financial inclusion in developing nations, promoting access to capital and financial services for underserved populations. Secondly, fintech can be incorporated into multinational corporations‘ research to uncover opportunities for growth and market expansion worldwide. The digital nature of online banking and the agility of fintech platforms can potentially transform corporate culture and streamline business processes, offering new ways to optimize operations and drive innovation. Thirdly, effective global regulation and regulatory technology are essential to fully realize fintech’s benefits. … concerns include potential risks associated with consumer protection, data privacy, and illicit activities. Developing and implementing appropriate regulatory frameworks can help mitigate these risks …“ (p. 30).


Advert for German investors

“Sponsor” my research by investing in and/or recommending my global small/midcap mutual fund (SFDR Art. 9). The fund focuses on social SDGs and uses separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings and broad shareholder engagement (currently 26 of 30 companies engaged). The fund typically scores very well in sustainability rankings, e.g. see this free tool, and the risk-adjusted performance is relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T. Also see Artikel 9 Fonds: Kleine Änderungen mit großen Wirkungen? – (

Critical ESG illustration with stethoscope on money picture by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Critical ESG and more: Researchposting 118

Critical ESG: 11x new research on tax avoidance, ESG deficits, corporate governance, green monetary policy, climate transition investing, shareholder engagement, inequality, factor investments, listed real estate, and ChatGPT by Alex Edmans, David Larcker, Martin Hoesli et al.

Unsocial multinationals: Global profit shifting, 1975–2019 by Ludvig Wier and Gabriel Zucman as of Nov. 29th, 2022 (#11): “This paper constructs time series of global profit shifting covering the 2015–19 period, during which major international efforts were implemented to curb profit shifting. We find that (i) multinational profits grew faster than global profits, (ii) the share of multinational profits booked in tax havens remained constant at around 37 per cent, and (iii) the fraction of global corporate tax revenue lost due to profit shifting rose from 9 to 10 per cent. We extend our time series back to 1975 and document a remarkable increase of multinational profits and global profit shifting from 1975 to 2019”. My comment: To strenghten communities (stakeholders), the reduction of profit shifting should be an attractive topic for shareholder ESG engagement

ESG investment research: Critical ESG

10 critical ESG theses: Applying Economics – Not Gut Feel – To ESG by Alex Edmans as of Feb. 21st, 2023 (#2754): “I identify how conventional thinking on ten key ESG issues is overturned when applying the insights of mainstream economics” (abstract): “1. Shareholder Value is Short-Termist (No, shareholder value is a long-term concept). 2. Shareholder Primacy Leads to an Exclusive Focus on Shareholder Value (No, shareholders have objectives other than shareholder value). 3. Sustainability Risks Increase the Cost of Capital (No, sustainability risks lower expected cash flows). 4. Sustainable Stocks Earn Higher Returns (No, sustainability may be priced in; tastes for sustainable stocks lead to lower returns). 5. Climate Risk is Investment Risk (No, climate risk is an unpriced externality). 6. A Company’s ESG Metrics Capture Its Impact on Society (No, partial equilibrium differs from general equilibrium). 7. More ESG Is Always Better (No, ESG exhibits diminishing returns and trade-offs exist). 8. More Investor Engagement Is Always Better (No, investors may be uninformed or undermine managerial initiative). 9. You Improve ESG Performance By Paying For ESG Performance (No, paying for some ESG dimensions will cause firms to underweight others). 10. Market Failures Justify Regulatory Intervention (No, regulatory intervention is only justified when market failure exceeds regulatory failure)“ (p. 4). My comment: I don’t detect any contradictions regarding my approach to invest as sustainable as possible considering exclusions, ESG and SDG factors and engagement, see e.g. Artikel 9 Fonds: Sind 50% Turnover ok? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by investing in and/or recommending my article 9 mutual fund. The fund focuses on social SDGs and midcaps, uses separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings and broad shareholder engagement. The fund typically scores very well in sustainability rankings, e.g. see this free new tool, and the performance is relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T

… continue on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on February 23rd, 2023):

Woodpecker as picture for beyond ESG research, picture by pixabay

Beyond ESG: Researchposting 116

Beyond ESG: 21x new research on bioenergy, CSR, carbon policy, greenium, ESG ratings, ecolabel, greentech, transition, fiduciaries, impact, activism, insiders, 1/n, SPACs, private equity and female founders by Timo Busch, Andreas Hoepner and many more

Social and ecological research

High bio-emissions: Emissions of Wood Pelletization and Solid Bioenergy Use in the United States by Huy Tran, Edie Juno, and Saravanan Arunachalam as of Dec. 27th, 2022 (#6): “… we find that this sector’s emissions could be potentially underestimated by a factor of two. Emissions from biomass-based facilities are on an average up to 2.8 times higher than their non-biomass counterpart per unit energy. Up to 2.3 million people live within 2km of a biomass facility, and who could be subject to adverse health impacts from their emissions. Overall, bioenergy sector contributes to about 3 – 17% of total emissions from all energy, i.e., electric and non-electric generating facilities in the U.S. In comparison to residential wood combustion, bioenergy sector emissions are lower in VOC, CO, NH3, and directly emitted PM2.5, but higher in NOX and SO2. We also review some drivers of bioenergy expansion, various feedstocks and technologies deployed with an emphasis on wood-based bioenergy and discuss their implications for future air quality and health impacts” (abstract).

Research overview: The Past and Future of Corporate Sustainability Research by Vanessa Burbano, Magali A. Delmas, and Manuel Jesus Cobo as of Oct. 13th, 2022 (#122): “… we present a comprehensive review of the field of corporate sustainability using a science mapping co-word bibliometric analysis. Through analysis of the co-occurrence of 25,701 keywords in 11,962 sustainability-related articles from 1994-2021, we identify and graphically illustrate the thematic and theoretical evolution of the field, in addition to emerging and waning research trends in the field. We characterize the most impactful articles of sustainability research in terms of disciplinary focus, topic of focus, dependent variable of focus, unit of analysis, and research method employed” (abstract).

Climate policy works: Carbon Policy Surprises and Stock Returns: Signals from Financial Markets by Martina Hengge, Ugo Panizza, and Richard Varghese as of Feb. 1st, 2023 (#18): “…. the creation of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) in 2005. This “cap and trade” scheme places a limit on the right to emit greenhouse gases and allows companies to trade emission allowances. … we show that regulatory surprises that result in an increase in carbon prices have a negative and statistically significant impact on stock returns, which increases with a firm’s carbon intensity. This negative relationship becomes even stronger when we drop firms in sectors which participate in the EU ETS, suggesting that investors price in transition risk stemming from the shift towards a low-carbon economy“ (p. 22).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by investing in and/or recommending my article 9 mutual fund. I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings. The fund typically scores very well in sustainability rankings, e.g. this free new tool, and the performance is relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T

… continues on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on February 5th, 2023):

Nature picture as illustration for female ESG investing research blog

Female ESG power and more (Researchposting 111)

Female ESG power: >10x new research on human rights ratings, child care, female ESG power, climate defaults, brown offloads, green consumers, green benchmarks, transition risks, ESG shocks, leasing, UN PRI, timberland and hedge funds by Gaizka Ormazabal, Frauke Peter, Joshua Rauh, Thierry Roncalli et al.

Social research: Female ESG power

Human rights ratings? ESG Ratings and Human Rights Due Diligence – How can ESG ratings be used to assess the human rights due diligence practices of companies? by Emil Sirén Gualinga as of Jan.4th, 2023 (#45): “… the paper examined the relationship between ESG ratings and Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) scores. The findings indicate that in general, ESG scores are not a good proxy for assessing companies’ human rights due diligence processes and practices. Moreover, whereas the relationship between ESG ratings and CHRB scores are inconsistent, a low score on Refinitiv and ISS may indicate that a company lacks adequate human rights due diligence processes. Conversely, a high score on Refinitiv or ISS is not necessarily an indicator of strong human rights due diligence processes. Lastly, the paper also acknowledges that the CHRB itself has limitations, as it does not preclude companies with a track record of being involved in human rights abuses from achieving high scores” (p. 15).

