Archiv der Kategorie: Voting

Responsible Derivatives illustration shows manager juggler

Responsible derivatives? Researchpost #150

Responsible derivatives: 10x new research on migration, ESG labels, biodiversity measurement, effective shareholder voting, responsible investing mandates, green derivatives, structured products, stock market models, IPOs and alternative investments (# shows the number of full paper SSRN downloads as of Nov. 2nd, 2023)

Social and ecological research (responsible derivatives)

Migration policy backlash: The Effect of Foreign Aid on Migration: Global Micro Evidence from World Bank Projects by Andreas Fuchs, Andre Groeger, Tobias Heidland and Lukas Wellner as of Oct. 2023: “Our short-term results indicate that the mere announcement of a World Bank aid project significantly decreases migration preferences. We find similar effects for project disbursements, which also reduce asylum seeker flows to the OECD in the short run. This reduction seems related to enhanced optimism about the economic prospects in aid recipient provinces and improved confidence in national institutions. In the longer run, aid projects increase incomes and alleviate poverty. The negative effect of aid on asylum seeker flows fades out, and regular migration increases. … There is no evidence in our study that targeting the “root causes” of migration through aid on average increases irregular migration or asylum seeker numbers. … In the short run, aid projects reduce migration preferences and asylum seeker flows to the OECD from Latin America, MENA, and non-fragile Sub-Saharan African countries. However, we do not find a significant effect in fragile countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, which are an important source of irregular migration to Europe. For policymakers, a key takeaway from our study is that aid projects do not keep people from migrating from the 37 most hostile environments, but they can be effective in more stable environments” (p. 37/38).

Sustainable investing research (responsible derivatives)

Rating beats label: Talk vs. Walk: Lessons from Silent Sustainable Investing of Mutual Funds by Dimitrios Gounopoulos, Haoran Wu, and Binru Zhao as of Oct. 26th, 2023 (#81): “… in the Morningstar fund sustainability rating landscape, most funds with top ratings do not self-label as ESG funds (“silent” sustainable investing). … We find that investors tend to overemphasize ESG labels and often overlook sustainability rating signals in the market. More importantly, we show that “silent” funds with high sustainability ratings have comparable return performance to ESG funds and that high sustainability ratings have a stronger influence on mitigating fund risks than the ESG label” (p. 33/34). My comment: In general, I agree. But the type of ESG rating used is also very important. Watch out for my next opinion blogpost on Apple, Amazon, Alphabet etc. and their ESG-ratings

Biodiversity confusion: Critical review of methods and models for biodiversity impact assessment and their applicability in the LCA context by Mattia Damiani, Taija Sinkko, Carla Caldeira, Davide Tosches, Marine Robuchon, and Serenella Sala as of Nov. 17th, 2022 (#139): “… The five main direct drivers of biodiversity loss are climate change, pollution, land and water use, overexploitation of resources and the spread of invasive species. …  this article aims to critically analyse all methods for biodiversity impact assessment … 54 methods were reviewed and 18 were selected for a detailed analysis … There is currently no method that takes into account all five main drivers of biodiversity loss” (abstract).

Explain to change: Voting Rationales by Roni Michaely, Silvina Rubio, and Irene Yi as of Aug. 16th, 2023 (#279): “…studying voting rationales of institutional investors from across the world, for votes cast in US companies’ annual shareholder meetings between July 2013 and June 2021. … institutional investors vote against directors mainly because of (lack of) independence and board diversity. We also find evidence of some well-known reasons for opposing directors, such as tenure, busyness, or firm governance. Institutional investors are increasingly voting against directors due to concerns over environmental and social issues. Our results indicate that voting rationales are unlikely to capture proxy advisors’ rationales, but rather, the independent assessment of institutional investors. … We find that companies that receive a higher proportion of voting rationales related to board diversity (or alternatively, excessive tenure or busy directors) increase the fraction of females on board in the following year (reduce average tenure or director busyness), and the results are driven by companies that receive high shareholder dissent. … our results suggest that disclosure of voting rationales is an effective, low-cost strategy that institutional investors can use to improve corporate governance in their portfolio companies“ (p. 31/32).

