July 23, 2023
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In today's business landscape, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations have emerged as critical factors for corporate decision-making. Ignoring these factors can expose companies to various risks, impacting financial performance, reputation, and long-term sustainability. In this blog, we will explore the potential negative consequences of neglecting ESG considerations in corporate decision-making, specifically focusing on asset management, private equity, and corporates.

Asset Management

Neglecting ESG considerations in asset management can lead to significant risks.

Financial Performance

Numerous studies have demonstrated a positive correlation between strong ESG performance and financial outperformance. A meta-analysis of over 2,000 studies by Friede, Busch, and Bassen (2015) found that 90% of the reviewed studies showed a positive relationship between ESG factors and financial performance. (Friede, G., Busch, T., & Bassen, A. (2015). ESG and financial performance: aggregated evidence from more than 2000 empirical studies. Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, 5(4), 210-233.)

Regulatory Compliance

Governments worldwide are increasingly implementing ESG-related regulations. Non-compliance can result in legal consequences and financial penalties. For instance, the EU's Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) imposes reporting requirements on financial market participants to enhance transparency regarding ESG integration. (European Commission. (n.d.). Sustainable Finance)

Client Expectations

Investors are increasingly prioritizing ESG considerations. A survey conducted by Morgan Stanley (2020) found that 85% of individual investors were interested in sustainable investing. Neglecting ESG factors can lead to a mismatch between client expectations and investment strategies, potentially resulting in client dissatisfaction and loss of assets under management.

Private Equity

Neglecting ESG considerations in private equity firms presents specific risks.

Limited Exit Options

Institutional investors are increasingly focused on ESG considerations. A study by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that 79% of institutional investors consider ESG factors in their decision-making processes. Neglecting ESG can limit exit options, as potential buyers may be deterred by associated risks and reputation concerns.  (Boston Consulting Group. (2020). From Compliance to Courage in ESG)

Value Erosion

ESG-related issues discovered post-acquisition can erode the value of portfolio companies. Poor governance practices, labor disputes, or environmental liabilities can lead to significant financial and legal burdens. A study by Friede, Busch, and Bassen (2015) revealed that companies with weaker ESG performance had a higher cost of capital and lower valuation multiples.          (Friede, G., Busch, T., & Bassen, A. (2015). ESG and financial performance: aggregated evidence from more than 2000 empirical studies. Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, 5(4), 210-233.)

Regulatory and Compliance Risks

Regulatory and Compliance Risks: Neglecting ESG considerations exposes private equity firms to regulatory and compliance risks. Failure to address ESG factors can impact their ability to raise capital, attract investors, and meet stakeholder expectations. (Source: PwC. (2021). ESG: How are you managing the risks?


Ignoring ESG considerations in corporations exposes them to significant risks.

Reputation Damage

Negative ESG incidents can severely damage a company's reputation. The 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed that 81% of respondents globally said that they must be able to trust the company to do what is right. Examples of reputation damage include the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which significantly impacted BP's reputation and financial performance. (Source: Edelman. (2021). Edelman Trust Barometer 2021. )

Operational Disruptions

Neglecting ESG factors can lead to operational disruptions. For instance, violations of environmental regulations can result in production halts, fines, and supply chain disruptions. Volkswagen's emission scandal in 2015 led to significant operational and financial consequences, including billions of dollars in fines and reputation damage. (Reuters. (2020)

Talent Attraction and Retention

Employees increasingly seek purpose-driven and socially responsible organisations. According to Deloitte's Global Millennial Survey 2020, 76% of millennials believe that business can have a positive impact on society. Neglecting ESG considerations can hinder talent attraction and retention, leading to increased recruitment costs and a less engaged workforce. (Deloitte. (2020). The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey)


Neglecting ESG considerations in corporate decision-making poses significant risks for asset management firms, corporates, and private equity firms. From financial underperformance and reputation damage to regulatory non-compliance and talent retention challenges, the negative consequences of neglecting ESG can have far-reaching impacts. Embracing ESG principles and integrating them into decision-making processes is not only a responsible approach but also a strategic move to mitigate risks, enhance long-term performance, and drive sustainable growth. By prioritising ESG considerations, financial professionals can navigate the evolving landscape, build resilient businesses, and contribute to a more sustainable future.