Social application-help: Early Child Care and Labor Supply of Lower-SES Mothers: A Randomized Controlled Trial by Henning Hermes, Marina Krauß, Philipp Lergetporer, Frauke Peter, Simon Wiederhold as of Jan.3rd, 2023 (#16): “We present experimental evidence that enabling access to universal early child care for families with lower socioeconomic status (SES) increases maternal labor supply. Our intervention provides families with customized help for child care applications … The treatment increases lower-SES mothers’ full-time employment rates by 9 percentage points (+160%), household income by 10%, and mothers’ earnings by 22%. … Overall, the treatment substantially improves intra-household gender equality in terms of child care duties and earnings“ (abstract).

Female ESG power: The Eco Gender Gap in Boardrooms by Po-Hsuan Hsu, Kai Li, and Yihui Pan as of Jan. 3rd, 2023 (#151): “Using novel firm- and facility-level measures of corporate environmental performance over the period 2002–2021, we establish a robust and positive association between board gender diversity and corporate environmental performance. This relation appears to be causal … We find that female directors bring more expertise on sustainability in boardrooms than male directors. Female directors are more likely to sit on sustainability-related committees and key monitoring committees than male directors. Boards with more female directors are more likely to link top executives’ compensation to corporate ESG performance” (p. 34). My comment: Similar results see 140227 ESG_Paper_V3 1 (

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by investing in and/or recommending my article 9 mutual fund. I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings. The fund typically scores very well in sustainability rankings, e.g. this free new tool, and the performance is relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T

… continues on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on January 11th, 2023):

ESG bonus Picture by Pixabay shows suitcase full of dollar bills

ESG bonus: Researchblogposting #109

ESG bonus: 15x new research on inequality, diversity, PRI, greenium, fintech, incompetences, engagement, 1/n and more by Peter Mülbert, David Walker, Malcom Baker, Lucian Bebchuk, Marie Dutordoir, Guofu Zhou, Dirk Zetzsche, David Larcker, Raina Gibson, Pedro Matos et al.

Environmental and social research

Climate action: Adaptation platforms – a way forward for adaptation governance in small cities? Lessons learned from two cities in Germany by Julia Teebken, Nicole Mitchell and Klaus Jacob as of Dec. 7th, 2022 (#6): “… we introduce adaptation platforms as a novel, low-threshold approach to initiate climate adaptation governance in small cities. … In Boizenburg (Elbe) in Northern Germany, an adaptation platform (“Platz-B”) was set up in the municipal administration. In the local authority association of Liebenwerda, in Eastern Germany, the platform (“Lighthouse Louise”) was developed through an association, which is organized by civil society. We present the context conditions for establishing the platforms, their core principles, functions, and some of the adaptation projects which were initiated“ (abstract).

Inequality drivers: Hours Inequality by Daniele Checchi, Cecilia García-Peñalosa, and Lara Vivian as of Dec. 14th, 2022 (#16): “… while the contribution of hours worked to earnings inequality is moderate in France and the US, it explains between 30 and 40 percent of earnings inequality in Germany and the UK. … it could be that individuals with higher wages now work more (supply-side) or that jobs that pay lower wages also provide fewer hours (demand-side) … the increase in female employment observed in all countries tending to increase inequality. … If reduced working hours are the result of individual choices, the increase in leisure may offset the loss in relative income and result in higher welfare. Alternatively, if low-pay workers are unable to work as much as they would like … then a deteriorated income position will be associated with under-employment and hence a loss in utility“ (p. 24).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by recommending my article 9 fund. The minimum investment is approx. EUR 50 and return and risks are relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings. The fund typically scores very well in sustainability rankings, see this new tool for example.

