Graduation Year

2019

Date of Submission

12-2018

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Economics-Accounting

Reader 1

Marc Massoud

Abstract

Increasing concern regarding environmental, social, and governance (ESG) impacts are influencing investor decisions. The growing risk of climate change impacts poses a risk to long-term sustainable economic growth and returns. Additionally, increasing societal concern over corporate ESG impacts also poses a risk to corporate efficiency and success. As a result of these increasing risks investors, both retail and institutional, are participating in ESG investment strategies. Such strategies take into account corporate ESG impacts and behaviors, however, ESG information and data is not easily available. This thesis will examine the current ESG investing landscape, more specifically what investors are demanding. For the most part, investors want reliable data that they can use in their investment strategies, however, the ESG information available is insufficient, unreliable, and incomparable as ESG reporting and disclosures are not currently mandated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). One available solution to this obstacle is the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), which guides corporations on how to optimally disclose on its ESG impacts. Unfortunately, this solution on its own is not enough. SEC intervention is clearly needed to enforce and regulate ESG disclosure to avoid the challenges of voluntary ESG reporting. Furthermore, the concept of materiality implies a corporate duty to report on ESG issues as there is strong evidence indicating its influence over investors' decisions. Likewise, the SEC has a duty to regulate this information. While this thesis suggests the SASB framework as a possible solution to the deficiency of ESG information, its goal is not to solve the issue, but rather merely begin the discussion.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.

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