How ESG activities improve corporate stock performance during the COVID-19 crisis

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Purpose: This thesis investigates how ESG activities impact corporate stock performance during the COVID-19 crisis. Design/methodology/approach: The event study method is used to examine the stock price movements after the European stock market reacted to the influence of the COVID-19 crisis. Cross-sectional analysis is applied to explore how each ESG pillar impacts corporate stock performance differently. Findings: The findings suggest that, under normal circumstances, ESG companies’ stock performance does not outperform the market. The COVID-19 crisis negatively influenced the stock performance of both ESG companies and the market, but the magnitude of the impact on ESG companies is lower than that on the market. In addition, high ESG companies outperform low ESG companies only in a short period (2 and 5 days after the event date). The results also reveal that only environmental and social dimensions have a positive effect on abnormal returns but only in the short term. In contrast, the governance dimension does not influence abnormal returns during the entire crisis. The additional test results show that only environmental and social dimensions in 2017 positively influenced corporate stock performance during COVID-19.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen