E, S or G? A study of ESG scoreand financial performance
Sammanfattning: 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.
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