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Corporate ESG performance as good insurance in times of crisis: lessons from US stock market during COVID-19 pandemic

Mouna Moalla (FSEGS, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)
Saida Dammak (IHEC, Carthage University, Tunis, Tunisia)

Journal of Global Responsibility

ISSN: 2041-2568

Article publication date: 26 January 2023

Issue publication date: 31 October 2023




The COVID-19 outbreak and its confinement resulted in an unexpected stock market crash, hence the interest in environmental, social and governance (hereafter, ESG) policies. This paper aims to examine the association between ESG performance and stock market volatility before and after the COVID-19 pandemic.


This paper examined 500 US companies listed in the S&P 500. The window period volatility refers to March 18, 2020, when the US President signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Here, the Thomson Reuters database was used to collect ESG data and daily market information.


The findings suggest that companies with high ESG performance have lower stock price volatility than companies with poor ESG performance. In other words, strong ESG performance reduces stock price volatility resulting from the COVID-19 shock and promotes resilience and stock price stability.

Practical implications

This research contributes to current debates on emerging pandemics and unexpected risks and highlights the need to invest more in improving corporate sustainability.


The results have substantial implications for managers and investors, as it highlights the relevance of customer and investor loyalty to the durability of ESG stocks.



Moalla, M. and Dammak, S. (2023), "Corporate ESG performance as good insurance in times of crisis: lessons from US stock market during COVID-19 pandemic", Journal of Global Responsibility, Vol. 14 No. 4, pp. 381-402.



Emerald Publishing Limited

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