Impact impact? Evaluating the Impact of Portfolio Mandates by Jack Favilukis, Lorenzo Garlappi, and  Raman Uppal as of Oct. 2nd, 2023 (#56): “… we examine the impact of portfolio (Sö: e.g. ESG or impact investing) mandates on the allocation of physical capital in a general-equilibrium economy with production and heterogenous investors. … we find that the effect of portfolio mandates on the allocation of physical capital across sectors can be substantial. In contrast, the impact on the equilibrium cost of capital and Sharpe ratio of firms in the two sectors remains negligible, consistent with existing evidence. Thus, a key takeaway of our analysis is that judging the effectiveness of portfolio mandates by studying their effect on the cost of capital of affected firms can be misleading: small differences in the cost of capital across sectors can be associated with significant differences in the allocation of physical capital across these sectors” (p. 31/32). My comment: With my ESG and SDG investing mandates I want to invest as responsibly as possible and hope to achieve similar performances as less responsible investments. With this approach, there is no need to try to prove lower cost of capital for responsible companies.

Responsible derivatives? Climate Risk and Financial Markets: The Case of Green Derivatives by Paolo Saguato as of Oct. 30th, 2023 (#37): “The post-2008 derivatives markets are more transparent and more collateralized than before. However, this regulatory framework might impose excessive regulatory and compliance costs to derivatives market which would undermine market incentives and hamper financial innovation in the green derivatives. … Right now, bespoke OTC sustainable derivatives are the predominant structures in the market, but as soon as green assets and sustainability benchmark standardization will become the norm, then exchange-traded green derivatives might start to develop more strongly, providing a valuable and reliable support to a green transition” (p. 23).

Other investment research

Responsible derivatives? Structured retail products: risk-sharing or risk-creation? by Otavio Bitu, Bruno Giovannetti, and Bernardo Guimaraes as of October 31, 2023 (#151): “Financial institutions have been issuing more complex structured retail products (SRPs) over time. Is risk-sharing the force behind this financial innovation? Is this innovation welfare-increasing? We propose a simple test for that. If a given type of SRP is not based on risk-sharing and pours new unbacked risk into the financial system, we should observe an unusual negative relation between risk and expected return offered to buyers across products of that type. We test this hypothesis using a sample of 1,847 SRPs and find that a relevant type of SRP (Autocallables) creates new unbacked risk” (abstract).

Irrational finance professional? Mental Models of the Stock Market by Peter Andre, Philipp Schirmer, and Johannes Wohlfart as of Oct. 31st, 2023 (#74): “Financial markets are governed by return expectations, which agents must form in light of their deeper understanding of these markets. Understanding agents’ mental models is thus critical to understanding how return expectations are formed. … We document a widespread tendency among households from the general population, retail investors, and financial professionals to draw inferences from stale news regarding future company earnings to a company’s prospective stock return, which is absent among academic experts. This striking difference in their return forecasts results from differences in agents’ understanding of financial markets. Experts’ reasoning aligns with standard asset pricing logic and a belief in efficient markets. By contrast, households and financial professionals appear to employ a naive model that directly associates higher future earnings with higher future returns, neglecting the offsetting effect of endogenous price adjustments. This non-equilibrium reasoning stems from a lack of familiarity with the concept of equilibrium rather than inattention to trading or price responses. … Our findings – that mental models differ across economic agents and that they drastically differ from standard economic theories among important groups of households and financial professionals who advise and trade for these households – are likely to have significant implications. For example, our findings can provide a new perspective on previously documented anomalies in return expectations and trading decisions” (p. 30/31).

