Archiv der Kategorie: Regulierung

Emissions trading: Illustration from Pixaby by AS_Appendorf

Emissions trading and more: Researchblog #146

Emissions trading: 16x new research on fossil subsidies, ECB eco policy, GHG disclosures, supplier ESG, workforce ESG, geospatial ESG data, ESG reputation and performance, investor driven greenwashing, sustainable blockchain, active management, GenAI for asset management and more

Emissions trading (ecological) research

Fossil subsidies: IMF Fossil Fuel Subsidies Data: 2023 Update by Simon Black, Antung A. Liu, Ian Parry, and Nate Vernon from the International Monetary Fund as of Oct. 4th, 2023 (#11): “Fossil fuel subsidy estimates provide a summary statistic of prevailing underpricing of fossil fuels. … falling energy prices provide an opportune time to lock in pricing of carbon and local air pollution emissions without necessarily raising energy prices above recently experienced levels. For example, even with a carbon price of $75 per tonne, international natural gas prices in 2030 (shown in Figure 1) would be well below peak levels in 2022. Energy price reform needs to be accompanied by robust assistance for households, but this should be both targeted at low-income households (to limit fiscal costs) and unrelated to energy consumption (to avoid undermining energy conservation incentives). Assistance might therefore take the form of means-tested transfer payments or perhaps lump-sum rebates in energy bills“ (p. 23). My comment: Total subsidies for Germany for 2022 amout to US$ bln 129 (or 3% of GDP, see table p. 27), one of the largest amounts worldwide.

ECB policy model: Climate-conscious monetary policy by Anton Nakov and Carlos Thomas from the European Central Bank as of Sept. 29th, 2023 (#23): “We study the implications of climate change and the associated mitigation measures for optimal monetary policy in a canonical New Keynesian model with climate externalities. Provided they are set at their socially optimal level, carbon taxes pose no trade-offs for monetary policy: it is both feasible and optimal to fully stabilize inflation and the welfare-relevant output gap. More realistically, if carbon taxes are initially suboptimal, trade-offs arise between core and climate goals. These trade-offs however are resolved overwhelmingly in favor of price stability, even in scenarios of decades-long transition to optimal carbon taxation. This reflects the untargeted, inefficient nature of (conventional) monetary policy as a climate instrument. In a model extension with financial frictions and central bank purchases of corporate bonds, we show that green tilting of purchases is optimal and accelerates the green transition. However, its effect on CO2 emissions and global temperatures is limited by the small size of eligible bonds’ spreads” (abstract).

Pollution trade? Are Developed Countries Outsourcing Pollution? by Arik Levinson as of summer 2023: “… in general, the balance of the evidence to date does not find statistically or economically significant evidence of regulations causing outsourcing. For all the talk of outsourcing pollution in the media and politics, there is surprisingly little empirical evidence that high-income regions increasingly and disproportionally import products of the most polluting sectors“ (p. 107).

Emission trading (1): Emissions trading system: bridging the gap between environmental targets and fair competition by Massimo Beccarello and Giacomo Di Foggia as of Aug. 27th, 2023 (#22)“The effectiveness of the European Emissions Trading System in supporting a level playing field while reducing total emissions is tested. While data show a robust impact on the environment as a steady decrease in carbon emissions is observed, it is reported that its ability to internalize emission costs may improve to better address the import of extra European generated emissions that negatively impact the economy when not properly accounted for. Analyzing data in six European countries between 2016 and 2020, the results suggest competitive advantages for industries with higher extra-European imports of inputs that result in biased production costs that, in turn, alter competitive positioning” (abstract).

Emissions trading (2): Firm-Level Pollution and Membership of Emission Trading Schemes by Gbenga Adamolekun, Festus Fatai Adedoyin, and Antonios Siganos as of Sept. 18th, 2023 (#7): “Our evidence indicates that firms that are members of ETS emit on average more carbon than their counterparts that are not members of the scheme. Members of emission trading schemes are more effective in their carbon reduction efforts. Firms that are members of an ETS emit significantly more sulphur and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than their peers that are not members of an ETS. We also find that members of ETS typically have more environmental scandals than their counterparts that are non-members. … We also report that firms that choose to exit the scheme continue emitting more than their counterparts. … new entrants initially do not emit more than their peers at the beginning, but they increase their emissions in the years following” (S. 24/25).

Different disclosures: Climate Disclosure: A Machine Learning-Based Analysis of Company-Level GHG Emissions and ESG Data Disclosure by Andrej Bajic as of August 24th, 2023 (#39): “One of the key findings of the study indicates that larger firms tend to exhibit a greater tendency to disclose both ESG (partial disclosure) and GHG data (full disclosure) … more profitable and carbon-intensive firms tend to disclose data more frequently. Furthermore, we find that companies from Western, Northern, and Southern demonstrate a stronger propensity towards disclosing GHG emissions data, whereas those from North America, particularly the US, have a higher tendency to provide general ESG data (partial disclosure), but not as much transparency regarding their GHG emissions“ (p. 25/26). My comment: I try to convince small- and midcap companies to disclose GHG scope 3 emissions, see  Shareholder engagement: 21 science based theses and an action plan – (

No intrinsic ESG? Do Major Customers Affect Suppliers‘ ESG Activities? by Feng Dong, John A. Doukas, Rongyao Zhang, Stephanie Walton, and Yiyang Zhang as of Sept. 20th, 2023 (#18): “Our empirical findings show a significantly negative relation between customer concentration and suppliers‘ ESG engagement, indicating that firms with major customers have fewer incentives to engage in ESG activities to improve their social capital, thereby attracting other customers. Instead, they cater to (maintain) their current major customers by allocating capital resources to other activities aiming to increase their intangible asset base … firms tend to maintain higher levels of ESG engagement when their principal customers exhibit greater financial leverage and bankruptcy risk. … Additionally, we find that suppliers with concentrated customer bases and customers facing lower switching costs tend to have higher levels of ESG engagement, while suppliers with non-diversified revenue streams also exhibit higher levels of ESG activities” (p. 32/33). My comment: Regarding supplier ESG effects see Supplier engagement – Opinion post #211 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Social research

Green flexibility: More Flexibility, Less Sustainability: How Workforce Flexibility Has a Dual Effect on Corporate Environmental Sustainability by Tobias Stucki and David Risi as of Sept. 24th, 2023 (#6): “Research suggests a strong link between corporate environmental sustainability and workforce flexibility. On the one hand, forms of workforce flexibility, such as job rotation and temporary employment, are relevant for organizational learning and absorptive capacity. On the other, organizational learning and absorptive capacity influence the adoption of environmental management systems (EMS) and green process innovation. … we hypothesize that (a) workforce flexibility positively affects green process innovation because it stimulates absorptive capacity and that (b) workforce flexibility has a negative moderating effect on the relationship between EMS (Sö: environmental Management systems) adoption and green process innovation … Empirical tests based on two representative datasets support our premises” (abstract). My comment: For the above mentioned reasons I include temporary work providers in my SDG-aligned portfolios and in my fund (see e.g. Noch eine Fondsboutique? – Responsible Investment Research Blog ( I could not find many other investors with a similar approach, though.  

Responsible investment research (Emissions trading)

Geo-ESG-Caching? Locating the Future of ESG: The Promise of Geospatial Data in Advancing ESG Research by Ulrich Atz and Christopher C. Bruno as of Sept.20th, 2023 (#25): “We reiterate that most contemporary critiques of ESG are appropriate. But this does not contradict the enormous progress we have made over the last ten years in measuring ESG performance. The tension rather highlights that there is no shortcut for establishing the next generation of accounting for sustainability performance. Aggregate ESG scores can never serve more than a narrow purpose. Practitioners need to accept that they have to deal with a menu of ESG performance metrics depending on factors that affect their business, industry, or preferences of their investors. We see the frontier and most promising avenue for better ESG measurements in location-based data“ (p. 9).

ESG image costs: ESG Reputation Risk Matters: An Event Study Based on Social Media Data by Maxime L. D. Nicolas, Adrien Desroziers, Fabio Caccioli, and Tomaso Aste as of Sept. 22nd, 2023 (#73): “… this study is the first to examine how shareholders respond to ESG related reputational risk events and how social media shapes their perception on the matter. … On the event date of an ESG-risk event, we observe a statistically significant decrease of approximately 0.29% in abnormal returns. Furthermore, this effect is stronger for Social and Governance-related risks, specifically “Product Liability”, “Stakeholder Opposition”, and “Corporate Governance”. Environmental-risk events don’t have a significant impact on stock prices, unless they are about “Environmental Opportunities“ (p. 10/11).

