ESG Investing: From Sin Stocks to Smart Beta
Journal of Portfolio Management, Vol. 46, 2020, https://jpm.pm-research.com/content/46/3/75
Posted: 21 Mar 2019 Last revised: 24 May 2020
Date Written: March 21, 2019
Research on socially responsible investment in equity markets initially focused on sin stocks. Since then, the availability of data has been extended substantially and now covers environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria. Using ESG scores of firms belonging to the MSCI World universe, we measure the impact of score-based exclusion on both passive investment and smart beta strategies. We find that exclusion leads to improved scores of otherwise standard portfolios without deterioration of their risk-adjusted performance. Smart beta strategies exhibit a similar pattern, often in a more pronounced way. Moreover, our results demonstrate that exclusion also implies regional and sectoral tilts as well as (possibly undesirable) risk exposures of the portfolios.
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