M&A not IPO: IPOs on the decline: The role of globalization by M. Vahid Irani, Gerard Pinto, and Donghang Zhang as of Oct. 2nd, 2023 (#37): “Using the average percentage of foreign sales as a proxy for the level of globalization of the U.S. economy or a particular industry, we find that the decline in U.S. initial public offerings (IPOs), particularly small-firm IPOs, is significantly positively associated with the level of globalization at both the macroeconomy and the industry levels. We also find that increased globalization of an industry makes a U.S. private firm in the industry more likely to choose M&A sellouts over IPOs as an exit strategy”“ (abstract).

Unattractive Alternatives: Endowments in the Casino: Even the Whales Lose at the Alts Table by Richard M. Ennis as of Oct. 27th, 2023 (#516): “For more than two decades, so-called alternatives—hedge funds, private-market real estate, venture capital, leveraged buyouts, private energy, infrastructure, and private debt—have been the principal focus of institutional investors. Such investments now constitute an average of 60% of the assets of large endowments and 30% of public pension funds. … … endowments—across the board—have underperformed passive investment alternatives by economically wide margins since the GFC (Sö: Global Financial Crisis) … We observe that large endowments have recorded greater returns than smaller ones because they take greater risk (have a greater equity exposure), not as a result of their alt investing. In fact, their greater returns have occurred in spite of their heavier weighting of alt investments. Alt-investing has not been a source of diversification of stock market risk. … I estimate that institutional investors pay approximately 10 times as much for their alts as they do for traditional stock-bond strategies… despite exhibiting some skill with alts, large endowments would have been better off leaving them alone altogether” (p. 8/9). My comment: See Alternatives: Thematic replace alternative investments (


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Soccer picture from Blue Hat Graphics from Pixabay as Impact Strategies illustration

Impact strategies: Researchpost #142

Impact strategies: 12x new research on AI, education, diversity, insiders, compensation, impact investing, collaborative engagement, voting and analysts by Olaf Weber and many more (#: SSRN downloads as of Sept. 7th, 2023)

Social and ecological research (Impact strategies)

Good and bad AI: How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love AI: Analyzing the Rapid Evolution of Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (GPT) and its Impacts on Law, Business, and Society by Scott J. Shackelford, Lawrence J. Trautman, and W. Gregory Voss as of Sept. 6th, 2023 (#108): “There is ample reason to believe that novel AI-driven capabilities hold considerable potential to drive practical solutions to address many of the world’s major challenges such as cancer, climate change, food production, healthcare, and poverty. … Even so, there are equally significant warning signs of serious consequences, including the threat of eliminating humanity. These warnings should not be ignored“ (p. 94). My comment: For responsible investing see How can sustainable investors benefit from artificial intelligence? – GITEX Impact – Leading ESG Event 2023

Educational tools: The Emergence of An Educational Tool Industry: Opportunities and Challenges For Innovation in Education by Dominique Foray and Julio Raffo as of May 4th, 2023 (#16): “… an educational tool industry has emerged; that is to say a population of small firms is inventing and commercialising instruction (mainly ICT-based) technologies. … However the main commercial target of these companies is not the huge K12 public school system. This market does not satisfy most conditions for attracting and sustaining a strong entrepreneurial activity in the tool business. … But other “smaller” markets seem to be sufficiently attractive for entrepreneurs and this connection explains to a certain extent why we have observed the patent explosion and some increase in the number of firms specialised in the tool business“ (p. 19/20).

ESG investment research (Impact strategies)

Unflexible Diversity? Are Firms Sacrificing Flexibility for Diversity and Inclusion? by Hoa Briscoe-Tran as of Aug.14th, 2023 (#181): “I analyze data from thousands of companies dating back to 2008 and find that diverse and inclusive firms (D&I firms) tend to have lower operating flexibility. Exploration of mechanisms suggest that D&I firms have lower operating flexibility due to their slower operating efficiency in their response to unexpected economic shocks“ (p. 25).

