Shareholder Activism on Sustainability Issues

Shareholder Activism on Sustainability Issues | Jyothika Grewal, George Serafeim, Aaron S. Yoon
July 6th, 2016
Shareholder activism on sustainability issues has become increasingly prevalent over the years, with the number of proposals filed doubling from 1999 to 2013. We use recent innovations in accounting standard setting to classify 2,665 shareholder proposals that address ESG issues as financially material or immaterial, and we analyze how proposals on material versus immaterial issues affect firms’ subsequent ESG performance and market valuation. Proposals on immaterial issues are associated with subsequent declines in firm valuation while proposals on material issues are associated with subsequent increases in firm value. 

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