PARIS, 15 November 2013 – The relationship between ESG issues and credit risk, how private equity funds can foster CSR within portfolio companies, and the state of ESG integration by asset managers were among the topics explored by seven new academic papers winning awards as part of the PRI’s annual Academic Network conference in Paris.
The Sustainalytics Prize for Academic and Student research, sponsored by research provider Sustainalytics, and prizes for best Masters, PhD, published article and doctoral fellowship, awarded in conjunction with the French social investment forum (FIR), were presented at separate ceremonies in Paris on 13 and 14 November. Each award was judged by expert panels of academics, investors and responsible investment practitioners, with prizes valued between €2,500 and €10,000.
Helene Winch, Director of Policy and Research at the PRI, said: “How ESG issues can – and do – affect company and investment performance, asset allocation, and portfolio design are questions worthy of much greater focus by academia. The PRI’s Academic Network bridges the global academic and investment research communities, catalysing practical research to help our signatories understand what they can do to promote sustainable, well-functioning financial markets. These researchers are making an important contribution to the field and we are grateful to Sustainalytics and the Forum for Responsible Investment for recognising and rewarding their achievements.”
The winners of the Sustainalytics Prize are:
- Student Award: ‘The effect of bad news on credit risk: a media based view of the pricing of corporate social responsibility’ by Julian Koelbel – ETH Zürich.
- Academic Award: ‘ESG integration by asset managers,’ by Bert Scholtens – University of Groningen.
- Honorable Mention: ‘Barriers to private investors engagement in sustainable investing‘ by Falko Paetzold – University of Zurich.
Winners of the FIR-PRI Awards are:
- Best Masters thesis: ‘Payments for Environmental Services and Microfinance: Proyecto Cambio in Nicaragua‘ by Davide Forcella – Université libre de Bruxelles.
- Best PhD thesis: ‘Can Private Equity Funds Foster Corporate Social Responsibility?‘ by
Vanina Forget – Ecole Polytechnique.
- Best published research article: ‘Portfolio greenness and the financial performance of REITs‘ by Piet Eichholtz, Nils Kok, Erkan Yonder.
- Doctoral Fellowship: ‘Understanding the dynamics of Voting on Shareholder Proposals’ by Liviu Andronic – IAE Toulouse.
The PRI-CDC Academic Network conference, hosted by Caisse des Dépôts from 13-15 November in Paris, attracted more than 160 delegates from 60 universities and research institutions and featured presentations on more than 40 new papers.
Odile Renaud-Basso, Deputy Director General, Caisse des Dépôts Group, said: “The PRI Academic Network will help us tackle some challenges to responsible investment mainstreaming. Its annual event contributes to spreading awareness of the latest academic research amongst investors, it enables the two communities to hold a meaningful dialogue, and it rewards research that is of particular significance for the investment community.”
Note to editors
The judging panel for the Sustainalytics Prize included: Daniel Beunza – London School of Economics, Jean-Philippe Desmartin – Oddo Securities, Fabrizio Ferraro - IESE Business School, Lars G Hassel – Umeå University, Jim Hawley – Saint Mary’s College, Tessa Hebb – Carleton University, Andreas Hoepner – University of Reading, Rob Lake - Rob Lake Advisers, Nicolas Mottis – ESSEC, Wilco van Heteren – Director of Research Products, Sustainalytics, David Wood – Kennedy School of Government.
The judging panel for the FIR-PRI Awards included: Sebastien Pouget – Toulouse School of Economics (Chair), Diane-Laure Arjalies – HEC, Peter Clarkson – University of Queensland, Patricia Crifo – Polytechnique, Stephanie Giamporcaro – University of Cape Town, Jim Hawley – Saint Mary’s College of California, Andreas Hoepner – Henley Business School, Celine Louche – Audencia School of Management, Nicolas Mottis – ESSEC, Bouchra M’Zali – University of Quebec, Montreal.
A copy of the conference agenda can be found here. Videos, papers and presentations from the event will be available to review on the PRI website by the end of November.
About the PRI Academic Network
The PRI Academic Network works to strengthen cooperation between signatories and the academic community. With a membership of 270 academics, investment practitioners and policy makers, the Network represents a diverse array of research interests from around the world. It supports PRI signatories by promoting and funding research and events that generate practical and relevant responsible investment research. The annual Academic Network conference showcases the best examples of this research.
About the Principles for Responsible Investment
The United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment Initiative (PRI) is a network of international investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice. The Principles were devised by the investment community. They reflect the view that environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues can affect the performance of investment portfolios and therefore must be given appropriate consideration by investors if they are to fulfil their fiduciary (or equivalent) duty. The Principles provide a voluntary framework by which all investors can incorporate ESG issues into their decision-making and ownership practices and so better align their objectives with those of society at large.
About the Caisse des Dépôts
The Caisse des Dépôts and its subsidiaries form a public group that makes long-term investments in the public interest and to promote regional economic development. Its mission was reaffirmed by the law on the modernisation of the economy of 4 August 2008: “the Caisse des Dépôts and its subsidiaries are a public group that acts in the public interest and to promote the country’s economic development. It performs its missions in the public interest in support of the public policies conducted by the State and regional authorities, and can engage in competitive activities.”
Sustainalytics supports investors around the world with the development and implementation of responsible investment strategies. The firm partners with institutional investors, pension plans, and asset managers that integrate environmental, social and governance information and assessments into their investment decisions. Headquartered in Amsterdam, Sustainalytics has offices in Boston, Bucharest, Frankfurt, Paris, Singapore, Timisoara and Toronto, and representatives in Bogotá, Brussels, Copenhagen, London, New York City and San Francisco. The firm has 150 staff members, including more than 80 analysts with varied multidisciplinary expertise and thorough understanding of more than 40 industries. In 2012 and 2013, Sustainalytics was voted best independent sustainable and responsible investment research firm in the Thomson Reuters Extel’s IRRI survey. www.sustainalytics.com
French Social Investment Forum (FIR) is a multi-stakeholder association (asset owners, asset managers, rating agencies, brokers, associations, unions) established in 2001. Its main objective is to promote SRI (Socially Responsible Investment) and its best practices. FIR is coordinating the French SRI Week (www.semaine-isr.fr) and CorDial (Corporate Dialogue) an engagement platform with French listed companies. FrenchSIF has launched the European Research Award “Finance and sustainability” in 2005 and have been partnering with PRI since 2011. FIR is also a founding member of Eurosif and a member of French CSR Platform. www.frenchsif.org and http://www.fir-pri-awards.org/awardees.
Matthew McAdam, Head of Communications, PRI
Tel: (+44) 20 7749 5103
Cheida Kechavarzi, Corporate Communications, Caisse des Dépôts
Tel: (+33) 01 58 50 11 81
Melissa Chase, Marketing Specialist, Sustainalytics
Tel: (+1) 647 317 3646
Grégoire Cousté, Executive Director, FIR
Tel: + 33 (0)9 72 27 23 08