ESG risks: ESG Performance and Stock Risk in U.S. Financial Firms by Kyungyeon (Rachel) Koha and Jooh Lee as of Sept. 25th, 2023 (#45): “This study empirically examines the relationship between ESG performance and firm risks in the U.S. financial services industry. Our findings of a negative relationship between ESG and firm risk (total, idiosyncratic, and systematic) underscore the importance of ESG as both an ethical imperative and a strategic tool to manage risk in financial firms. … Specifically, under-diversified CEOs, with larger stakes in their firms, stand to benefit even more from high ESG performance, reinforcing the negative association between ESG and firm risk. Similarly, the interaction between ESG and leverage provides insight into how ESG can counteract the inherent risks associated with high leverage” (p. 13/14).

Greenwashing differences: Measuring Greenwashing: the Greenwashing Severity Index by Valentina Lagasio as of Sept. 28th, 2023 (#83): “Using a diverse dataset of 702 globally-listed companies … Our findings reveal variations in greenwashing practices, with certain sectors exhibiting higher susceptibility to greenwashing, while smaller companies tend to engage in fewer deceptive practices. … Key implications highlight the importance of transparent ESG reporting, third-party verification, and regulatory frameworks in combating greenwashing” (abstract).

Investor driven greenwashing? Green or Greenwashing? How Manager and Investor Preferences Shape Firm Strategy by Nathan Barrymore as of Sept. 19th, 2023 (#72): “This paper examines how managers’ and investors’ preferences with regards to … pressure … for environmental and social (ESG) responsibility – causes firms to either make substantive changes that result in improved outcomes or to greenwash: adopt symbolic policies. I find that managers’ ESG preferences, as proxied using their language on earnings calls, are associated with both ESG policies and outcomes. However, investors’ ESG preferences are associated with policies, but not outcomes, suggestive of greenwashing. … Greenwashing also correlates with ESG ratings disagreement, providing practical insight for managers and investors“ (abstract). My comment: Unfortunately, having policies often seems to be enough for some self-proclaimed responsible investors. I focus much more on outcomes such as SDG-alignment, see e.g. No engagement-washing! Opinion-Post #207 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Sustainable blockchain? Blockchain Initiatives Dynamics Regarding The Sustainable Development Goals by Louis Bertucci and Jacques-André Fines-Schlumberger as of September 29th, 2023 (#60): “Using an open database of blockchain impact projects, we provide a dynamic analysis of these projects in relation with SDGs. We explain why the Bitcoin blockchain itself can help the development of clean energy infrastructure. … We also show that overall public blockchains are more popular than private blockchain and most importantly that the share of public blockchains as underlying technology is increasing among impact projects, which we believe is the right choice for global and transparent impact projects. More recently a new paradigm is emerging in the decentralized ecosystem called Regenerative Finance (or ReFi). Regenerative Finance merges the principles of Decentralised Finance (DeFi), which has the potential to broaden financial inclusion, facilitate open access, encourage permissionless innovation, and create new opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators … with regenerative practices. … regenerative finance seeks to build a financial system that generates positive environmental and social outcomes … to fund public goods, encourage climate-positive initiatives and shift current economic systems from extractive models to regenerative ones“ (p. 20/21).

Other investment research (Emissions trading)

More effort, fewer trades? (Not) Everybody’s Working for the Weekend: A Study of Mutual Fund Manager Effort by Boone Bowles and Richard B. Evans as of Sept. 20th, 2023 (#53): “Our measure compares observable mutual fund work activity between regular workdays and weekends. We find that effort (P ctW k) varies over time (there is generally more effort between November and February) and across mutual funds (larger, more expensive, better run funds put in more effort). Further, we find that within-family increases in effort come in response to poor recent performance, outflows and higher volatility. We … find that after mutual funds increase their effort their portfolios are more concentrated, have higher active share, and experience lower turnover. … more effort leads to better performance in the future in terms of benchmark adjusted alphas“ (p.23/24).

GenAI for investments? Generative AI: Overview, Economic Impact, and Applications in Asset Management by Martin Luk frm Man AHL as of September 19th, 2023 (#1974): “This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution and latest advancements in Generative AI models, alongside their economic impact and applications in asset management. … The first section outlines the key innovations and methodologies that underpin large language models like ChatGPT, while also covering image-based, multimodal, and tool-using Generative AI models. … the second section reviews the impact of Generative AI on jobs, productivity, and various industries, ending with a focus on use-cases within investment management. This section also addresses the dangers and risks associated with the use of Generative AI, including the issue of hallucinations” (abstract). My comment see AI: Wie können nachhaltige AnlegerInnen profitieren? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

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Supplier ESG illustrated with delivery man by 28819275 from Pixabay

Supplier ESG – Researchpost #144

Supplier ESG: 17x new research on SDG, green behavior, subsidies, SMEs, ESG ratings, real estate, risk management, sin stocks, trading, suppliers, acting in concert, AI and VC by Alexander Bassen, Andreas G.F. Hoepner, and many more (#: SSRN downloads on Sept. 21st, 2023)

Too late? Earth beyond six of nine planetary boundaries by Katherine Richardson and many more as of Sept. 13th, 2023: “This planetary boundaries framework update finds that six of the nine boundaries are transgressed, suggesting that Earth is now well outside of the safe operating space for humanity. Ocean acidification is close to being breached, while aerosol loading regionally exceeds the boundary. Stratospheric ozone levels have slightly recovered. The transgression level has increased for all boundaries earlier identified as overstepped. As primary production drives Earth system biosphere functions, human appropriation of net primary production is proposed as a control variable for functional biosphere integrity. This boundary is also transgressed. Earth system modeling of different levels of the transgression of the climate and land system change boundaries illustrates that these anthropogenic impacts on Earth system must be considered in a systemic context“ (abstract).

Ecological research (corporate perspective)

Social measures: How useful are convenient measures of pro-environmental behavior? Evidence from a field study on green self-reports and observed green behavior by Ann-Kathrin Blankenberg, Martin Binder, and Israel Waichmann as of Aug. 20th, 2023 (#12): “We conduct a field study with n = 599 participants recruited in the town hall of a German medium-sized town to compare self-reports of pro-environmental behavior of our participants with observed behavior (green product choice and donation to real charities). Our results indicate that self-reports are only weakly correlated to incentivized behavior in our sample of an adult population (r = .09∗ ), partly because pro-environmental behavior measures can conflate prosocial and pro-environmental preferences. … Our results … cast some doubt on the validity of commonly used convenient measures of pro-environmental behavior“ (abstract).

Expensive subsidies: Converting the Converted: Subsidies and Solar Adoption by Linde Kattenberg, Erdal Aydin, Dirk Brounen, and Nils Kok as of July 25th, 2023 (#18): „… there is limited empirical evidence on the effectiveness of subsidies that are used to promote the adoption of such (Sö: renewable energy) technologies. This paper exploits a natural experimental setting, in which a solar PV subsidy is assigned randomly within a group of households applying for the subsidy. Combining data gathered from 100,000 aerial images with detailed information on 15,000 households … The results show that, within the group of households that applied for the subsidy, the provision of subsidy leads to a 14.4 percent increase in the probability of adopting solar PV, a 9.6 percent larger installation, and a 1-year faster adoption. However, examining the subsequent electricity consumption of the applicants, we report that the subsidy provision leads to a decrease in household electricity consumption of just 8.1 percent, as compared to the rejected applicant group, implying a cost of carbon of more than €2,202 per ton of CO2”.

Regulatory SME effects: The EU Sustainability Taxonomy: Will it Affect Small and Medium-sized Enterprises? by Ibrahim E. Sancak as of Sept. 6th, 2023 (#52): “The EU Sustainability Taxonomy (EUST) is a new challenge for companies, particularly SMEs and financial market participants; however, it potentially conveys its economic value; hence, reliable taxonomy reporting and strong sustainability indicators can yield enormously. … We conclude that the EU’s sustainable finance reforms have potential domino effects. Backed by the European Green Deal, sustainable finance reforms, and in particular, the EUST, will not be limited to large companies or EU companies; they will affect all economic actors having business and finance connections in the EU“ (p. 14).

ESG rating credits: Determinants of corporate credit ratings: Does ESG matter? by Lachlan Michalski and Rand Kwong Yew Low as of Aug. 19th, 2023 (#25): “We show that environmental and social responsibility variables are important determinants for the credit ratings, specifically measures of environmental innovation, resource use, emissions, corporate social responsibility, and workforce determinants. The influence of ESG variables become more pronounced following the financial crisis of 2007-2009, and are important across both investment-grade and speculative-grade classes” (abstract).