Bad competition? Competitive Pressure and ESG by Vesa Pursiainen, Hanwen Sun, and Yue Xiang as of Sept. 1st, 2023 (#95): “… Our results suggest that a firm’s exposure to competition is negatively associated with its ESG performance. … The effect of product market competition on ESG performance is higher for firms that are more financially constrained and in more capital-intensive industries. Taken together, our findings suggest that companies face a trade-off in investing in ESG versus other investment needs …” (p. 18).

Bad insiders: Executive Ownership and Sustainability Performance by Marco Ghitti, Gianfranco Gianfrate, and Edoardo Reccagni as of Oct. 19th, 2022 (#167): “Our results indicate that executive shareholding is negatively associated with corporate E&S (Sö: Environmental and social) performance, indicating that the pursuit of non-financial returns is penalized when executives are more financially vested in the company. … We analogously observe that inside trading intensity is inversely associated with the sustainability footprint, thus confirming that when executives’ primary focus is on financial gains, E&S activities diminish. … we use an exogenous shock in capital gains taxation that specifically affected executive ownership in US public companies. The quasi-natural experiment confirms that it is the degree of executive ownership that affects the E&S footprint“ (p. 12).

CSR compensation: Empirical Examination of the Direct and Moderating Role of Corporate Social Responsibility in Top Executive Compensation by Mahfuja Malik and Eunsup Daniel Shim as of Aug. 9th, 2023 (#18): “Using a sample of 4,193 firm-year observations and 1,318 public U.S. firms, we find that CSR (Sö: Corporate social responsibility) performance positively moderates the relationship between firms’ total and long-term compensation, along with its direct association with CEO compensation. However, firms’ separate CSR report disclosures are not associated with CEO compensation. … we find that CSR has no moderating role in the relationship between CEO compensation and accounting-based performance. Interestingly, we find that CSR performance plays a moderating role in weakening the positive relationship between executive compensation and firm size“ (p. 18/19). My comment: see Wrong ESG bonus math? Content-Post #188 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Costly greenwashing: Does Greenwashing Pay Off? Evidence from the Corporate Bond Market by Nazim Hussain, Shuo Wang, Qiang Wu, and Cheng (Colin) Zeng as of Sept. 7th, 2023 (#127): “Using 3,810 public bonds issued by U.S. firms, we find a positive relationship between greenwashing and the cost of bonds. We identify the causal relation by using the Federal Trade Commission’s 2012 regulatory intervention to curb misleading environmental claims as an exogenous shock to greenwashing. We also find a more pronounced relation between greenwashing and the cost of bonds for firms whose credit rating is adjacent to the investment/speculative borderline, firms within environmentally sensitive industries, and firms with opaque information environments. Moreover, we show that greenwashing leads to higher environmental litigation costs and a higher chance of rating disagreements among credit rating agencies … “ (abstract).

Impact strategies research

Green claims: Market review of environmental impact claims of retail investment funds in Europe by Nicola Stefan Koch, David Cooke, Samia Baadj, and Maximilien Boyne from the 2 Degree Investing Initiative as of August 2023: “27% of all in scope funds were associated with environmental impact claims. No fund with an environmental impact claim could sufficiently substantiate its claim according to the updated UCPD Guidance indicating a substantial potential legal risk. … Of the environmental impact claims deemed to be false or generic, there were 3x more appearing in Art 9 fund marketing materials compared to Art 8 fund marketing materials. … Most environmental impact claims deemed false equated “company impact” with “investor impact”, most environmental impact claims deemed unclear were not substantiated by sufficient information and most environmental impact claims deemed generic were fund names including the term “impact” with insufficient additional information” (p. 3). My comment: see Shareholder engagement: 21 science based theses and an action plan – (

Impact strategies? New bottle or new label? Distinguishing impact investing from responsible and ethical investing by Truzaar Dordi, Phoebe Stephens, Sean Geobey, and Olaf Weber as of July 27th, 2023: “… how does the subfield of impact investing differentiate itself from more established ethical and responsible investing … Adopting a combination of bibliometric and content analyses, we identify four distinct features of impact investing – positive impact targeting, novelty of governance structures, long time horizons, and the importance of philanthropy” (abstract). … “This differs from responsible investing, which mainly relies on modern portfolio theory and capital pricing models for research …” (p. 22). My comment: see No engagement-washing! Opinion-Post #207 – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

