Do Baltic investors care about environmental, social and governance (ESG)?
As the environmental, social and governance (ESG) adoption practices in large and developed economies are becoming more sophisticated, in the still developing economies the non-financial information disclosure practices are gradually evolving. This article aims to capture the ESG implementation practices and challenges of the financial investors and banks operating in the Baltic countries - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. By analyzing survey data of 37 financial market players, the results reveal that around 81% of the respondents already use ESG data when evaluating their investments, which can partly be explained by the regulatory drivers coming from the large share of private equity and venture funds managing local and international public funding. Moreover, a substantial average weight of 0.39 is found to be attributed to the sustainability factors in the investment evaluation process, which is rather high given the general perception of the ESG being a recent addition to the investment evaluation tools. While 51% of the respondents admitted that Covid-19 pandemic has made no changes in their ESG practices, there are other common challenges named by the investors e.g. lack of general and quantifiable ESG data from the side of the companies and struggles to find matching benchmarks for the large share of the small and mid-sized companies dominating the Baltic investment market. By addressing the obstacles highlighted by this research, the policy makers can explore the ways how to foster a wider adoption of ESG policies in the Baltic investment universe.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), financial investors, sustainability
G30 , G32 , Q56
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