ESG or Financial Performance - Does It Have to be a Choice? : A Regression Analysis of Thomson Reuters ESG scores and Financial Performance in Sweden and the UK.
Abstract: Background: The term Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) is a relatively new concept within the financial industry. However, there are a couple of issues connected to the ESG score and sustainable finance. Thus, there is an ongoing conflict between creating economic value, which is the main task for managers, as well as tackling ethical issues such as ESG. Purpose: The purpose of this report is to investigate if there is a correlation between ESG scores and financial performance measures. The measures analysed are, Return on Assets (ROA), Retention Ratio (RET), Operating Cash-Flow (CF) and Debt-Equity (DE), for listed companies in Sweden and the UK. Method: To see if there is a correlation between ESG and financial performance, a Pooled OLS Regression and Fixed Effect Regression Model (FE) was used. The data was collected from the Thomson Reuters datastream, where 75 companies listed on the OMXSLCGI in Sweden and 75 companies listed on the FTSE100 in the UK, was retrieved. Conclusion: The regression results indicated a positive correlation between CF and ESG for both the FE regression and the Pooled OLS for the Swedish middle-ranked companies, as well as a positive correlation between DE and ESG for the lower-ranked Swedish companies. For the UK, no significant variables were found. Because of the limited significant results, this thesis found that there is yet no apparent correlation between the ESG score and financial performance based on the four years analyzed.
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