Sustainable Finance & Long-Term Value Creation

We are looking for a full time PhD researcher who will perform research on sustainable finance in connection to one of the research themes pursued by the Erasmus Platform for Sustainable Value Creation.

The Platform for Sustainable Value Creation is an initiative of RSM. The Platform provides a broad network of several leading academic experts working together with some large financial institutions and NGO’s within the financial sector. The aim is to foster thought-leadership, meaningful debate and to accelerate research on sustainable finance. The Platform would like to extend its research capacity on financial sustainability (climate, environmental, social) risks and opportunities.

Keywords

Sustainable finance, sustainable investments, ESG, long-term value creation, engagement, climate change, climate risk, energy transition, UN sustainable development goals, Paris agreement.

Topic

Sustainability as a core theme in RSM’s mission

RSM aims to be ‘a force for positive change’. If we want to meet the UN Sustainability Goals and the Paris Agreement (the importance of which was recently emphasized by the 2018 IPCC-report), structural and radical transitions are needed within societies, governments and industries. This asks for an integrated and transdisciplinary approach, also within the financial industry.

Sustainable finance

The current economic system is based on linear growth and consumption. Planetary resources however are limited and running out. To keep the planet liveable for current and future generations (without compromising their needs), the prevailing paradigm is untenable and asks for change. This, in short, sums up the need for a sustainable economy, to which the financial sector can be a driving force.

Long-term value creation

Especially within neo-classical finance theory it has proven to be difficult to address the most important sustainability challenges adequately. The prevalent model is designed to (mainly) maximize short-term results and to (mostly) address shareholders. One of the biggest challenges for the financial sector is to take a more integrated and long-term approach, add value in the long run and to find more connection to the real economy.

PhD research: an open proposal

This is an open proposal: we are looking for candidates who want to perform research in sustainable finance. Topics can vary from climate change risks and opportunities, sustainable investment, sustainable lending, long-term value creation, engagement strategies, sustainable monetary policy, the effects and challenges of the energy transition within finance, ESG-research, integration of the UN Sustainable Developments Goals within finance, systems perspective on sustainable development and finance, and so on.

Examples

To help candidates get an idea of the type of research we are looking for, we have listed a few of current issues (not limitative) within sustainable finance. One of those issues is the validation and rating of transition-preparedness within companies, i.e.: how can investors rate the preparedness of companies on sustainability? Another issue is the measurement of carbon footprints for portfolios on the level of scope 3 emissions. Also the development of new methodologies for impact and progress measurement within investment portfolios is a material research issue. Obviously, there are numerous other research topics to be formulated. 

Selection

Candidates are selected on the basis of their proposed topics, their professional qualifications, their motivation and the extent to which this fits to the objective of the Platform for Sustainable Value Creation.

Approach

Depends on the proposal. The research can be theoretical and/or empirical. An interdisciplinary approach is possible.

If empirical: data collection (possibly in close collaboration with one or more of the platform’s partners) and cleaning, using and combining existing financial databases. Empirical analyses and interpretation.

If theoretical: new models and concepts, extending and building on existing body of theory from finance and/or other fields.

Required Profile

Candidates should have a strong background in finance, business or economics and should have excellent results in their first degree/graduate study. Candidates should have an explicit interest in and motivation for scientific research. Further, candidates should be fluent in English. Candidates should have a strong interest in finance, but not necessarily an MSc or MPhil degree in finance since the PhD program involves a thorough curriculum of finance courses. GMAT-test (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE-test (Graduate Record Examinations) results not older than five years. An indication of the required score is 85%. Applicants have to provide either TOEFL or IELTS test results. A TOEFL score of at least 100 on the internet based test and 600 on the paper based test. For IELTS we apply a minimum score of 7.5. The language test results should not be older than two years.

Expected output

The project will result in three to four articles, that will be targeted for publication in the top finance journals (ERIM P, P* list). In addition, a PhD thesis will be completed that combines these articles.

Cooperation

The Erasmus Platform for Sustainable Value Creation and its partners. See also:

www.rsm.nl/sustainable-value

Societal relevance

The challenges that the financial sector meets within the sustainability discourse, are of pivotal importance for society as a whole and the planet. The financial sector is a driving force behind business, industries, societies and governments. As such, the transition towards more sustainable finance, will be of accelerating importance in creating a sustainable future.

Scientific relevance

Research on the main sustainability challenges within finance can be expected to have important implications for both academic literature as well as for practical issues within the financial industry.

Literature references

Schoenmaker, D. and Schramade, W. (2019), Principles of Sustainable Finance. Oxford University Press.

De Dreu CKW and Van Dijk MA (2018) Climatic shocks associate with innovation in science and technology. PLoS ONE 13(1): e0190122.

Schoenmaker, Dirk and Schramade, Willem, Investing for Long-Term Value Creation (September 13, 2018). Erasmus Platform for Sustainable Value Creation Working Paper 1.

Hart, O. and L. Zingales (2017), ‘Companies should maximize shareholder welfare not market value’, CEPR Discussion Paper, DP12186. 

Andersson, M., P. Bolton, and F. Samama (2016), ‘Hedging climate risk’, Financial Analysts Journal, 72(3): 13–32.

Dimson, E., O. Karakaş, and X. Li (2015), ‘Active ownership’, Review of Financial Studies, 28(12): 3225–68.