Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Economic and Political Studies
For a Special Issue on
ESG in China and Beyond
31 December 2023
ESG in China and Beyond
Over the past two decades, there has been a growing focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues among various stakeholders, including shareholders, institutional investors, financial analysts, debtholders, and regulators (Amiraslani et al., 2021; Krueger et al., 2020; Flammer, 2021; Dyck et al., 2019; Ioannou and Serafeim, 2015; Becchetti et al., 2012; Hasan et al., 2017; SEC, 2022). The dot-com bubble and the global financial crisis of 2008 acted as catalysts, intensifying the interest in socially responsible investing (SRI). Financial institutions were blamed for the financial crisis, as their lack of governance and emphasis on short-term profits were scrutinized. At the same time, investors became increasingly aware of ESG-related issues, recognizing the risks associated with neglecting them. Consequently, there was a demand for ESG products and a deliberate integration of social responsibility into investment decisions.
Prominent ESG-related controversies, such as the Enron financial reporting scandal, Volkswagen emissions scandal, and Facebook data privacy breaches, further highlighted the significance of ESG risks. By the end of March 2022, more than 4,902 institutional investors, with an estimated asset under management (AUM) totaling $121.3 trillion, had pledged their commitment to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). This commitment entails considering environmental, social, and governance factors in investment decision-making and ownership. The number of new signatories has shown significant growth in regions such as China (71%), Asia excluding Japan and China (54%), Latin America excluding Brazil (34%), and Brazil (30%). Additionally, climate change, the energy crisis, and the net zero emissions goals by 2050 set by the Climate Change Conference (COP27) 2022 meeting highlight the pressing need to transition to a fair, responsible, and sustainable economy.
The ongoing evolution of ESG in China presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. For instance, while China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG), it is simultaneously recognized as a global leader in renewable energy investment. A vital policy commitment by President Xi Jinping sets the stage for a greener future, aiming for a peak in CO2 emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. Further, rapid urbanization and industrialization in recent decades have led to prominent social challenges, including labor health and safety issues and population displacement. On the governance front, there has been a noticeable increase in the commitment of Chinese regulators to enhance these corporate governance standards.
Hence, an in-depth and thoughtful discourse on China's ESG scenario is crucial in framing comprehensive guidance for companies and policymakers toward sustainable management and efficient policy designs. Such a rigorous examination allows us to pinpoint areas requiring enhancement, spotlight commendable practices, and involve many stakeholders. This discussion will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable practices within China, aligning corporate conduct with international norms, and guiding policy decisions toward a more sustainable future.
The Economic and Political Studies journal is pleased to invite submissions of high-quality research papers addressing topical research questions in the broad areas of ESG with a particular focus on the Chinese economy. Submissions of documents employing novel research methods or data will be particularly welcomed.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- Innovations in ESG metrics and their impact on firm performance.
- Incentives surrounding ESG disclosure and initiatives.
- ESG integration in investment decision-making processes.
- Real effects of ESG and investing on firm behaviors (i.e., institutional ownership, activism)
- Regulatory pressures and the advancement of ESG strategies.
- Firms' ESG attributes and firm risk
- Benefits and pitfalls of the ESG metrics, measurement issues, proxies for environmental, social, and governance dimensions, and matters regarding transparency and reliability.
Manuscripts should be prepared by the guidelines prescribed by Economic and Political Studies. Please submit your papers via the online submission system of the journal. Choose the particular "special issue" option "ESG in China and Beyond" during submission. The deadline for paper submission is December 31, 2023.
Guest Editor: Iftekhar Hasan, Fordham University.