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Browsing by Subject "responsible investing"

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  • Matula, Alina (2023)
    Among financial institutions, there is a growing concern about risks in their portfolios related to biodiversity, and its closely related affiliate, climate change. Investors are demanding greater transparency and biodiversity management in order to make informed investment decisions in listed equity and to act as responsible shareholders. The aim of this thesis is to explore, from the Nordic pension investor point of view, how the risk related to biodiversity loss is assessed and managed in the financial markets. Following qualitative approach, primary data was collected with 14 semi-structured in-depth interviews of two target groups: pension investors in the Nordic countries and ESG specialists which refers to specialists in sustainable finance or biodiversity related sustainability fields. The results were analyzed using template analysis. The results show that taking biodiversity into consideration in investment processes is constantly evolving and Nordic pension investors are paying close attention to the topic. Among drivers to incorporate biodiversity into investment decision-making, risk management was the most important. ESG specialists' experience of institutional investors' means to influence biodiversity loss mitigation differed from pension investors' perspective. Nordic pension investors are not fully aware of the existing methods for analyzing the risks and impacts of biodiversity loss in their own investment portfolio. However, they are highly motivated to find reliable ways to manage portfolio risks. Integrating biodiversity risks and impacts into the investment process can be challenging due to a lack of investment tools and best practices. Investors are preparing for increasing statutory and voluntary regulation. Both ESG specialists and Nordic pension investors see that lack of comparable, transparent, reliable data is an essential barrier when it comes to listed-equity investments and biodiversity loss mitigation. The data available lacks financial materiality and the impacts of biodiversity loss on the real-world return expectations, and return-risk-profiles are unknown. To solve problems regarding the lack of data in general and especially transparent and comparable data, companies are expected to disclose material nature-related dependencies and impacts, and report associated metrics and targets.
  • Toivonen, Eeva (2018)
    Responsible investing is a topical subject in financial markets. When both environmental and societal concerns are increasing with population growth and growing demand for scarce resources, interest towards responsibility and sustainability matters have become global. This has created new investment markets of responsible investing. The aim of this thesis is to form a comprehensive analysis of the performance of responsible investments compared to non-responsible investments. The thesis analyses the financial performance, the performance under uncertainty and the volatility of responsible investments. The empirical studies are utilised in the analysis. The thesis also aims to form an understanding of the possible sources and explanations of economics for financially profitable performance of responsible investments by introducing and applying theories of economics and academic studies. The thesis creates a theoretical framework for the research question analysis, with Markowitz’s (1952) modern portfolio theory. The theory indicates that by limiting the investment possibilities to cover the preference of responsible investing, an investor faces a constraint. Since opportunities of diversification decrease, responsible investing portfolios cannot be diversified as normal portfolios and responsible investing portfolios are not considered optimal. The theory indicates that responsible investment portfolios yield a worse expected return with the same risk or higher risk with same expected return compared with the optimal portfolios. When analysing the financial performance of responsible investments, the empirical evidence shows that the positive environmental, social governance (ESG) – corporate financial performance (CFP) correlation is higher than the negative ESG–CFP correlation. In addition, when comparing the performance of responsible indices and traditional indices, there are no significant differences in the gross returns or Sharpe ratios. When analysing the performance under uncertainty, companies with high corporate social responsibility (CSR) ratings compared to companies with low CSR ratings, ratings had four to seven percent higher stock returns during the financial crisis period of 2008–2009. In addition, when analysing volatility, the conclusion is that higher ESG rating correlated with lower volatility and the relationship is stronger when market volatility was high. The empirical evidence shows that responsible investing appears to be financially profitable and a rational investing strategy since it does not impose opportunity costs for an investor. In fact, responsible investing can result in good risk-management of a portfolio and yield even better profit expectations than a non-responsible investing strategy. These findings challenge the modern portfolio theory’s indications. Explanations for the research question of why responsible investments perform well, are diverse. When applying the theories of economics, responsibility can be seen as signaling and to bring a competitive advantage for companies that integrate responsibility into the business models. A competitive advantage can occur through lower costs, easier access to capital and through differentiation. The academic studies also recognize the connection between responsibility and trustworthiness as distinct. In addition, responsibility can be seen as anticipating and managing of risks when it comes to possible changes in the institutional environment, for example, in legislation or in regulation framework. Furthermore, an altruistic way of behaviour can be identified among consumers and overall there exists a significant demand for responsibility and responsible products and businesses.