Engagement impact strategies: Tailor-to-Target: Configuring Collaborative Shareholder Engagements on Climate Change by Rieneke Slager, Kevin Chuah, Jean-Pascal Gond, Santi Furnari, and Mikael Homanen as of June 15th, 2023: “We study collaborative shareholder engagements on climate change issues. These engagements involve coalitions of investors pursuing behind-the-scenes dialogue to encourage target firms to adopt environmental sustainability practices. … we investigate how four coalition composition levers (coalition size, shareholding stake, experience, local access) combine to enable or hinder engagement success. We find that successful coalitions use four configurations of coalition composition levers that are tailored to target firms’ financial capacity and environmental predispositions, that is, target firms’ receptivity. Unsuccessful configurations instead emphasize single levers at the expense of others. Drawing on qualitative interviews, we identify three mechanisms (synchronizing, contextualizing, overfocusing) that plausibly underly the identified configurations and provide investor coalitions with knowledge about target firms and their local contexts, thus enhancing communication and understanding between investor coalitions and target firms” (abstract).

Other investment research

Bad delegation? Voting Choice by Andrey Malenkoy and Nadya Malenko as of Aug. 27th, 2023 (#346): “Under voting choice, investors of the fund can choose whether to delegate their votes to the fund or to exercise their voting rights themselves. … If the reason for offering voting choice is that investors have heterogeneous preferences, but investors are uninformed about the value of the proposal, then the equilibrium under voting choice is generally inefficient: it features either too little or too much delegation. … In contrast, if the reason for offering voting choice is that investors have information about the proposal that the fund manager does not have, but all investors preferences are aligned, then voting choice is efficient: the equilibrium level of delegation is the one that maximizes investor welfare. … However, if information acquisition is costly, voting choice can also lead to coordination failure: if too few votes are delegated to the fund, the fund has weak incentives to acquire information, which discourages delegation even further and may result in insufficiently informed voting outcomes“ (p. 28/29).

Analyst advantage: Behavioral Machine Learning? Computer Predictions of Corporate Earnings also Overreact by Murray Z. Frank, Jing Gao, and Keer Yang as of May 24th, 2023 (#184): “We study the predictions of corporate earnings from several algorithms, notably linear regressions and a popular algorithm called Gradient Boosted Regression Trees (GBRT). On average, GBRT outperformed both linear regressions and human stock analysts, but it still overreacted to news and did not satisfy rational expectation as normally defined. … Human stock analysts who have been trained in machine learning methods overreact less than traditionally trained analysts. Additionally, stock analyst predictions reflect information not otherwise available to machine algorithms” (abstract).


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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 (


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Engagement washing is illustrated with a money laundering wash maschine with a picture from mohamed hassan from pixabay

No engagement-washing! Opinion-Post #207

Engagement-washing as a term, according to my research, was first used by Kunal Desai in an interesting study in early 2022 (see Active-Engagement-thought-piece-final-2.pdf ( Engagement-washing means pretending that shareholder engagement can create a significant positive real-world impact when it probably can’t. That is different from impact-washing which typically is used to describe overambitious product marketing claims to make the world better.

Impact investing and engagement-washing

Impact investing is clearly on the rise. With impact investing, investors want to improve the world through their investments in equity capital or through credits. Impact investing with secondary-market listed equities or bonds is especially difficult. With those products, one security holder buys the security from another one. With such a transaction, issuers of the securities do not receive any additional funds. Therefore, providers of listed products which want to create impact typically use shareholder voting and shareholder engagement to change the issuers of the securities they are invested in.

