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Looking for sustainable development: Socially responsible mutual funds and the low‐carbon economy

Amparo Soler‐Domínguez, Juan Carlos Matallín‐Sáez, Diego Víctor de Mingo‐López and Emili Tortosa‐Ausina
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Emili Tortosa-Ausina ()

Business Strategy and the Environment, 2021, vol. 30, issue 4, 1751-1766

Abstract: Sustainable investment responds to demands for carbon and climate‐neutral societies. To address the urgency around climate change and provide investors with more qualified information, Morningstar has developed the Low Carbon Designation (LCD) to indicate that the companies held in a portfolio are in general alignment with the transition to a low‐carbon economy. The designation is given to portfolios that have low carbon risk and fossil fuel exposure scores. The present study builds on the LCD by examining the relationship between these scores and financial performance. With this aim, we analyze 3920 socially responsible mutual funds from across the world. Results show differences in financial performance according to scores and investment areas. We find evidence that funds considered to have higher levels of sustainability achieved better performance than funds with higher exposure to companies involved in carbon and fossil fuel industries. We provide insights on the informativeness of these new scores with a focus on climate change and their relevance in helping investors to identify climate‐aware funds. This study highlights the importance of introducing strategies to develop green finance; the analysis confirms that sustainability improves performance. Finally, the LCD indicator is shown to be relevant for making fairer comparisons among socially responsible funds and, ultimately, for developing low‐carbon economies.

Date: 2021
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