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E, S or G? A study of ESG score and financial performance
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.).
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
E, S eller G? En studie om ESG score, lönsamhet och avkastning (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Sustainability is not a new concept to the financial markets, but its popularity and wider use have increased as people have grown more concerned about the future of this planet. However, the relationship between sustainable investments and financial performance is not clear. One of the most used measures of sustainability is the concept of ESG score, where E, S and G stand for environmental, social and governance. In this study, we investigate the relationship between ESG score and financial performance, both market and accounting based. We also separate the score into its individual parts E, S, and G, and try to distinguish which factor has the strongest relation to financial performance. To evaluate the relationship, a regression analysis was performed on a sample of Nordic stocks and the Sustainalytics ESG rank. Our findings concluded no significant relationship between ESG score and financial performance, neither market nor accounting based. The environmental factor (E) showed the strongest relation to financial performance, however slightly negative and only significant to one dependent variable out of three. Our results indicate that based on the ESG score used in this study, no conclusions can be drawn about financial performance. Since our research does not indicate a significant relationship, our recommendation is to invest in the highest ESG ranked stock in case of choosing between two otherwise similar stocks.

Abstract [sv]

Hållbarhet är inget nytt koncept inom finans, men dess popularitet och användning har ökat kraftigt. Dock är det fortfarande oklart hur hållbara investeringar förhåller sig till lönsamhet och avkastning. En av de mest använda hållbarhetsmåtten är ESG, som står för environmental, social and governance. I denna studie undersöker vi relationen mellan ESG-mått och lönsamhet, både marknads- och resultatbaserad. Vi delar också upp ESG i sina tre komponenter E, S, och G för att undersöka vilken faktor som har den starkaste relationen till lönsamhet. Detta görs genom en regressionsanalys med paneldata från ett urval av nordiska aktier och Sustainalytics ESG-mått. Vårt resultat visar ingen signifikant relation mellan ESG-mått och lönsamhet. Komponenten E visar den starkaste relationen till lönsamhet, ett signifikant och något negativt samband, men endast till en av tre responsvariabler. Vårt resultat indikerar således att inget samband verkar finnas mellan lönsamhet och dessa ESG-mått. Eftersom vår studie inte visar på något signifikant samband, blir vår rekommendation att investera i den aktien med högst ESG-mått, om man skulle välja mellan två annars lika aktier.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 77
Series
TRITA-ITM-EX 2019 ; 12
Keywords [en]
ESG score, financial performance, regression, return, firm value, sustainable investment, corporate social responsibility, stakeholder theory
Keywords [sv]
ESG, finansiell lönsamhet, avkastning, regressionsanalys, hållbara investeringar, rörelsevärde, CSR, Intressentmodellen.
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-246008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-246008DiVA, id: diva2:1295223
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Examiners
Available from: 2019-03-11 Created: 2019-03-11 Last updated: 2019-03-11Bibliographically approved

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