Limitation of shareholder voting

Shareholder voting is typically only possible at annual shareholder meetings. Votes can only be used regarding the proposals on the agenda. In most cases, corporate management proposals are supported by the majority of votes. Investors can try to put own proposals on the agenda, but even the largest shareholders alone typically do not have enough votes to get them through.

Shareholder (or bondholder) engagement can be exercised at any time and regarding every topic. If investors can convince the top management of companies to adopt their proposals, they may have impact.

So far, so good. But the reality may not be that simple (data see Kunal Desais paper which refers to ESG Shareholder Engagement and Downside Risk by Andreas G. F. Hoepner, Ioannis Oikonomou, Zacharias Sautner, Laura T. Starks, Xiaoyan Zhou :: SSRN):

7 limitations of ecological and social shareholder engagement

  1. Although engagement becomes more popular, the majority of investors most likely does not engage at all.
  2. Even if investor engage, engagements typically are undertaken only for a minority of investments. That is not surprising, because most institutional investors own very many securities and only have limited resources for engagement.
  3. The majority of engagements involves only one interaction with the targeted companies. Since changes at companies typically take some time, one interaction does not seem enough to change much.
  4. Governance topics typically dominate engagements whereas impact-relevant environmental and social topics are the minority of topics addressed during engagements.
  5. ESG-ratings cover dozens if not hundreds of topics. Engagement typically only focus on one or very few topics. Even very well managed companies have many and sometimes also huge improvement potential in several social and ecological issues. The typical share of actual shareholder engagement topics compared to potentially relevant social and ecological engagement topics therefore is very low.
  6. It is very unclear how many engagements are successful since so far there is no good system to measure engagement success. If anything, shareholders measure engagement activity and not success. Often, marketing only repeats the same case study of a successful corporate engagement over and over. Shareholders for Change (see SfC-ENGAGEMENT-Report2022-1.pdf ( page 6) proposes an evaluation scheme but it does not allow to quantity the aggregate success of shareholder engagements.
  7. Mostly, companies do not state clearly what the consequences are, when their engagements are not successful. I assume that there are no divestments or even reductions in investments after most unsuccessful engagements. The reason is the low openness to divestments and benchmark deviations of institutional investors. Most try to stay very close to their selected benchmarks, even though divestments typically would reduce their portfolio diversification only marginally.

Conclusion: No engagement-washing but investing as good as you can

Conclusion: Social and ecological shareholder engagement is the most important tool to create impact with listed companies. But investors should not pretend to be able to significantly change the engaged target companies. Calling listed equity or bond funds “impact” funds does not sound right to me (impact-aligned is somewhat better, though). And reliance on investors to change listed companies is insufficient.

Engagement-washing seems to be a real risk which, if revealed, would hurt the “washer” but also potentially the whole segment of responsible investments. Investors nevertheless should invest as responsibly as possible. They should also try to engage as much as they can afford to. And that should include engagements with industry associations, NGOs, politicians etc. to advance responsible investing in general.

Further reading regarding engagement-washing

Shareholder engagement: 21 science based theses and an action plan – ( The 21 theses already contain many of my arguments above and show my engagement topics which include leveraged or stakeholder engagement approaches. The article also refers to additional relevant research papers.

Stakeholder engagement and ESG (Special Edition Researchposting 115) – Responsible Investment Research Blog ( Current research on shareholder ESG engagement

Active or impact investing? – ( Explains my engagement approach with a 100% engagement target for invested companies

Divestments bewirken mehr als Stimmrechtsausübungen oder Engagement | SpringerLink: approx. 20 pages with long literature list

Voting picture by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

ESG voting, climate WTP and more new research: Posting #119

ESG voting: 14x new research on corporate ESG nudges, 3x WTP for climate, ESG strategies, green bonds, greenwashing, ESG ratings, climate stress tests, bad award effects, mental accounting and PE issues

