2020 Moskowitz Prize Awarded to Research That Demonstrates Shareholders Can Influence a Firm’s Real Environmental Impact

The Moskowitz Prize builds on a legacy of identifying research whose findings have the potential to influence the future of the practice of responsible finance.
Nov 19, 2020 12:30 PM ET
Press Release

November 19, 2020 /3BL Media/ - From a field of over 100 submitted papers, The Real Effects of Environmental Activism was selected as the winner of the 2020 Moskowitz Prize at Northwestern University. This honor for outstanding and important research in sustainable finance was this year bestowed on authors Lakshmi Naaraayanan from London Business School, Kunal Sachdeva from Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business, and Varun Sharma from London Business School.

The Moskowitz Prize, now in its 25th year, annually selects a winning paper that exhibits empirical excellence and possesses the potential to inform responsible business and investing practices in the real world.

“The Moskowitz Prize winners have been some of the most influential people in ESG and sustainable finance,” says David Chen, a professor of finance and the faculty lead of impact investing at the Kellogg School of Management. “Timing is everything. The topics covered by the Moskowitz Prize are now at the heart of the finance and investment world.”

By selecting The Real Effects of Environmental Activism, the Moskowitz Prize builds on a legacy of identifying research whose findings have the potential to influence the future of the practice of responsible finance.

The Real Effects of Environmental Activist Investing

With The Real Effect of Environmental Activist Investing Naaraayanan, Sachdeva, and Sharma set out to ascertain whether shareholder voice can have a meaningful effect on the actual environmental behavior of firms. Their answer was a resounding yes. By examining the New York City Pension System's Boardroom Accountability Project alongside plant-level emissions data, the paper establishes that shareholder activism led to a significant reduction in toxic chemical releases.

The paper represents a meaningful and novel contribution to knowledge on the firm-level behavior that activists can sway by exercising voice, what corporate externalities and risks shareholders have the potential to influence, and under what conditions persuasion might be a viable strategy for mitigating climate change.

Read the Moskowitz Prize Research Brief to learn more about the practical implications of the Real Effects of Environmental Activism.

Support for the Moskowitz Prize

The relevance of the Moskowitz Prize to industry is reflected in its sponsors. This year the Prize was supported by six financial institutions, led by premier sponsors Bailard, Breckinridge Capital Advisors, and the Calvert Institute for Responsible Investing.

These organizations are global leaders in the practice of sustainable finance, and their support for the Moskowitz Prize makes significant contributions to the academic research that underpins the field.

More About the Moskowitz Prize at Northwestern University

The Moskowitz Prize is named for Milton Moskowitz (1932-2019), one of the field’s first and most innovative investigators, whose pioneering legacy continues through the Moskowitz Prize. Moskowitz rose to prominence through his ‘100 Best Companies to Wok For’ lists, one of the most influential early incentives for responsible corporate governance, and an early examination of the relationship between responsible practices and financial returns.

In 2020 the Moskowitz Prize became an initiative of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. First presented in 1996 by the U.S. Social Investment Forum, the Prize was founded Lloyd Kurtz, currently head of social impact investing at Wells Fargo Private Wealth Management and a Visiting Scholar at Kellogg. The Moskowitz Prize was awarded by UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business from 2005-2019.

Judging for the Moskowitz Prize is completed by a panel of some of the world’s most accomplished sustainable finance researchers and practitioners. In 2020, the panel was comprised of sixteen judges from universities and financial firms from all over the world.

Learn more about the Moskowitz Prize here or sign up to receive future Moskowitz Prize announcements.

More About Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

The Kellogg School of Management is a global business school with a vibrant community of faculty, staff, students and alumni who shape the practice of business and organizations around the world. Kellogg brings a blend of theory and practice to its rigorous academic experience, creating a dynamic research and learning environment. Kellogg’s purpose is to educate, equip and inspire brave leaders who build strong organizations and wisely leverage the power of markets to create lasting value.

Media Contact:

Devin Rapson
Senior Manager of Social Impact
Kellogg School of Management

Source: Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management