Climate risk management: Climate and Environmental risks and opportunities in the banking industry: the role of risk management by Doriana Cucinelli, Laura Nieri, and Stefano Piserà as of Aug. 18th, 2023 (#22): “We base our analysis on a sample of 112 European listed banks observed from 2005 to 2021. Our results … provide evidence that banks with a stronger and more sophisticated risk management are more likely to implement a better climate change risk strategy. … Our findings underline that bank providing their employees and managers with specific training programs on environmental topics, or availing of the presence of a CSR committee, or adopting environmental-linked remuneration scheme, stand out for a greater engagement towards C&E risks and opportunities and a sounder C&E strategy” (p. 16).

Generic ESG Research (investor perspective)

ESG dissected: It’s All in the Detail: Individual ESG Factors and Firm Value by Ramya Rajajagadeesan Aroul, Riette Carstens and Julia Freybote as of Aug. 25th, 2023 (#29): “We disaggregate ESG into its individual factors (E, S and G) and investigate their impact on firm value using publicly listed equity real estate investment trusts (REITs) as a laboratory over the period of 2009 to 2021. … We find that the environmental factor (E) and governance factor (G) positively predict firm value while the social factor (S) negatively predicts it. … Further analysis into antecedents of firm value suggests that our results are driven by 1) E reducing cost of debt and increasing financial flexibility, operating efficiency, and performance, 2) S leading to a higher cost of debt as well as lower financial flexibility and operating performance, and 3) G increasing operating efficiency. … We also find evidence for time-variations in the relationships of E, S and G with firm value and its determinants” (abstract). My comment: This is not really new as one can see in my publication from 2014: 140227 ESG_Paper_V3 1 (

Greenbrown valuations: The US equity valuation premium, globalization, and climate change risks by Craig Doidge, G. Andrew Karolyi, and René M. Stulz as of Sept. 15th, 2023 (#439): “It is well-known that before the GFC (Sö: Global Financial Crisis of 2008), on average, US firms were valued more highly than non-US firms. We call this valuation difference the US premium. We show that, for firms from DMs (Sö: Developed Markets), the US premium is larger after the crisis than before. By contrast, the US premium for firms from EMs (Sö: Emerging Markets) falls. In percentage terms, the US premium for DMs increases by 27% while the US premium for EMs falls by 24%. … the differing evolution of the US premium for DM firms and for EM firms is concentrated among old economy firms – older firms in industries that have a high ratio of tangible assets to total assets. … We find that the valuations of firms in brown industries in non-US DMs fell significantly relative to comparable firm valuations in the US and this decline among brown industries in EMs did not take place. Though this mechanism does not explain the increase in the US premium for firms in DMs fully, it explains much of that increase. It follows from this that differences across countries in the importance given to sustainability and ESG considerations can decrease the extent to which financial markets across the world are integrated“ (p. 28).

Sin ESG: Does ESG impact stock returns for controversial companies? by Sonal and William Stearns as of Sept. 2nd, 2023 (#35): “We find that the market perception of ESG investments of controversial firms have changed over time. For the 2010-2015 period, ESG investments made by sinful firms are rewarded positively by increasing stock prices. However, for the sample period post 2015, increases in ESG no longer result in positive stock returns. We further find the maximum change for the oil and gas industry“ (p. 11/12). My comment see ESG Transition Bullshit? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Portfolio ESG effects: Quantifying the Impacts of Climate Shocks in Commercial Real Estate Market by Rogier Holtermans, Dongxiao Niu, and Siqi Zheng as of Sept. 7th, 2023 (#251): “We focus on Hurricanes Harvey and Sandy to quantify the price impacts of climate shocks on commercial buildings in the U.S. We find clear evidence of a decline in transaction prices in hurricane-damaged areas after the hurricane made landfall, compared to unaffected areas. We also observe that …. Assets in locations outside the FEMA floodplain (with less prior perception about climate risk) have experienced larger price discounts after the hurricanes. … Moreover, the price discount is larger when the particular buyer has more climate awareness and has a more geographically diverse portfolio, so it is easier for her to factor in this risk in the portfolio construction” (abstract).

ESG investors or traders? Do ESG Preferences Survive in the Trading Room? An Experimental Study by Alexander Bassen, Rajna Gibson Brandon, Andreas G.F. Hoepner, Johannes Klausmann, and Ioannis Oikonomou as of Sept. 19th, 2023 (#12): “This study experimentally tests in a competitive trading room whether Socially Responsible Investors (SRIs) and students are consistent with their stated ESG preferences. … The results suggest that all participants who view ESG issues as important (ESG perception) trade more aggressively irrespective of whether the news are related to ESG matters or not. … More importantly, SRIs trade on average much less aggressively than students irrespective of their ESG perceptions and behaviors” (abstract). … “Investors mostly consider macroeconomic and id[1]iosyncratic financial news in their investment decisions. Updates on the ESG performance of a firm are perceived as less likely to move prices by the participants. In addition to that, we observe a stronger reaction to positive news compared to negative news” (p. 26). My comment: I prefer most-passive rules based to active investments, compare Noch eine Fondsboutique? – Responsible Investment Research Blog ( or Active or impact investing? – (

Supplier ESG research (also see Supplier engagement – Opinion post #211)

Supplier ESG shocks: ESG Shocks in Global Supply Chains by Emilio Bisetti, Guoman She, and Alminas Zaldokas as of Sept. 6th, 2023 (#38): “We show that U.S. firms cut imports by 29.9% and are 4.3% more likely to terminate a trade relationship when their international suppliers experience environmental and social (E&S) incidents. These trade cuts are larger for publicly listed U.S. importers facing high E&S investor pressure and lead to cross-country supplier reallocation …. Larger trade cuts around the scandal result in higher supplier E&S scores in subsequent years, and in the eventual resumption of trade” (abstract).

Sustainable supplier reduction: A Supply Chain Sourcing Model at the Interface of Operations and Sustainability by Gang Li and Yu A. Xia as of Aug. 25th, 2023 (#204): “This research investigates … how to integrate sustainability with sourcing planning decisions and how to address the challenges associated with the integration, such as the balance between operational factors and sustainability factors and the quantitative evaluation of sustainability performance. … Our model suggests that while increasing the number of suppliers may cause additional sustainability risk in supply chain management, decreasing the supply base will decrease the production capacity and increase the risk of delivery delay. Therefore, a firm should carefully set up its global sourcing network with only a limited number of selected suppliers. This finding is particularly true when the focus of sourcing planning gradually moves away from decisions based solely on cost to those seeking excellence in both supply chain sustainability and cost performance“ (p. 32).

Empowering stakeholders: Stakeholder Governance as Governance by Stakeholders by Brett McDonnell as of August 31st, 2023 (#64): “… American stakeholder engagement is limited to soliciting (and on occasion responding to) the opinions of employees, customers, suppliers, and others. True stakeholder governance would involve these groups in actively making corporate decisions. I have suggested various ways we could do this. The focus should be on employees, who could be empowered via board representation, works councils, and unions. Other stakeholders could be less fully empowered through councils, advisory at first but potentially given power to nominate or even elect directors” (p. 19).

Impact investment research (supplier ESG)

Anti-climate concert: Rethinking Acting in Concert: Activist ESG Stewardship is Shareholder Democracy by Dan W. Puchniak and Umakanth Varottil as of Sept. 13th, 2023 (#187): “… the legal barriers posed by acting in concert rules in virtually all jurisdictions prevent institutional investors from engaging in collective shareholder activism with the aim or threat of replacing the board (i.e., “activist stewardship”). Perversely, the current acting in concert rules effectively prevent institutional investors from replacing boards that resist (or even deny) climate change solutions – even if (or, ironically, precisely because) they collectively have enough shareholder voting rights to democratically replace the boards of recalcitrant brown companies. This heretofore hidden problem in corporate and securities law effectively prevents trillions of dollars of shareholder voting rights that institutional investors legally control from being democratically exercised to change companies who refuse to properly acknowledge the threat of climate change” … (abstract).

