Disclosures of ESG Misconducts and Market Valuations: Evidence from DAX Companies
Keywords:event study, ESG misconducts, DAX, responsible investing, corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors have become an important topic on capital markets amid an increasing interest in responsible investing. Despite this fact, public companies have been involved in a number of ESG misconducts in recent years, which were often against the interests of their stakeholders. In our research, we refer to stakeholder theory in order to show how disclosures of social misconducts against the companies’ stakeholders have affected market valuation of listed companies, which we treat as one of the measures of shareholders’ wealth. We conduct an event study on 235 ESG misconducts related to DAX companies. The data sample of ESG news was hand collected in a thorough content analysis in the period of 2000-2019. The main findings reveal that investors’ reactions were more severe for ESG news released after 2009 than before this date as illustrated by negative and significant cumulative average abnormal returns (CAARs) in different event windows, while before 2009 CAARs were insignificant. We also found out that investors reacted stronger to governance- rather than social or environmental news. Our results provide a guidance for listed companies on how ESG mismanagements might affect their market value, and for investors who intend to incorporate ESG factors in their investment decision processes.