The increasing awareness of climate change and human capital issues is shifting companies towards aspects other than traditional financial earnings. In particular, the changing behaviors towards sustainability issues of the global community and the availability of environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators are attracting investors to socially responsible investment decisions. Furthermore, whereas the strategic importance of ESG metrics has been particularly studied for private enterprises, little attention have received public companies. To address this gap, the present work has three aims—1. To predict the accuracy of main financial indicators such as the expected Return of Equity (ROE) and Return of Assets (ROA) of public enterprises in Europe based on ESG indicators and other economic metrics; 2. To identify whether ESG initiatives affect the financial performance of public European enterprises; and 3. To discuss how ESG factors, based on the findings of aims #1 and #2, can contribute to the advancements of the current debate on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies and practices in public enterprises in Europe. To fulfil the above aims, we use a combined approach of machine learning (ML) techniques and inferential (i.e., ordered logistic regression) model. The former predicts the accuracy of ROE and ROA on several ESG and other economic metrics and fulfils aim #1. The latter is used to test whether any causal relationships between ESG investment decisions and ROA and ROE exist and, whether these relationships exist, to assess their magnitude. The inferential analysis fulfils aim #2. Main findings suggest that ML accurately predicts ROA and ROE and indicate, through the ordered logistic regression model, the existence of a positive relationship between ESG practices and the financial indicators. In addition, the existing relationship appears more evident when companies invest in environmental innovation, employment productivity and diversity and equal opportunity policies. As a result, to fulfil aim #3 useful policy insights are advised on these issues to strengthen CSR strategies and sustainable development practices in European public enterprises.

Does Good ESG Lead to Better Financial Performances by Firms? Machine Learning and Logistic Regression Models of Public Enterprises in Europe

De Lucia, Caterina
Funding Acquisition
;
Pazienza, Pasquale
;
2020

Abstract

The increasing awareness of climate change and human capital issues is shifting companies towards aspects other than traditional financial earnings. In particular, the changing behaviors towards sustainability issues of the global community and the availability of environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators are attracting investors to socially responsible investment decisions. Furthermore, whereas the strategic importance of ESG metrics has been particularly studied for private enterprises, little attention have received public companies. To address this gap, the present work has three aims—1. To predict the accuracy of main financial indicators such as the expected Return of Equity (ROE) and Return of Assets (ROA) of public enterprises in Europe based on ESG indicators and other economic metrics; 2. To identify whether ESG initiatives affect the financial performance of public European enterprises; and 3. To discuss how ESG factors, based on the findings of aims #1 and #2, can contribute to the advancements of the current debate on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies and practices in public enterprises in Europe. To fulfil the above aims, we use a combined approach of machine learning (ML) techniques and inferential (i.e., ordered logistic regression) model. The former predicts the accuracy of ROE and ROA on several ESG and other economic metrics and fulfils aim #1. The latter is used to test whether any causal relationships between ESG investment decisions and ROA and ROE exist and, whether these relationships exist, to assess their magnitude. The inferential analysis fulfils aim #2. Main findings suggest that ML accurately predicts ROA and ROE and indicate, through the ordered logistic regression model, the existence of a positive relationship between ESG practices and the financial indicators. In addition, the existing relationship appears more evident when companies invest in environmental innovation, employment productivity and diversity and equal opportunity policies. As a result, to fulfil aim #3 useful policy insights are advised on these issues to strengthen CSR strategies and sustainable development practices in European public enterprises.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11369/387614
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