… continues on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on December 20th):

Microfinance risk: Picture of money which leads to plant growth

Microfinance risk and more: Researchposting #107

Microfinance risk: 15x new research on publication biases, green innovation, supply chains, biocredits, greenium, ESG ratings and loans, CSR, Kickbacks etc. by Karol Kemper, Ulf Moslener, Nic Schaub, Simon Straumann, Pınar Yeşin et al.

Ecological and social research

Misleading research: Footprint of publication selection bias on meta-analysis in medicine, economics, and psychology by František Bartoš et al as of August 25th, 2022: “… we survey over 26,000 meta-analyses containing more than 800,000 effect size estimates from medicine, economics, and psychology …. The median probability of the presence of an effect in economics decreased from 99.9% to 29.7% after adjusting for publication selection bias. This reduction was slightly lower in psychology (98.9% −→ 55.7%) and considerably lower in medicine (38.0% −→ 27.5%)” (abstract). My comment: There is always bias in research, with my approach, too, but is important to disclose it: 100 research blogposts since 2018 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Brown innovations: Toxic Emissions and Corporate Green Innovation by Wenquan Li, Suman Neupane, and Kelvin Jui Keng Tan as of Oct. 23rd, 2022 (#264): “Consistent with our main hypothesis, which hinges upon regulatory burden and environmental awareness, we show that high-emission companies produce more green patents of higher quality and value than low-emission firms. … We also find that environmental related green patents mitigate future toxic air releases“ (abstract). My question: Is internal financing sufficient or external capital required to finance these innovations?

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by recommending my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is approx. EUR 50 and return and risks are relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings.

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on December 7th):

Heidebild als Illustration für Green Research

Green research deficits: Researchblogposting #106

Green research: 15x new research on net-zero, healthcare, banking, m&a, ESG, voting, retail investors, private equity etc. by Sandra Nolte, Harald Lohre, Martin Oehmke, Marcus Opp et al.

Social and green research

Climate demographics: The Slow Demographic Transition in Regions Vulnerable to Climate Change by Thang Dao, Matthias Kalkuhl, and Chrysovalantis Vasilakis as of October 21st, 2022 (#7): “We consider how the demographic transition has been shaped in regions that are the least developed and the most vulnerable to climate change. Environmental conditions affect intra-household labor allocation because of the impacts on local resources under the poor infrastructural system. Climate change causes damage to local resources, offsetting the role of technological progress in saving time that women spend on their housework. Hence, the gender inequality in education/income is upheld, delaying declines in fertility and creating population momentum. The bigger population, in turn, degrades local resources through expanded production. The interplay between local resources, gender inequality, and population, under the persistent effect of climate change, may thus generate a slow demographic transition and stagnation. We provide empirical confirmation for our theoretical predictions from 44 Sub-Saharan African countries” (abstract).

Net zero challenges: Neutralizing the Atmosphere by Shelley Welton as of May 5th, 2022 (#151): “Net zero” has rapidly become the new organizing paradigm of climate change law. … To date, critiques have centered on what this Article terms “accounting” risks: that is, risks that pledges in action will fail to live up to pledges on paper. The Article argues that there are two broader normative risks with net zero that are underdiagnosed but may prove more intractable. First, the net zero framework presumes collective disinterest regarding the best way to neutralize atmospheric emissions, with every participating entity left to determine its own preferred strategy. In reality, decisions around how to reach net zero emissions are contested, impactful, and often politically explosive. … The second risk this Article identifies is the “collective achievement challenge”: if the world continues to pursue an atomized approach to net zero, it is likely that entities will over-rely on certain cost-effective strategies—like tree planting—at scales that cannot be collectively achieved, at least not without substantial collateral social consequences. Disjunctive efforts toward net zero thus threaten to undermine the legal, political, and physical foundations of the global project” (abstract).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my research by recommending my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is approx. EUR 50 and so far return and risks are relatively good: FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings.