Social and ecological research: ESG voting

Corporate ESG nudges: Not Only for the Money: Nudging SMEs to Promote Environmental Sustainability by Manuel Grieder, Deborah Kistler, Felix Schlüter, and Jan Schmitz as of Feb. 9th, 2023 (#36): “This paper reports the results of a field experiment in Switzerland investigating behavioral economic interventions for promoting an environmental consulting program to SMEs. … The results indicate that loss frames are not more effective than gain frames. Unlike suggested by previous approaches, appealing to the environmental benefits of sustainability measures is just as effective as underlining the financial benefits for the SMEs. Evidence from two surveys with SME decision makers corroborates this latter result: SMEs indicate that personal motivations of owners or managers and long-term environmental impact—rather than potential financial benefits—are the most important factors determining whether they are willing to implement additional environmental sustainability measures” (abstract).

Some WTP: Willingness to Pay for Clean Air: Evidence from the UK Prepared by Giorgio Maarraoui, Walid Marrouch, Faten Saliba and Ada Wossink as of Feb. 23rd, 2023 (#10): “Our results show that 1 percent higher levels of NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 significantly decrease the odds of the log of happiness by 9, 9.5 and 10.7 percent respectively … Evaluated at the mean income level, households are willing to pay £62.5, £60 and £103 per month to abate 1 mikrogram/cubic meter of these pollutants respectively and remain equally happy, with urban dwellers paying less than this amount and highly educated individuals paying more than that (except for PM2.5)” … Our results show that 1 percent higher levels of NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 significantly decrease the odds of the log of happiness by 9, 9.5 and 10.7 percent respectively” (p. 24/25).

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, also see Artikel 9 Fonds: Sind 50% Turnover ok? – Responsible Investment Research Blog (

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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).

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Several connected employees as picture for employee engagement

Stakeholder engagement and ESG (Special Edition Researchposting 115)

Stakeholder engagement: 18x (new) research on stakeholder engagement, human capital, employee activists, employee ESG surveys, ESG wage gap, CEO pay gap, customer alpha, CEO limits and more research which is important for my shareholder engagement activities (see e.g. my earlier blog posts Engagement test, Impact Investing mit Voting und Engagement? and Wrong ESG bonus math?).

Stakeholder engagement overview

Stakeholder engagement studies: Exploring the antecedents and consequences of firm-stakeholder engagement process: A systematic review of literature by Avinash Pratap Singh and Zillur Rahman as of Oct. 31st, 2022 (#16): “… we pursued the vast body of literature on firm-stakeholder engagement and comprehensively examined over 170 research articles to accumulate precursors and outcomes of SE processes. … We used thematic analysis to provide evidence of the growing interest of academics and managers in firm-stakeholder engagement. The findings of this study suggest that shared benefits with a long-term perspective are valuable to both corporation and its stakeholders”.

Stakeholder engagement options: Stakeholder Engagement by Brett H. McDonnell as of Oct. 31st, 2022 (#88): “We have seen that the present reality of stakeholder engagement is fairly extensive, and sensible as far as it goes. As one would expect, employees are the most engaged group, followed by customers, and then by nonprofits, suppliers, and government regulators. The most used forms of engagement include meetings and surveys. Employee resource groups are near-universally used. Partnerships, social media, and councils are used less frequently, but still somewhat regularly. … And yet, the current reality falls well short of the future possibilities of stakeholder engagement. Current engagement mostly involves companies listening to what stakeholders have to say. It does not empower stakeholders to be more actively involved in corporate decision making” (p. 53/54). My comment: Very helpful paper for practitioners including reference to the AccountAbility Stakeholder Engagement Standard

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

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Bank climate risks: earth with tornado as illustration

Bank climate risks and more (Researchblog 113)

Bank climate risks: >20x new research on CO2 bio-capture, ESG ratings, inflation, greenwashing, diversity, gender pay gap, shareholder engagement, investment consultants, ML and hybrid robo-advisors