Other investment research

AI investment risks: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Future Retail Investment by Imtiaz Sifat as of Sept. 12th, 2023 (#20): “I have analyzed AI’s integration in retail investment. … The benefits spring from access to sophisticated strategies once exclusive to institutional investors. The downside is that the opaque models which facilitate such strategies may aggravate risks and information asymmetry for retail investors. To stop this gap from widening, proper governance is essential. Similarly, the ability to ingest copious alternative data and instantaneous portfolio optimization incurs a tradeoff—too much dependence on historical data invokes modelling biases and data quality cum privacy concerns. It is also likely that AI-dominated markets of the future will be more volatile, and new forms of speculation would emerge as trading platforms incentivize speculation and gamification. The combined forces of these concurrent challenges put a heavy stress on orthodox finance theories …“ (p. 16/17). Maybe interesting: AI: Wie können nachhaltige AnlegerInnen profitieren? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Venture careers: Failing Just Fine: Assessing Careers of Venture Capital-backed Entrepreneurs via a Non-Wage Measure by Natee Amornsiripanitch, Paul A. Gompers, George Hu, Will Levinson, and Vladimir Mukharlyamov as of Aug. 30th, 2023 (#131): “Would-be founders experience accelerated career trajectories prior to founding, significantly outperforming graduates from same-tier colleges with similar first jobs. After exiting their start-ups, they obtain jobs about three years more senior than their peers who hold (i) same-tier college degrees, (ii) similar first jobs, and (iii) similar jobs immediately prior to founding their company. Even failed founders find jobs with higher seniority than those attained by their non-founder peers“ (abstract).


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 30 of 30 engaged companiesFutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T; also see Active or impact investing? – (


Supplier Engagement table by CAF as example

Supplier engagement – Opinion post #211

Supplier engagement is my term for shareholder engagement with the goal to address suppliers either directly or indirectly. I provide an overview of current scientific research regarding supplier engagement. I also explain my respective recommendations to the companies I am invested in. Supplier engagement can be very powerful.

The other two stakeholder groups which I address with my “leveraged shareholder engagement” are customers and employees (compare HR-ESG shareholder engagement: Opinion-Post #210 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Supplier emissions can be very high

Supplier relations have become much talked about in recent years. Climate change is one of the reasons. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are one of the prime shareholder concerns if they are interested in environmental topics. To compare more or less vertically integrated companies with their competitors, evaluating GHG emissions of suppliers is important. Often, GHG emissions of suppliers (part of so-called scope 3) are much higher than the (scope 1 and 2) emissions of the analyzed company itself.

Relevant research (1): Managing climate change risks in global supply chains: a review and research agenda by Abhijeet Ghadge, Hendrik Wurtmann and Stefan Seuring as of June 13th, 2022: “The research … captures a comprehensive picture of climate change and associated phenomenon in terms of sources, consequences, control drivers, and mitigation mechanisms. … The study contributes to practice by providing visibility into the industry sectors most likely to be impacted; their complex association with other supply chain networks. The drivers, barriers, and strategies for climate change mitigation are particularly helpful to practitioners for better managing human-induced risks …” (p. 59).

Supply chain becomes more important for ESG-analyses

COVID and geopolitical changes such as the Russian attack on the Ukraine also showed that the management of supply chains is crucial for many companies. Even before, many supplier related incidents such as the Foxconn/Apple discussions had significant effects on company ESG perceptions and potentially also on ESG-ratings. Also, supply chains are becoming more in many countries.

Relevant research (2): ESG Shocks in Global Supply Chains by Emilio Bisetti, Guoman She, and Alminas Zaldokas as of Sept. 6th, 2023: “We show that U.S. firms cut imports by 29.9% and are 4.3% more likely to terminate a trade relationship when their international suppliers experience environmental and social (E&S) incidents. These trade cuts are larger for publicly listed U.S. importers facing high E&S investor pressure and lead to cross-country supplier reallocation …. Larger trade cuts around the scandal result in higher supplier E&S scores in subsequent years, and in the eventual resumption of trade” (abstract).

On the positive side, many suppliers have great knowhow and can help their clients to become better in ESG-terms.

Relevant research (3): Stakeholder Engagement by Brett McDonnell as of Nov. 1st, 2022t:  “Suppliers, like employees, also provide inputs to the production process of companies. Retaining the loyalty of suppliers may be important for companies, depending in part on how firm-specific inputs are. Where inputs are fungible, they can be bought on the market for the prevailing market price, but where they are firm-specific, the buying firm will have more trouble replacing a supplier that decides to withdraw. Suppliers have information about the quality of what they supply, and about conditions which may affect future availability and prices” (p. 8).

Supplier engagement: How investors can indirectly engage

Investors in publicly listed companies do probably not want to directly with the often many important suppliers of their portfolios companies. But they can indirectly leverage the knowhow and energy of suppliers. Here is what Brett McDonnell suggests:

Relevant research (4): Stakeholder Governance as Governance by Stakeholders by Brett McDonnell as of August 31st, 2023: “… American stakeholder engagement is limited to soliciting (and on occasion responding to) the opinions of employees, customers, suppliers, and others. True stakeholder governance would involve these groups in actively making corporate decisions. I have suggested various ways we could do this. The focus should be on employees, who could be empowered via board representation, works councils, and unions. Other stakeholders could be less fully empowered through councils, advisory at first but potentially given power to nominate or even elect directors” (p. 19).

In my opinion, too, advisory councils of suppliers could be helpful to improve listed companies. I prefer other forms of ESG engagement with suppliers, though. First, companies could regularly survey most of their direct and even some important indirect suppliers in a regular way regarding ESG topics. With regular surveys companies can find out how happy their suppliers are with the companies ESG activities and ESG-improvement ideas by suppliers can be collected.

Example (1): Surveys from Stakeholders Make Good Business Sense by Terrie Nolinske from the National Business Research Institute (no date) mentions The Body Shop and Michelin who use supplier surveys.

Example (2): AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard from Accountability as of 2015 “provides a … practical framework to implement stakeholder engagement and … Describes how to integrate stakeholder engagement with an organization’s governance, strategy, and operations”.

I specifically suggest to regularly ask suppliers the following questions: 1) “How satisfied are you with the environmental, social and corporate governance activities of company XYZ?” and 2) “Which environmental, social and corporate governance improvements do you suggest to company XYZ?”.

Systematic supplier engagement using ESG evaluations

In my view, even more important to improve the full supply chain ESG-profile is that companies regularly, broadly and independently evaluate the ESG-quality of their suppliers. Independent ESG-ratings can be very useful for that purpose, since they systematically cover many environmental, social and governance aspects.

I try to invest in the 30 most sustainable publicly listed companies globally (see Active or impact investing? – (, but even most of these companies do not have such a supplier ESG evaluation process. Here are the two best examples of my portfolios companies:

Supplier ESG evaluation (1): Watts Water Sustainability Report 2022 p. 63: “In 2022, we met our goal of reviewing suppliers representing approximately 30% of our global annual spend using the Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) ESG Rating Service. The service is a web-based ratings platform that assesses the ESG operations of suppliers across 70 key topics, including through peer benchmarking and using leading sustainability frameworks …. Through our expanded use of this tool, we gained increased insight into our suppliers’ sustainability practices, including that suppliers making up one-sixth of the global spend we assessed already have advanced ESG systems in place”.

Supplier ESG evaluation (2): CAFs 2022 Sustainability Report: “… the evaluation effort focuses on 349 target suppliers out of a total of approximately 6,000 suppliers. The evaluations are carried out by Ecovadis …. Ecovadis adapts the evaluation questionnaire to each supplier based on the locations in which it operates, its sector and its size to evaluate 21 aspects of sustainability alligned with the most demanding international norms, regulations and standards …. Suppliers‘ responses are evaluated by specialised analysts … This analysis results in a general rating with a maximum score of 100 points …. If the result of an evaluation does not meet the requirements established by CAF (a general score of 45 out of 100 in sustainability management), the supplier is required to implement an action plan to improve the weaknesses identified. If the supplier does not raise its assessment to acceptable levels or does not show a commitment to improve, it is audited by experts in the field” (p. 83).

“By the end of 2022, the activities … have assessed … 78% of the prioritised suppliers (118 business groups) …. The assessed suppliers have an average overall rating of 58.6 out of 100 … which is 13 percentage points higher than the average of all suppliers assessed by Ecovadis worldwide (45/100). In addition, 71% of CAF suppliers reassessed in the last year improved their general rating … As a result of these assessments it has also been identified that 2% of the Group’s total purchases are made from suppliers with average or lower sustainability management and an improvement plan has been agreed with all of them”(p. 84).

The picture of my blogpost summarises the results of the 2022 supplier assessment campaign of one of my portfolio companies: Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles (CAF Sustainability Report 2022, p. 85):

But even Watts Water and CAF currently only cover a relatively small share of their suppliers with these evaluations.

Better fewer suppliers?

Such a sustainability-oriented supplier evaluation approach could result in fewer and therefore more important suppliers.

Relevant research (5): A Supply Chain Sourcing Model at the Interface of Operations and Sustainability by Gang Li and Yu A. Xia as of Aug. 25th, 2023: “This research investigates … how to integrate sustainability with sourcing planning decisions and how to address the challenges associated with the integration, such as the balance between operational factors and sustainability factors and the quantitative evaluation of sustainability performance. … Our model suggests that while increasing the number of suppliers may cause additional sustainability risk in supply chain management, decreasing the supply base will decrease the production capacity and increase the risk of delivery delay. Therefore, a firm should carefully set up its global sourcing network with only a limited number of selected suppliers. This finding is particularly true when the focus of sourcing planning gradually moves away from decisions based solely on cost to those seeking excellence in both supply chain sustainability and cost performance“ (p. 32).

