ESG in Focus: The Australian Evidence

Journal of Business Ethics 118 (3):529-541 (2013)
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Addressing ESG issues has become a point of interest for investors, shareholders, and governments as a risk management concern, while for firms it has become an emerging part of competitive strategy. In this study, a database from an independent ratings agency is used to examine, longitudinally, how Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) 300 firms are responding to ESG issues. Following institutional theory predictions, ASX300 firms are improving ESG performance over the 2002–2009 timeframe. Furthermore, over this timeframe, performance on the governance dimension improved at a greater rate than environmental or social performance, as predicted. Lastly, high impact industries are predicted to demonstrate overall improved ESG performance relative to medium or low impact industries over the timeframe, but this hypothesis was not confirmed. Results are discussed along with implications and future research directions



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