10 December: We examine the effects of mandatory ESG disclosure around the world using a novel dataset. Mandatory ESG disclosure increases the availability and quality of ESG reporting, especially among firms with low ESG performance. Mandatory ESG reporting helps to improve a firm’s financial information environment: analysts’ earnings forecasts become more accurate and less dispersed after ESG disclosure becomes mandatory. On the real side, negative ESG incidents become less likely, and stock price crash risk declines after mandatory ESG disclosure is enacted. These findings suggest that mandatory ESG disclosure has beneficial informational and real effects.
In recent years, due to the dramatic increase in demand for ESG information to prompt sustainable growth, many countries and jurisdictions have issued regulations that mandate firms and financial institutions disclose their ESG situations and activities. But what are the real impacts of such mandatory ESG disclosure regulations on financial markets? We address this question by examining the financial stability of firms in 44 countries around the world over a sample period of 2000 to 2017.
To assess the stability of a firm, we measure the volatility of equity return and the likelihood of stock price crashes. Using multivariate regressions, we find equity return volatility is lower after mandatory ESG disclosure, and within this, systematic and idiosyncratic volatility are also significantly lower. We find stock price crash risk declines after the enforcement of mandatory ESG disclosure.
Our findings support calls for mandatory introduction of ESG disclosure requirements. In particular, stock exchanges should increase their ESG disclosure policies, as we show that mandatory disclosure improves the information environment. Moreover, our findings on financial stability are of interest to central banks and the enactment of mandatory ESG disclosure enhances the stability of the financial market by improving the ESG informational environment.