Paper: ESG Shareholder Engagement and Downside Risk

A new paper from Andreas G.F. Hoepner, Ioannis Oikonomou, Zacharias Sautner, Laura T. Starks, and Xiao Y. Zhou asks “whether engagement on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues can benefit shareholders by reducing firms’ downside risk, measured using the lower partial moment and value at risk. Using a proprietary database, we provide evidence supporting this hypothesis. We further find that the measured risk effects vary across engagement success and engagement themes. Engagement appears most effective in lowering downside risk when addressing environmental topics (primarily climate change). We find corroborating evidence in that successful engagement reduces the firm’s exposure to a downside-risk factor.”

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