Social and ecological research

CO2 bio-capture: Scalable, Economical, and Stable Sequestration of Agricultural Fixed Carbon by Eli Yablonovitch and Harry Deckman as of Dec. 28th, 2022 (#129): “We describe a scalable, economical solution to the Carbon Dioxide problem. CO2 is captured from the atmosphere by cellulosic plants, and the harvested vegetation is then salted and buried in an engineered dry biolandfill. Plant biomass can be preserved for hundreds to thousands of years by burial in a dry environment … Current agriculture costs, and biolandfill costs indicate US$60/tonne of sequestered CO2 which corresponds to ~US$0.60 per gallon of gasoline. The technology is scalable owing to the large area of land available for cellulosic crops, without disturbing food production. If scaled to the level of a major crop, existing CO2 can be extracted from the atmosphere, and simultaneously sequester a significant fraction of world CO2 emissions” (abstract).

Regulated innovation: The effects of environmental innovations on labor productivity: How does it pay to be green by Hannu Piekkola and Jaana Rahko as of Jan. 10th, 2023 (#6): “This paper adds to the literature by examining environmental innovations as part of overall firm innovation activity among Finnish manufacturing and energy sector firms … Our empirical analysis shows that regulation-driven environmental innovations enhance productivity … Introducing new environmental regulations increases environmental innovativeness, which in turn leads to improved firm performance that can apparently compensate for all of the costs of regulation. Nordic firms may have benefited from a first-mover advantage by becoming green in many industries … Many companies set targets for themselves that are even stricter than what the regulations require because they want to set a model for other companies and stakeholders” (p. 21/22).

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

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Nature picture as illustration for positive immigration blogpost

Positive immigration and more little known research (Researchposting 110)

Positive immigration: >20x new research on climate conflicts, inequality, immigration, gas price break, carbon pricing, solar sharing, cool cities, brown banks, greenwashing, biodiversity, analysts and consultants, voting and engagement and private equity by Christina Bannier, Lucian Bebchuk, Alexander Wagner et al.

Social research: Positive immigration and more

Climate conflicts: Climate Shocks and Domestic Conflicts in Africa by Yoro Diallo and René Tapsoba as of December 29th, 2022 (#8): “We build on a broad panel of 51 Africa countries over the 1990-2018 period. We unveil key results with far-reaching policy implications. First, we find suggestive evidence that climate shocks, as captured through weather shocks, increase the likelihood of domestic conflicts, by as high as up to 38 percent. Second, the effect holds only for intercommunal conflicts, not for government-involved conflicts. Third, the effect is magnified in countries with more unequal income distribution and a stronger share of young male demographics, while higher quality social protection and access to basic health care services, stronger tax revenue mobilization, scaled up public investment in the agricultural sector, and stepped-up anti-desertification efforts appear as relevant resilience factors to this vicious climate-conflicts nexus” (p. 26).

Wealth inequality: Who Gets the Flow? Financial Globalisation and Wealth Inequality by Simone Arrigoni as of December 13th, 2022 (#14): “The main result points towards a significant positive link between the increase in financial globalisation (proxied with the IFI) and changes in the top 1% (the rich) and 10% (upper middle-class) wealth shares and a significant negative link with changes in the wealth share of the bottom 50% of the distribution (working class). … I find that the main driving components of this result appear to be portfolio equities and financial derivatives. … I find that the increase in inequality following the acceleration in financial globalisation is driven by the flow. The wealthy get richer due to an expansion of their portfolios rather than just a market value gain on their existing stock of wealth. … the main finding is strengthened in the event of a systemic banking crisis“ (p. 25/26).

Gender inequality gaps: Tackling Gender Inequality: Definitions, Trends, and Policy Designs by Baoping Shang as of Dec. 21st, 2022 (#27): “… gender inequality needs to be distinguished from gender gaps. … addressing gender inequality benefits everyone, not just women. … as gender inequality becomes more subtle and implicit, targeted gender policies will likely need to play an increasing role … The paper concludes by discussing gaps in the literature and policy challenges going forward” (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.

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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).

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