Supplier engagement: Powerful supplier ESG disclosures

I think that is very important to make the supplier engagement activities transparent. Only transparent activities can be controlled by stakeholders. It is very useful for stakeholders, too, to know the identities of the major suppliers.

Relevant research (6):  Green Image in Supply Chains: Selective Disclosure of Corporate Suppliers by Yilin Shi, Jing Wu, and Yu Zhang as of Sept. 9th, 2022 (#2015): “We uncover robust empirical evidence showing that listed firms selectively disclose environmentally friendly suppliers while selectively not disclosing suppliers with poor environmental performance, i.e., they conduct supply chain greenwashing. This is a prevalent behavior in the sample of more than 40 major countries or regions around the world that we study. … we find that customer firms that face more competitive pressure, care more about brand image and reputation, and have larger shares of institutional holdings are more likely to conduct such selective disclosure. … we find that information transparency reduces such behavior. Finally, we study the outcomes of selectively disclosing green suppliers and find that customers benefit from the practice in terms of sales, profitability, and market valuation“ (p. 22/24). 

A supplier engagement proposal and first engagement experiences

Based on my engagement policy (Shareholder engagement: 21 science based theses and an action plan – (, I try to make it as simple as possible for my portfolio companies to implement my suggestions. Comprehensive and regular supplier ESG surveys would be a rather simple and low-cost approach and I certainly encourage them.

Given the importance of the supply chain for ESG-topics and the risks of greenwashing, I especially recommend a more demanding supplier ESG-rating approach to all my portfolio companies. Specifically, I tell them: “Favoring suppliers with better overall/comprehensive ESG scores is probably the way to go. Reporting aggregated information such as percentage of suppliers with XYZ ESG-scores can be one first step regarding transparency”. I also inform them about current relevant research and the two examples mentioned above.

No supplier engagement results yet

I started my respective engagement activities only at the end of 2022. Some companies answered that they like my suggestions and plan to analyze them, but I cannot report implementations so far (compare 230831_FutureVest_Engagementreport-2830ab605a502648339b4f8f58fa2ee2dce539ef.pdf).

I am only a small investors and cooperative engagement can me more powerful. Unfortunately, my attempts for cooperative engagement with other investors have not been fruitful yet. One reason is that I could only find very few sustainable investment funds with a dedicated small-and midcap focus such as mine. With the few such funds I have typically very little company overlap. The asset managers and the shareholder organizations which I have asked so far want to cooperate with larger asset managers and not with such a small entity as mine.

Nevertheless, I will continue to ask my portfolio companies for such stakeholder engagements and the publication of their results. I am confident, that at least a few companies will adopt such surveys and evaluations and thus position themselves even more as ESG-leaders. Research such as “A Test of Stakeholder Governance” by Stavros Gadinis and Amelia Miazad as of Aug. 25th, 2021 is one of the reasons for optimism on my part. And, maybe, with publications such as this blog post, I can encourage other companies, investors etc. to support such broad stakeholder engagement activities as well.

Additional research:

Bringing ESG Accountability to Global Supply Chains as of Oct. 30th, 2023 by Ingrid Cornander, Michael Jonas, and Daniel Weise from The Boston Consulting Group

Active ESG Share: Illustration by Julie McMurrie from Pixabay showing a satisfaction rating

Active ESG share: Researchpost #136

Active ESG share: 26x new research on SDG, climate automation, family firms, greenium and green liquidity, anti-ESG, ESG-ratings, diversity, sustainability standards, disclosure, ESG pay, taxes, impact investing, and financial education by Martijn Cremers and many more (#: SSRN downloads as of July 27th, 2023)

Ecological and social research: Active ESG share

SDG deficits: The Sustainable Development Goals Report Special edition by the United Nations as of July 10th, 2023: “At the midpoint on our way to 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals are in deep trouble. An assessment of the around 140 targets for which trend data is available shows that about half of these targets are moderately or severely off track; and over 30 per cent have either seen no movement or regressed below the 2015 baseline. Under current trends, 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030, and only about one third of countries will meet the target to halve national poverty levels. Shockingly, the world is back at hunger levels not seen since 2005, and food prices remain higher in more countries than in the period 2015–2019. The way things are going, it will take 286 years to close gender gaps in legal protection and remove discriminatory laws. And in education, the impacts of years of underinvestment and learning losses are such that, by 2030, some 84 million children will be out of school and 300 million children or young people attending school will leave unable to read and write. … Carbon dioxide levels continue to rise – to a level not seen in 2 million years. At the current rate of progress, renewable energy sources will continue to account for a mere fraction of our energy supplies in 2030, some 660 million people will remain without electricity, and close to 2 billion people will continue to rely on polluting fuels and technologies for cooking. So much of our lives and health depend on nature, yet it could take another 25 years to halt deforestation, while vast numbers of species worldwide are threatened with extinction” (p. 4).

Climate automation: Labor Exposure to Climate Change and Capital Deepening by Zhanbing Xiao as of June 21st, 2023 (#31): “This paper looks into these risks and calls for more attention to the health issues of outdoor workers in the transition to a warmer era. … I find that high-exposure firms have higher capital-labor ratios, especially when their managers believe in climate change or when jobs are easy to automate. After experiencing shocks to physical (abnormally high temperatures) or regulatory (the adoption of the HIPS in California) risks, high-exposure firms switch to more capital-intensive production functions. …I also find that high-exposure firms respond to the shocks by innovating more, especially in technologies facilitating automation and reducing labor costs. … industry-wide evidence that labor exposure to climate change negatively affects job creation and workers’ earnings“ (p. 34/35).

Open or private data? Opening Up Big Data for Sustainability: What Role for Database Rights in the Fourth Industrial Revolution? by Guido Noto La Diega and Estelle Derclaye as of Nov. 8th, 2022 (#159): “… the real guardians of big data – the private corporations that are the key decision-makers in the 4IR (Sö: 4th Industrial Revolution) – are not doing enough to facilitate the sharing and re-use of data in the public interest, including the pursuit of climate justice. … While there may be instances where Intellectual Property (IP) reasons may justify some limitations in the access to and re-use of big data held by corporations, it is our view that, in general, IP should not be used to hinder re-use of data to pursue the SDGs. … First, we will illustrate the triple meaning of ‘data sustainability.’ Second, we will critically assess whether the database right (or ‘sui generis right’) can play a role in opening up corporate big data. Third, will imagine how a sustainable framework for sustainable data governance may look like. This focus is justified by the fact that the Database Directive, often accused of creating an unjustified monopoly on data, is in the process of being reformed by the yet-to-be-published Data Act” (abstract).

Clean family firms: Family Ownership and Carbon Emissions by Marcin Borsuk, Nicolas Eugster, Paul-Olivier Klein, and Oskar Kowalewski as of April 13th, 2023 (#159): “Family firms exhibit lower carbon emissions both direct and indirect when compared to non-family firms, suggesting a higher commitment to environmental protection by family owners. When using the 2015 Paris Agreement as a quasi-exogeneous shock, results show that family firms reacted more to the Agreement and recorded a further decline in their emissions. … Firms directly managed by the family experience a further reduction in their emissions. On the contrary, family firms with hired CEOs see an increase in emissions. We show that family firms record a higher level of R&D expenses, suggesting that they invest more in new technologies, which might contribute to reducing their environmental footprint. … Compared with non-family firms, family firms commit less to a reduction in their carbon emissions and display lower ESG scores“ (p. 26).

Green productivity: Environmental Management, Environmental Innovation, and Productivity Growth: A Global Firm-Level Investigation by Ruohan Wu as of June 18th, 2023 (#5): “… overall, environmental management and innovation both increase firm productivity but substitute for each other’s positive effects. Environmental management significantly increases productivity of firms that do not innovate, while environmental innovation significantly increases productivity of those without environmental management” (p. 30).

Good governance: Governance, Equity Issuance and Cash: New International Evidence by Sadok El Ghoul, Omrane Guedhami, Hyunseok Kim, and Jungwon Suh as of May 9th, 2023 (#18): “… we hypothesize that equity issuance is more frequent and growth-inducing under strong governance than under weak governance. We also hypothesize that cash added to or held by equity issuers creates greater value for shareholders under strong governance than under weak governance. Our empirical results support these hypotheses. Most remarkably, under weak governance, cash assets not only fail to create but destroy value for shareholders if they are in the possession of equity issuers instead of non-equity-issuers. Overall, strong institutions help small growth firms unlock their value through active equity issuance. On the flip side, weak institutions render an economy’s capital allocation inefficient by hindering value-creating equity issuance” (abstract).

