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Do environment, social and governance performance impact credit ratings: a study from India

Sonali Bhattacharya (Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Symbiosis International University, Pune, India)
Dipasha Sharma (Symbiosis Centre for Management and Human Resource Development, Symbiosis International University, Pune, India)

International Journal of Ethics and Systems

ISSN: 2514-9369

Article publication date: 27 June 2019

Issue publication date: 22 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of environment, social and governance (ESG) disclosure on credit ratings of companies in India.

Design/methodology/approach

Firms under study are listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) 500 and represent almost 93 per cent of the total market capitalization on BSE. This study considers a sample of 122 firms from a population of 500 to examine the relationship between ESG scores and Credit Rating. The scope of this study is confined to those firms listed on the S&P BSE 500 which have made ESG disclosures and were rated by various credit rating agencies like Crisil, ICRA and CARE. Data were sourced from Bloomberg. Ratings were given in ascending order. In the first model, credit rating was used as predicted variable; ESG score as predictor variable and market capitalization, net debt to equity, and total debt to asset as control considering the ordered nature of dependent variable in the study, ordered logistic regression was applied. It was repeated taking individual scores on environment rating, social rating and governance rating as predictors. The authors further segregated the 122 selected firms into large, medium and low capital firms and assessed separate logistic regression models taking credit rating as the predicted variable and overall ESG score as the predictor.

Findings

It was found that overall ESG performance and performance of individual components (environment, social and financial variables such as market capitalization, and debt to equity ratio) had significant positive indicators of creditworthiness as measured through credit rating. Governance score had a positive and insignificant relation with credit rating. Market capitalization was observed to have significant direct relationship with credit worthiness. On the other hand, number of independent directors in companies showed significant inverse relationship with creditworthiness. ESG significantly impacted credit rating in the desired direction only for small- and middle-level firms; for large firms which already had higher credit rating, ESG showed no effect. It was also found that credit rating itself determined significantly the extent of overall ESG reporting and disclosure of its components.

Originality/value

This is unique study that covers the aspects of ESG reports and its impact on credit rating.

Keywords

Citation

Bhattacharya, S. and Sharma, D. (2019), "Do environment, social and governance performance impact credit ratings: a study from India", International Journal of Ethics and Systems, Vol. 35 No. 3, pp. 466-484. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOES-09-2018-0130

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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