The growing interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues is the result of a cultural path that sees banks react to market changes and become protagonists of an increasingly sustainable future. Based on these considerations, this paper intends to investigate the level of integration of sustainability issues in banks’ corporate governance systems. We carry out an exploratory analysis on all European systematically important banks during the period 2015–2019. By adopting the content analysis approach, we develop a novel governance score based on a research model made up of 40 items. We name the score: “Bank’s governance ESG (Environmental Social Governance) integrated index”. The main results of our study reveal not only growing awareness of banks to integrate sustainability in their corporate governance, but also a strong heterogeneity in their corporate behaviours and large rooms for improvement. Indeed, we find that just over half of the surveyed banks pay really attention to the integration of sustainability issues in their business and governance processes. This contribution is especially driven by the banks’ boards of directors, whose size and composition contribute positively to overall sustainable performance. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first empirical study that investigates the level of integration of ESG factors in the banking sector, developing a quantitative score ranging from 0 to 100%. This study differs from previous studies in that it develops an “Bank’s governance ESG integrated index”, which considers the areas of corporate governance that have the greatest impact on the implementation of sustainable practices in banks. Our research is limited to investigating the level of integration of ESG factors for listed banks over a 5-year period. In fact, our time horizon is represented by the four-year period 2015–2019. This research has practical implications. First, investors more attentive on sustainability issues could identify and select the banks that best implement ESG criteria in their corporate governance systems. Second, our research model could be adopted by banks as a “diagnostic tool” to carry out a self-assessment process and identify possible room for improvement.

The integration of sustainability in corporate governance systems: an innovative framework applied to the European systematically important banks

Dicuonzo G.;Donofrio F.;Iannuzzi A. P.;Dell'Atti V.
2022

Abstract

The growing interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues is the result of a cultural path that sees banks react to market changes and become protagonists of an increasingly sustainable future. Based on these considerations, this paper intends to investigate the level of integration of sustainability issues in banks’ corporate governance systems. We carry out an exploratory analysis on all European systematically important banks during the period 2015–2019. By adopting the content analysis approach, we develop a novel governance score based on a research model made up of 40 items. We name the score: “Bank’s governance ESG (Environmental Social Governance) integrated index”. The main results of our study reveal not only growing awareness of banks to integrate sustainability in their corporate governance, but also a strong heterogeneity in their corporate behaviours and large rooms for improvement. Indeed, we find that just over half of the surveyed banks pay really attention to the integration of sustainability issues in their business and governance processes. This contribution is especially driven by the banks’ boards of directors, whose size and composition contribute positively to overall sustainable performance. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first empirical study that investigates the level of integration of ESG factors in the banking sector, developing a quantitative score ranging from 0 to 100%. This study differs from previous studies in that it develops an “Bank’s governance ESG integrated index”, which considers the areas of corporate governance that have the greatest impact on the implementation of sustainable practices in banks. Our research is limited to investigating the level of integration of ESG factors for listed banks over a 5-year period. In fact, our time horizon is represented by the four-year period 2015–2019. This research has practical implications. First, investors more attentive on sustainability issues could identify and select the banks that best implement ESG criteria in their corporate governance systems. Second, our research model could be adopted by banks as a “diagnostic tool” to carry out a self-assessment process and identify possible room for improvement.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/391836
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