ESG Ratings Reearch: Active ESG Share

MSCI et al. criticism? ESG rating agency incentives by Suhas A. Sridharan, Yifan Yan, and Teri Lombardi Yohn as of June 19th, 2023 (#96): “First, we report that firms with higher (lower) stock returns receive higher (lower) ratings from a rater with high index incentives relative to ratings from a rater with low index incentives. … Second, the rater with high index incentives provides higher ESG ratings for smaller firms with less ESG disclosure. … Third, we show that ESG index inclusion decisions are associated with stock returns. Collectively, our findings suggest that ESG data providers’ index licensing incentives influence their ESG ratings“ (p. 22).

Anti-ESG ESG: Conflicting Objectives of ESG Funds: Evidence from Proxy Voting by Tao Li, S. Lakshmi Naaraayanan, and Kunal Sachdeva as of February 6th, 2023 (#840): “ESG funds reveal their preference for superior returns by voting against E&S proposals when it is uncertain whether these proposals will pass. … active ESG funds and non-ESG focused institutions are more likely to cast votes against E&S proposals” (p. 26).

Non-ESG ESG? What Does ESG Investing Mean and Does It Matter Yet? by Abed El Karim Farroukh, Jarrad Harford, and David Shin as of June 26th, 2023 (#77): “… even ESG-oriented funds often vote against shareholder proposals related to E&S issues. When considering portfolio holdings and turnover, firms added to portfolios have better ESG scores than those dropped for both ESG and non-ESG funds. Nevertheless, portfolio additions and deletions do not improve fund scores on a value-weighted basis, and those scores closely track the ESG score of a value weighed portfolio of all public firms. This suggests that while investment filters based on ESG criteria may exist, they rarely bind. … we find that material E&S proposals receive more support, but only a small proportion (4%) of these proposals actually pass. Lastly, unconditional support from funds associated with families that have signed the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing (UN PRI) would lead to a significant change in the voting outcomes of numerous E&S proposals. Overall, our findings suggest that the effects of ESG investing are growing but remain relatively limited. E&S proposals rarely pass, and the ESG scores of funds declaring ESG preferences are not that different from the rest of funds“ (p. 26).

ESG divergence: ESG Ratings: Disagreement across Providers and Effects on Stock Returns by Giulio Anselmi and Giovanni Petrella as of Jan. 23rd, 2023 (#237): “This paper examines the ESG rating assigned by two providers, Refinitiv and Bloomberg, to companies listed in Europe and the United States in the period 2010-2020. … Companies with higher ESG scores have the following characteristics: larger size, lower credit risk, and lower equity returns. The ESG dimension does not affect stock returns, once risk factors have been taken into account. The divergence of opinions across rating providers is stable in Europe and increasing in the US. As for the individual components (E, S and G), in both markets we observe a wide and constant divergence of opinions for governance as well as a growing divergence over time for the social component“ (abstract).

Active ESG share: The complex materiality of ESG ratings: Evidence from actively managed ESG funds by K.J. Martijn Cremers, Timothy B. Riley, and Rafael Zambrana as of July 21st,2023 (#1440): “Our primary contribution is to introduce a novel metric of the importance of ESG information in portfolio construction, Active ESG Share, which measures how different the full distribution of the stock-level ESG ratings in a fund’s portfolio is from the distribution in the fund’s benchmark … We find no predictive relation between Active ESG Share and performance among non-ESG funds and a strong, positive predictive relation between Active ESG Share and performance among ESG funds” (p. 41). My comment: My portfolios are managed independently from benchmarks and typically show significant positive active ESG shares, see e.g. Active or impact investing? – (

Responsible investment research: Active ESG share

Stupid ban? Do Political Anti-ESG Sanctions Have Any Economic Substance? The Case of Texas Law Mandating Divestment from ESG Asset Management Companies by Shivaram Rajgopal, Anup Srivastava, and Rong Zhao as of March 16th,2023 (#303): “Politicians in Texas claim that the ban on ESG-heavy asset management firms would penalize companies that potentially harm the state’s interest by boycotting the energy sector. We find little economic substance behind such claims or the reasoning for their ban. Banned funds are largely indexers with portfolio tilts toward information technology and away from energy stocks. Importantly, banned funds carry significant stakes in energy stocks and hold 61% of the energy stocks held by the control sample of funds. The risk and return characteristics of banned funds are indistinguishable from those of control funds. A shift from banned funds to control funds is unlikely to result in a large shift of retirement investments toward the energy sector. The Texas ban, and similar follow-up actions by Republican governors and senior officials, appear to lack significant economic substance“ (p. 23).

Better proactive: Gender Inequality, Social Movement, and Company Actions: How Do Wall Street and Main Street React? by Angelyn Fairchild, Olga Hawn, Ruth Aguilera, Anatoli Colicevm and Yakov Bart as of May 25th,2023 (#44): “We analyze reactions to company actions among two stakeholder groups, “Wall Street” (investors) and “Main Street” (the general public and consumers). … We identify 632 gender-related company actions and uncover that Wall Street and Main Street are surprisingly aligned in their negative reaction to companies’ symbolic-reactive actions, as evidenced by negative cumulative abnormal returns, more negative social media and reduced consumer perceptions of brand equity” (abstract)

Less risk? Socially Responsible Investment: The Role of Narrow Framing by Yiting Chen and Yeow Hwee Chua as of Dec. 8th, 2022 (#54): “Through our experiment, subjects allocate endowments among one risk-free asset and two risky assets. … Relative to the control condition, this risky asset yields additional payments for subjects themselves in one treatment, and for charities in the remaining two treatments. Our results show that additional payments for oneself encourage risk taking behavior and trigger rebalancing across different risky assets. However, payments for charities solely induce rebalancing“ (abstract). My comment: This may explain the typically lower risk I have seen in my responsible portfolios and in some research regarding responsible investments.

Greenium model: Asset Pricing with Disagreement about Climate Risks by Thomas Lontzek, Walter Pohl, Karl Schmedders, Marco Thalhammer, and Ole Wilms as of July 19th, 2023 (#113): “We present an asset-pricing model for the analysis of climate financial risks. … In our model, as long as the global temperature is below the temperature threshold of a tipping point, climate-induced disasters cannot occur. Once the global temperature crosses that threshold, disasters become increasingly likely. The economy is populated by two types of investor with divergent beliefs about climate change. Green investors believe that the disaster probability rises considerably faster than brown investors do. … The model simultaneously explains several empirical findings that have recently been documented in the literature. … according to our model past performance is not a good predictor of future performance. While realized returns of green stocks have gone up in response to negative climate news, expected returns have gone down simultaneously. In the absence of further exogenous shocks and climate-induced disasters, our model predicts higher future returns for brown stocks. However, if temperatures continue to rise and approach the tipping point threshold, the potential benefits of investments to slow down climate change increase significantly. In this scenario, our model predicts a significant increase in the market share of green investors and the carbon premium“ (p. 39/40).

More green liquidity: Unveiling the Liquidity Greenium: Exploring Patterns in the Liquidity of Green versus Conventional Bonds by Annalisa Molino, Lorenzo Prosperi, and Lea Zicchino as of July 16th, 2023 (#14): “… we investigate the relationship between liquidity and green bond label using a sample of green bonds issued globally. … our findings suggest that green bonds are more liquid than comparable ordinary bonds. … The difference is large and statistically significant for bonds issued by governments or supranationals, while it is not significantly different from zero for corporates, unless the company operates in the energy sector. … companies that certify their commitment to use the proceeds for green projects or enjoy a strong environmental reputation can also benefit from higher liquidity in the secondary market. … the liquidity of ECB-eligible green bonds improves relative to similar conventional bonds, possibly because they become more attractive to banks with access to ECB funding. Finally, we find that the liquidity of conventional bonds issued by green bond issuers improves significantly in the one-year period following the green announcement“ (p. 18/19).

Impact investment and shareholder engagement: Active ESG share

Standard overload: Penalty Zones in International Sustainability Standards: Where Improved Sustainability Doesn’t Pay by Nicole Darnall, Konstantinos Iatridis, Effie Kesidou, and Annie Snelson-Powell as of June 19th, 2023 (#17): “International sustainability standards (ISSs), such as the ISO standards, the United Nations Global Compact, and the Global Reporting Initiative framework, are externally certified process requirements or specifications that are designed to improve firms’ sustainability” (p. 1). “Adopting an International Sustainability Standard (ISS) helps firms improve their sustainability performance. It also acts as a credible market “signal” that legitimizes firms’ latent sustainability practices while improving their market value. … However, beyond a tipping point of 2 ISSs, firms’ market gains decline, even though their sustainability performance continues to improve until a tipping point of 3 ISSs“ (abstract).

Good ESG disclosure (1): Mandatory ESG Disclosure, Information Asymmetry, and Litigation Risk: Evidence from Initial Public Offerings by Thomas J. Boulton as of April 7th, 2023 (#168): “If ESG disclosure improves the information environment or reduces litigation risk for IPO firms, IPOs should be underpriced less when ESG disclosure is mandatory. I test this prediction in a sample of 15,456 IPOs issued in 36 countries between 1998 and 2018. … I find underpricing is lower for IPOs issued in countries that mandate ESG disclosure. From an economic perspective, my baseline results indicate that first-day returns are 15.9 percentage points lower in the presence of an ESG disclosure mandate. The typical IPO firm raises approximately 105.93 million USD in their IPO. Thus, the implied impact of an ESG disclosure mandate is an additional 16.8 million in proceeds. … I find that their impact on underpricing is stronger in countries with lower-quality disclosure environments. … a significant benefit of ESG disclosure mandates is that they lower the cost of capital for the young, high-growth firms that issue IPOs” (p. 27-29).

Good ESG disclosure (2): Environmental, Social and Governance Disclosure and Value Generation: Is the Financial Industry Different? by Amir Gholami, John Sands, and Habib Ur Rahman as of July 18th, 2023 (#24): “The results show that the overall association between corporate ESG performance disclosure and companies’ profitability is strong and positive across all industry sectors. … All corporate ESG performance disclosure elements (ENV, SOC and GOV) are positively associated with corporate profitability for companies that operate in the financial industry. Remarkably, for companies operating in non-financial sectors, except for corporate governance, there is no significant association between corporate environmental and social elements and a company’s profitability“ (p. 12).

Climate pay effects: Climate Regulatory Risks and Executive Compensation: Evidence from U.S. State-Level SCAP Finalization by Qiyang He, Justin Hung Nguyen, Buhui Qiu, and Bohui Zhang as of April 13th, 2023 (#131): “Different state governments in the U.S. have begun to adopt climate action plans, policies, and regulations to prepare for and combat the significant threats of climate change. The finalization of these climate action plans, policies, and regulations in a state results in an adaptation plan— the SCAP. … we find that SCAP finalization leads residents in that state to pay more attention to climate-related topics. Also, it leads firms headquartered in that state to have higher perceived climate regulatory risks … Further analyses show a reduction of total CEO pay of about 5% for treated firms headquartered in the SCAP-adopting state relative to control firms headquartered in non-adopting states. The negative treatment effect also holds for non-CEO executive compensation. … the shareholders of treated firms reduce their CEO’s profit-chasing and risk-taking incentives, probably because these activities will likely incur more future environmental compliance costs. Instead, CEO pay is more likely to be linked to corporate environmental performance, that is, the treated firms adopt environmental contracting to redirect CEO incentives from financial gains to environmental responsibility” (p. 27/28).

Stakeholder issues: Corporate Tax Disclosure by Jeffrey L. Hoopes, Leslie Robinson, and Joel Slemrod as of July 17th, 2023 (#47): “Policies that require, or recommend, disclosure of corporate tax information are becoming more common throughout the world, as are examples of tax-related information increasingly influencing public policy and perceptions. In addition, companies are increasing the voluntary provision of tax-related information. We describe those trends and place them within a taxonomy of public and private tax disclosure. We then review the academic literature on corporate tax disclosures and discuss what is known about their effects. One key takeaway is the paucity of evidence that many tax disclosures mandated with the aim of increasing tax revenue have produced additional revenue. We highlight many crucial unanswered questions …” (abstract). My comment: Nevertheless I suggest to focus on tax disclosure/payment regarding community/government stakeholder engagement see Shareholder engagement: 21 science based theses and an action plan – ( rather than on donations or other indicators.

Impact investment status quo: Impact Investing by Ayako Yasuda as of July 23rd, 2023 (#62): “Impact investing is a class of investments that are designed to meet the non-pecuniary preferences of investors (or beneficiaries) and aim to generate a positive externality actively and causally through their ownership and/or governance of the companies they invest in. Impact investing emerged as a new branch of responsible, sustainable or ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investment universe in the last few decades. In this article, we provide a definition of impact investing, review the extant literature, and discuss suggestions for future research” (abstract).

Political engagement: Collaborative investor engagement with policymakers: Changing the rules of the game? by Camila Yamahaki and Catherine Marchewitz as of June 25th, 2023 (#44): “A growing number of investors are engaging with policymakers on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, but little academic research exists on investor policy engagement. … We identify a trend that investors engage with sovereigns to fulfil their fiduciary duty, improve investment risk management, and create an enabling environment for sustainable investments. We encourage future research to further investigate these research propositions and to analyze potential conflicts of interest arising from policy engagement in emerging market jurisdictions” (abstract).

General investment research

Good diversity: Institutional Investors and Echo Chambers: Evidence from Social Media Connections and Political Ideologies by Nicholas Guest, Brady Twedt, and Melina Murren Vosse as of June 26th, 2023 (#62): “… we measure the ideological diversity of institutional investors’ surroundings using the social media connections and political beliefs of the communities where they reside” (p. 24/25). “Finally, firms whose investors have more likeminded networks exhibit substantially lower future returns. Overall, our results suggest that connections to people with diverse beliefs and information sets can improve the financial decision making of more sophisticated investors, leading to more efficient markets (abstract).

Good education: The education premium in returns to wealth by Elisa Castagno, Raffaele Corvino, and Francesco Ruggiero as of July 6th, 2023 (#17): “… we define as education premium the extra-returns to wealth earned by college-graduated individuals compared to their non-college graduated peers. We find that the education premium is sizeable … We find that an important fraction of the premium is due to the higher propensity for risk-taking and investing in the stock market of better educated individuals … we document a significantly higher propensity for well-diversified portfolios as well as a higher persistence in stock market participation over time of better educated individuals, and we show that both mechanisms positively and significantly contribute to the education premium” (p. 25).

Finance-Machines? Financial Machine Learning by Bryan T. Kelly and Dacheng Xiu as of July 26th, 2023 (#12): “We emphasize the areas that have received the most research attention to date, including return prediction, factor models of risk and return, stochastic discount factors, and portfolio choice. Unfortunately, the scope of this survey has forced us to limit or omit coverage of some important financial machine learning topics. One such omitted topic that benefits from machine learning methods is risk modeling. … Closely related to risk modeling is the topic of derivatives pricing. … machine learning is making inroads in other fields such as corporate finance, entrepreneurship, household finance, and real estate“ (p. 132/133). My comment: I do not expect too much from financial maschine learning. Simple approaches to investing often work better than pseudo-optimised ones, see e.g. Pseudo-optimierte besser durch robuste Geldanlagen ersetzen – Responsible Investment Research Blog (


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 28 of 30 companies engagedFutureVest Equity Sustainable Development Goals R – DE000A2P37T6 – A2P37T

ESG Beliefs: Piture by Yolanda Diaz Tarrago from Pixabay shows green world with fruits

ESG beliefs: Researchpost #124

ESG beliefs: 10x new research on biodiversity, subsidies, governance, greenium, ESG beliefs, divestments, taxonomy reporting, fund commissions, SVB, private asset platforms etc. by Theresa Kuchler, Johannes Stroebel, Christian Klein and many more (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on April 19th, 2023)

Ecologial and social research

Quantified biodiversity risks: Biodiversity Risk by Stefano Giglio, Theresa Kuchler, Johannes Stroebel, and Xuran Zeng as of April 4th, 2023 (#8): “The goal of this paper is to introduce measures of aggregate biodiversity risk as well as measures of firms’ and industries’ exposures to these risks; to connect and validate the two; to study the pricing of this risk in financial markets; and to publicly release our biodiversity exposure measures at to facilitate more research on this important topic“ (p. 28).

Dubious subsidies: Green Technology Adoption, Complexity, and the Role of Public Policy: A Simple Theoretical Model by Sanjit Dhami as of April 13th (#9): “We present a simple model of technology choice by heterogeneous firms … We illustrate the extreme unpredictability of the final outcome, and consider the role of public policy in the form of taxes and subsidies in influencing the long-run expected outcome. Our model … highlights the challenges and limitations of public policy in such scenarios“ (p. 24).

continues on page #2 fund evaluation instead of EU taxonomy reporting

Taxonomy reporting: Can companies boost their share-prices?

