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Academic Signatories

Academic Leaders Affirm Commitment to Assessing Environmental, Social and Governance Factors as Part of Fiduciary Duty

Dear federal and state policy makers, 


We the undersigned faculty and researchers are writing to express our concern about the nature of attacks on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) screening, sustainable investing and stakeholder capitalism. Critics argue that investors should not have access to ESG information about companies they invest in. We think they should. Disclosure is not political; it is a tool to make sure markets work properly.  


Many of us have researched these topics for years and have examined how best to protect investors from the risks presented by financially material impacts caused by climate change, water scarcity and economic inequality amongst other challenges affecting our workforces, supply chains, business models and capital markets.  


We are already seeing the consequences of climate change: extreme weather damages reached more than $165 billion in the U.S. in 2022.  In fact, while the 1980–2022 annual average is 7.8 events (CPI-adjusted); the U.S. has seen a significant rise in the annual average in the last 5 years (2017–2022) to 17.9 events, while climate models predict increasing losses from more frequent and extreme weather-related disasters. 


ESG is a framework used to assess the current or potential impact of issues that affect a company’s bottom line to ensure that the company and its shareholders are adequately protected against risk and/or taking advantage of related new business opportunities.  Corporate leaders and investors have measured and managed these factors for decades.  Investors want early signals of whether a company is a good manager of material ESG issues to be good fiduciaries. Opposing disclosure makes it more likely markets will fail, because real costs and risks are not priced in. 


Critics have pointed to the lack of credibility of corporate claims about ESG performance. However, strides are being made.  U.S. and international regulators are working on regulatory frameworks to ensure that corporate claims are credible and vetted.  These improvements are needed to ensure ESG reporting provides useful market signals.   


In a world where shocks from climate change, water scarcity and poverty drive negative impacts for people and the bottom line, taxpayers, shareholders and pensioners need science-based efforts to ensure that asset managers are embracing their fiduciary duty to protect the long-term viability of shareholder returns.   


In the hopes that our research into ESG will be of help in understanding its strengths and weaknesses, we have linked some academic work below: 


What ESG Is and Is Not: 

Turning Down the Heat on the ESG Debate: Separating Material Risk Disclosures from Salient Political Issues 

ESG, Stakeholder Governance and the Duty of a Corporation 

ESG Reports are Not a Substitute for Sustainability 

Rescuing ESG From the Culture Wars 

Rethinking Environmental/Social/Governance Metrics for the Mainstream Investor 

ESG and Financial Returns: 

Meta-Analysis on the Correlation between ESG and Financial Performance 

How Sustainability Drives Improved Corporate Performance 

Five Ways That ESG Creates Value 

Corporate Goodness and Shareholder Wealth 

How Media Coverage of Corporate Social Irresponsibility Increases Financial Risk 


The True Cost of States Banning Investors with ESG Policies: 

Financial Costs of Banning ESG Policies 


The Need for Stakeholder Capitalism 

Edward Freeman on Business and Its Stakeholders 

Spinning Gold:  The Financial Returns to Stakeholder Management 


We stand ready to provide more research and insights for policy discussions.

Ajai Gaur, Rutgers University, Professor and Chair

Alison Taylor, NYU Stern School of Business, Clinical Associate Professor

Andrew Karolyi, Cornell University, SC Johnson College of Business, Professor of Finance & Dean

Anne Jacqueminet, Bocconi University, Assistant Professor

Annmarie Urso, SUNY-Geneseo, Associate Professor

Benjamin K Haywood, Furman University, Associate Director, Faculty Development Center

Benyamin Lichtenstein, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Prof. of Entrepreneurship and Management

Bevin Ashenmiller, Occidental College, Professor of Economics

Bram van der Kroft, Maastricht University, PhD Candidate

Brian E Robinson, McGill University, