BNP Paribas Asset Management has recently become the first asset manager to sponsor the Global Research Alliance for Sustainable Finance and Investment (GRASFI), a network of leading research universities worldwide, established to promote rigorous and impactful academic research into sustainable finance and investment.
On 5-7 September, GRASFI held its inaugural Conference at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics, entitled “Managing and Financing Responsible Businesses”. The conference hosted researchers from around the world, presenting their papers on sustainability with major contributions to complementary disciplines such as finance, accounting, management, strategy and development economics.
The Conference Committee, composed of a multidisciplinary jury, rewarded Samuel M. Hartzmark and Abigail B. Sussman from the University of Chicago for their study “Do Investors Value Sustainability? A Natural Experiment Examining Ranking and Fund Flows”. Their thought-provoking winning paper received the highest average ranking among more than a hundred nominated studies.
It presents causal evidence that investors collectively value sustainability. The researchers prove that being categorised as low sustainability resulted in net outflows, while being categorised as high sustainability led to net inflows.
Experimental evidence suggests that sustainability is viewed as positively predicting future performance, but Hartzmark and Sussman did not find evidence that high sustainability funds outperform low sustainability funds. They also found suggestive evidence of non-pecuniary motives influencing investment decisions.
Read the full winning paper