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on November 30st):

Brille als Bild für den Beitrag German ESG criticism

German ESG criticism: Researchposting 103

German ESG criticism: 14x new research on climate costs, circular economy, infrastructure, ESG, SDG, ratings, transitions, asset allocation, factor investing, REITs and private equity by Elizabeth Pollman, Bernd Scherer, Michael Grote et al.

Social and ecological research

Huge climate costs: The Global Costs of Extreme Weather That Are Attributable to Climate Change by Rebecca Newman and Ilan Noy as of Nov. 3rd, 2022 (#13): “Extreme Event Attribution (EEA), a methodology that examines the degree to which anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions had changed the occurrence of specific extreme weather events … We find that US$ 143 billion per year, of the costs of extreme events during the last twenty years, is attributable to anthropogenic climatic change. … other approaches use macroeconomic modelling embedded within climate models in various types of Integrated Assessment Models (IAM). … evidence that suggests that most IAMs are substantially under-estimating the current economic costs of climate change“ (abstract).

Circular Economy segmentation: Startups and Circular Economy Strategies: Profile Differences, Barriers and Enablers by Wim Van Opstal and Lize Borms as of October 18th, 2022 (#27): “In this paper we presented results from the first survey on circular startups that allows for multivariate statistical analyses … business-to-business and business-to-government markets can be considered as frontrunner markets for circular business models and supporting services for the circular economy. Circular startups mostly consider sustainability and circularity as a comparative advantage, while activities like maintenance and repair, and sharing production means are less often explicitly considered as circular economy activities. … Barriers and enablers vary significantly depending on the circular strategies that are applied …“ (p. 17).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my free research e.g. by buying my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is around EUR 50. FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings (compare ESG plus SDG-Alignment mit guter Performance: FutureVest ESG SDG – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on November 8):

Unsustainable Bonds: Naturbild von Andres Dressler zur Illustration

Unsustainable bonds? Researchposting 102

Unsustainable bonds? 20x new research on climate risk, real estate, health, Trump, carbon credits, CDS, bank loans, bonds, interest rates, ESG indexing, pensions, gender, infrastructure, private equity, investment apps, ESG fintechs, climate AI by Roland Fuess, Tabea Bucher-Koenen, Paul Pudschedl, Markus Leippold et al.

Social and Ecological Research: Unsustainable bonds?

Longer hot: 800,000 Years of Climate Risk by Tobias Adrian, Nina Boyarchenko, Domenico Giannone,  Ananthakrishnan Prasad, Dulani Seneviratne, and Yanzhe Xiao as of September 9th, 2022 (#22): “… we study how climate evolves over the past 800,000 years … We find that the temperature-CO2 dynamics are non-linear, so that large deviations in either temperature or CO2 concentrations take a long time to correct … even conditional on the net-zero 2050 scenario, there remains a significant risk of elevated temperatures for at least a further five millennia” (p. 26/27).

Reduce green incentives? The Low-Carbon Rent Premium of Residential Buildings by Angelika Brändle, Roland Füss, Jörg Schläpfer, and Alois Weigand as of September 22nd, 2022 (#53): “The operation of residential real estate accounts for a large part of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions …. we analyze 39,791 rental contracts from 2,438 residential properties in the Switzerland … our results suggest that apartments in low-carbon buildings have higher net rents compared to dwellings which emit more carbon emissions. … the higher willingness-to-pay for low-carbon housing is not decisively driven by a tenant’s higher preference for living in an environmentally-friendly apartment. … based on capitalization rates from 432 transactions, we suggest that the market value is on average higher for carbon neutral apartment properties due to lower expected risk premiums. … incentive structures for sustainable housing have to be carefully evaluated by policy makers as higher market values of low-carbon buildings compensate investors for cutting CO2 emissions” (p. 17/18).

Advert for German investors: “Sponsor” my free research e.g. by buying my Article 9 fund. The minimum investment is around EUR 50. FutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T: I focus on social SDGs and midcaps and use best-in-universe as well as separate E, S and G minimum ratings.

For my approach to this blog see 100 research blogposts since 2018 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

For more current research please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on November 1st):