Taxonomy reporting: Many investors want to invest responsibly. Investment funds which want to attract such investors should report their share of responsible investments.

Slow regulatory details

In the EU, so far only two (climate change mitigation and adaption) of the predefined six environmental categories and zero social categories have been officially defined. Thus, reported responsible investments are limited to those two climate categories.

The good news: Regulation is finally advancing and last week the EU finally published a call for feedback on the 4 remaining green categories: Sustainable use and protection of water and marine resources, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and control and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems (see Sustainable investment – EU environmental taxonomy (

Taxonomy reporting is scarce and of little meaning

I want to invest 100% responsibly and I think that my fund portfolio is close to that goal (see e.g. my FutureVest fund in and Artikel 9 Fonds: Kleine Änderungen mit großen Wirkungen? – ( My fund mainly focuses on social topics but social investment cannot officially be reported as responsible.

The auditors of my fund – one of the top 4 firms – only allows to count revenues as responsible for my fund if they have been officially declared by my investment companies as EU taxonomy aligned. Specifically, the auditors do not accept responsible investment estimates, even if they are provided by well recognized third parties such as MSCI. My fund only has a low share of EU-based investments. The few EU companies who focus on the first two defined green categories of the EU Taxonomy tend to report taxonomy aligned revenues. Others, especially non-EU based companies, do not. 

Therefore, I agreed to officially define only 5% as the “responsible” minimum investment of my fund (see for the offical documents). Other suppliers of investment funds follow a similar approach. Therefore, (EU-)investors who look for responsible investments can often only find funds with low minimum targets for such investments.

For all listed companies, taxonomy reporting can pay off fast

Companies are typically free to report EU taxonomy-aligned investments. In doing so, they can attract additional investments by the many funds who want to sell to European investors. That could increase their share prices for very low additional reporting costs.

In any case, investment providers should be allowed to estimate green and especially social investments to give investors a better view of overall responsible investments. Even without detailed regulation, such estimates are nor riskless for data- and investment providers. Many organizations and individuals have started to observe and report potential green and social washing.

Only once all green and social goals have been clearly defined and EU-based companies have to report these revenues, estimates for such revenues regarding EU-based companies could be forbidden.

Greenium research: Picture from Pixabay shows forest with sun in the background

Greenium research and more: Researchposting 117

Greenium research: 25x new research on green subsidies, nature investing, populism, financial crime, ESG regulation, climate agreements, ESG scandals, transition, institutional investors, greenium, CDS, green loans, voting, multi-assets, gold, commodities, real estate, and private equity

Social and ecological research

Good green subsidies? Environmental Subsidies to Mitigate Net-Zero Transition Costs by Eric Jondeau, Gregory Levieuge, Jean-Guillaume Sahuc, and Gauthier Vermandel as of Jan. 13th, 2023 (#298): “The implementation of a pure carbon tax policy to reduce CO2 emissions would result in substantial GDP losses because firms would divert resources to invest in environmental goods and services that are provided by an immature and low-competition sector. Mitigating the induced recession is possible through a massive subsidization of EGSS (Environmental Goods and Services Sector). By reducing labor costs for both entrants and incumbents operating in this sector, such a policy would accelerate its development and offer a large reduction in the selling price of abatement technologies. … Eventually, the GDP loss would be reduced from $266 trillion between 2019 and 2060 to $145 trillion. Importantly, reducing entry costs in EGSS would accelerate the transition and reduce the GDP loss mainly at the beginning of the transition” (p. 41/42).

More public spending? Nature as an asset class or public good? The economic case for increased public investment to achieve biodiversity targets by Katie Kedward, Sophus zu Ermgassen, Josh Ryan-Collins, and Sven Wunder as of Dec. 28th, 2022 (#671): “Financial instruments for attracting large-scale private finance into conservation often incur high transaction costs to ensure ecological effectiveness, which potentially conflict with institutional investors’ need for competitive returns, market efficiency, and investment scalability. … Strategies to mobilize investor involvement by using public funds to ‘de-risk’ nature investments may not be as promising as assumed, given the costly exercise required to render nature markets conventionally ‘investible’. … Public financing is often more suitable to incentivize the imminent bundled nature of ecosystem services provided” (abstract).

Money crimes (1): Financial Crime: A Literature Review by Monica Violeta Achim, Sorin Nicolae Borlea, Robert W. McGee, Gabriela-Mihaela Mureşan, Ioana Lavinia Safta (Plesa) and Viorela-Ligia Văidean as of Dec. 19th, 2022 (#52): “This chapter reviews the literature on some of the subfields of economic and financial crime. Among the topics discussed are tax evasion, bribery, money laundering and corruption in general. The determinants of financial crime are also identified. Several demographic variables are also examined to determine whether gender, age, education, income level, religion, geographic region, size of city, etc., are statistically significant. Nearly 150 studies are mentioned“.

Money crimes (2): Financial Crime: Conclusions and Recommendations by Monica Violeta Achim, Sorin Nicolae Borlea, Mihai Gaicu, Robert W. McGee, Gabriela-Mihaela Mureşan, and Viorela-Ligia Văidean as of Dec. 21st, 2022 (#14): “This chapter discusses the conclusions and recommendations resulting from the study. A series of infographs is included to summaries the results of the study …” (abstract).

Complex ESG compliance: EU Sustainable Finance: Complex Rules and Compliance Problems by Félix E. Mezzanotte as of Feb. 12th, 2023 (#100): “Complexity is first identified in MiFID II rules covering the legal definition of sustainability preferences and the suitability requirements applicable to asset managers and investment advisors. … complex rules have been found to promote noncompliance. The underlying rationale, supported by this article, is that complex rules amplify the compliance burdens faced by companies” (p. 2).

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, use separate E, S and G best-in-universe minimum ratings and 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

… continues on page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on February 13th, 2023):

Pixabay picture of trees in Celle by Gerd Funke as symbol for green illusion

Green illusion: Researchblogposting #108

Green illusion: 15x new research on social media, Scope 3, CSR, ESG bonifications, sovereigns, pensions, securitization, microfinance, trend-following, IQ, VCs and fintech by Jonas Heese, Andreas Hoepner, Fabiola Schneider et al.

Ecological and social research: Green illusion

Good social media: The Monitoring Role of Social Media by Jonas Heese and Joseph Pacelli as of Nov. 22nd (#104): “This paper examines the effect of social media on firm misconduct through multiple empirical strategies. … Mobile broadband access, and 3G internet in particular, is a key driver of growth in the use of social media applications. Our results indicate that facilities reduce violations by 1.8% and penalties by 13% in the three-year period following the introduction of 3G. … our findings suggest that social media is an effective monitor of corporate misconduct” (p. 35/36). My comment: With my article 9 fund I invest in telecom infrastructure companies (i.a.)

Green illusion? Beyond Scope 3: Modelling Resilience to a Lower-Emissions Future by Debarshi Basu, Gerald T Garvey, Shuangzi Guo, and Ryan Zamani from Blackrock as of Dec. 6th, 2022 (#31): “We … compute the full supply-chain adjusted carbon footprint of 57 industries in 54 countries … We find a significant full-scope carbon footprint of industries such as Finance and Health Care despite their small direct emissions. At the other end, high-emitting industries such as Air Transport, Retailing, and Rubber support a wide range of otherwise low-carbon downstream activities and appear resilient to a low carbon transition. To test the model with historical data, we use high historical energy prices to proxy more stringent carbon regulation. Industries that our model classifies as resilient perform equally across high and low energy prices. By contrast, industries that are currently classified as green based on naïve emissions significantly underperform in times of high energy costs” (abstract).

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.

Please go to page 2 (# indicates the number of SSRN downloads on December 13th):

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):

ESG regulation: Das Bild von Thomas Hartmann zeigt Blumen in Celle

ESG regulation and more (Researchblog #101)

ESG regulation: >15x new research on climate, regulation, (un)sustainable funds, SDGs, greenium, ESG reporting, voting, wealth, buy-and-hold, private equity, private real estate and AI by Roman Inderst, Andreas Hoepner et al.

Ecological and social and governance research: ESG regulation

Climate-heuristics: Harnessing the power of communication and behavior science to enhance society’s response to climate change: A white paper for comment by Edward Maibach, Sri Saahitya Uppalapati, Margaret Orr, and Jagadish Thaker as of October 5th, 2022 (#181): “… we provide an evidence-based heuristic for guiding efforts to share science-based information about climate change with decisionmakers and the public at large. … We .. also provide a second evidence-based heuristic for helping people and organizations to change their climate change-relevant behaviors, should they decide to. These two guiding heuristics can help scientists and other to harness the power of communication and behavior science in service of enhancing society’s response to climate change” (abstract).

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 October 25th):