Sustainable investment. Dutch Pension Funds and the role of ESG ratings

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This thesis investigates the role of ESG ratings and ESG indices in the investment decisions of Dutch pension funds. How do they influence investment behavior in order to choose for sustainable investment? An historical perspective is given on the development of ‘ESG’ in the context of sustainable investing. In the results asset managers, rating agencies and experts provide insight into the use and usefulness of these financial tools and share their expectations for future developments. The theoretical framework provides a basis to analyze sustainable investment behavior of Dutch pension funds into the different stages of Sustainable Finance, as explained by Schoenmaker & Schramade (2019). The findings suggest that ESG ratings and ESG indices influence the investment behavior of regular Dutch pension funds, in order to choose for sustainable investments, by determining what companies are included into their sustainable portfolios. And, that the largest Dutch pension funds do not lean on ESG ratings or ESG indices in decision making for sustainable investment. The theory is proposed that for Dutch pension funds, ESG ratings and ESG indices are currently perceived (by experts and users) to be of inadequate quality to measure the sustainable quality of companies, to base sustainable investment decisions on.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen