Market Interest in Nonfinancial Information
Article first published online: 19 DEC 2011
Copyright © 2011 Morgan Stanley
Journal of Applied Corporate Finance
Volume 23, Issue 4, pages 113–127, Fall 2011
How to Cite
Eccles, R. G., Serafeim, G. and Krzus, M. P. (2011), Market Interest in Nonfinancial Information. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 23: 113–127. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-6622.2011.00357.x
- Issue published online: 19 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 19 DEC 2011
During the past two decades, more and more companies have volunteered to provide “corporate social responsibility” or “sustainability” reports that include information about their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies and performance. Such reporting has come about largely in response to demands by a wide range of stakeholders for information about how the company's operations are affecting society in a number of different ways. But do investors really care about companies' ESG performance and policies?
Using data from Bloomberg, the authors provide the first broadly based empirical evidence of investors' interest in ESG data. More specifically, the authors show how interest in the top 20 ESG metrics varies with geographical location (European vs. American), asset class (fixed income vs. equity), and firm type. At the aggregate market level, there is greater interest in environmental and governance information than in “social” information. U.S. investors are more interested than their European counterparts in governance and less interested in environmental information. Equity investors are interested in a wider range of nonfinancial information than are fixed income investors. And whereas sell-side analysts are primarily interested in greenhouse gas emissions, money managers tend to focus on a broader set of metrics. Similarly, pension funds and hedge funds have shown interest in more nonfinancial metrics than insurance companies.
The authors' bottom line: Companies need to recognize the growing market interest in nonfinancial information and ensure that they are providing it according to the specific information needs of market users.