The student theses series by the Erasmus Platform for Sustainable Value Creation are set up with the idea of offering a podium to outstanding student theses on sustainable finance. They are free to download and are all accompanied by a non-technical summary.
The Erasmus Platform for Sustainable Value Creation is part of RSM's broader mission of being a porce for positive change. It is RSM's conviction that business can and should play an instrumental role in the transition to a more sustainable world in which both current and future needs are met. The Platform for Sustainable Value Creation aims to strive towards a more sustainable financial sector, through research, co-creation and meaninful debat. We create a platform in which both academics, business, students and other professional parties act together.
Firms, investors and other stakeholders have come to understand the importance of social, environmental and governance (ESG) issues in the world. This has led to a boom in the number of sustainable funds, investors integrating ESG factors in their analyses and UNPRI signatories. So far though, there has been limited academic research regarding which ESG factors have material impacts on firms. This is conflicting as investors state that the prime reason for considering ESG factors is that they believe it has a material financial impact on investment performance. Many corporations are publishing materiality matrixes within their sustainability reports, because this information gives insight into the risks and opportunities that the firm faces. As these material factors are presumably influencing firm performance, it is key for investors to gain a better understanding of these factors and their impacts. RSM-graduate Kelly van Heijningen did a study on this topic. Read the full working paper here.
Although the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have received much attention since initiation, the challenge on how to turn these goals into investment decisions remains. This working paper is based on empirical research of two asset managers that each have an SDG investment strategy where they integrate the SDGs in investment decisions. This research has two implications. First, it shows that SDG information is fundamentally different than ESG information, in that it directs attention to the world’s social and environmental challenges and hence, gives a renewed focus on business’ products and services. The second implication relates to the development of SDG investing in light of the limited attention that investors have. Developing specific ‘SDG ratings’ might take long to develop and in the end
provide investors with information that have the same issues as ESG ratings. You can read this paper, written by RSM graduate Annebeth Roor, here.