Every Little Helps? ESG News and Stock Market Reaction
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Stories about corporate social responsibility have become very frequent over the past decade, and managers can no longer ignore their impact on firm value. In this paper, we investigate the extent and the determinants of the stock market’s reaction following ordinary news related to environmental, social and governance issues—the so-called ESG factors. To that purpose, we use an original database provided by Covalence EthicalQuote. Our empirical analysis is based on about 33,000 ESG news (positive or negative), targeting one hundred listed companies over the period 2002–2010. On average, firms facing negative events experience a drop in their market value of 0.1%, whereas companies gain nothing on average from positive announcements. We find also that market participants are responsive to the media, but they do not react to firms’ press releases or to NGOs’ disclosures. Moreover, our results indicate that sector’s reputation mitigates the loss (the goodwill hypothesis) and that cultural proximity and lexical contents of ESG disclosures play a significant role in the magnitude of the impact.
KeywordsCorporate social responsibility Socially responsible investing ESG news Disclosure Event study
The authors thank Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline, Patricia Crifo, Yannick Le Pen, Bert Sholtens, Charles Cho, Fabrizio Coricelli, Marie-Aude Laguna, Thomas Lyon, participants at the Informing Green Markets conference (Ann Arbor, 2011), the Mines-ParisTech workshop on the Economics of Corporate Social Responsibility (Paris, 2011), the UNPRI Mistra conference (Sigtuna, 2011), and the ESG seminar of the Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, 2011), as well as two anonymous referees for their helpful comments. They also gratefully acknowledge Antoine Mach and Matthias Brunner from Covalence EthicalQuote for providing the data. The usual disclaimer applies.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of Interest
Gunther Capelle-Blancard declares that he has no conflict of interest. Aurélien Petit has worked on short-term contract with Covalence EthicalQuote.
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