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Investigating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations in Venture Capital & Private Equity firms: A study in US and UK venture capital industry
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues are becoming more and more significant for comprehensive evaluation of companies responsible investing activities. Over the years, the growth in corporate responsibility to the society and policies towards environmental consciousness has necessitated the need for comprehensive ESG integration into investment decision-making process and the impact of such activities on company‟s financial performance. Although, studies suggest that there is an increasing trend in ESG considerations among large-cap companies and public investors, little have been written about the link with private investors. Venture capital and private equity investors have an important role in shaping current innovative companies to become future leaders in the market and therefore posses the ability to influence entrepreneurs towards sustainability by incorporating ESG issues in their investment selection processes.

This study sought to find out if venture capital and private equity investors consider ESG issues in their activities and if so, do cultural and institutional contexts in which they operate have any effect on their considerations? We have used two of the most advanced venture capital and private equity industries in the world – USA and UK to analysed the response of this sector to ESG issues. Essential ESG factors have been coded using content analysis method for 122 companies from both countries relating to how they practise and integrate environmental, social and corporate governance issues into their investment decision process. Statistical multivariate analysis was conducted with SPSS to analyse data gathered.

Our findings revealed that in general venture capital and private equity investors are responding to calls for ESG considerations in their activities, with almost all studied companies reporting some form of ESG issues on their corporate website. However, majority of them are just at the initial stage of mentioning with little information on how it is been used as part of investment selection criteria. Results of the study also show that, investors in environmental related products and services (Cleantech) have higher levels of ESG considerations than other investors. An indication that investor‟s who finance innovative companies that provide solutions to current environmental problems do impact more positively on society.

In addition, findings also confirmed earlier studies that differences in cultural and institutional contexts between countries do affect behaviour and values of companies. Thus, a country with strong regulations and incentives towards sustainability will impact on corporate culture that will increase ESG considerations among venture capital and private equity investors.

Therefore, our study concluded that there is an appreciable levels of ESG consideration among venture capital and private equity investor‟s, however investors need to increase their considerations by committing more resources to environmental solutions and social issues such as clean technologies and community philanthropy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , 85 p.
Keyword [en]
ESG, Venture capital, Private equity, Responsible investing, Sustainability.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-45293OAI: diva2:428672
2011-06-01, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2011-07-01 Created: 2011-07-01 Last updated: 2011-07-01Bibliographically approved

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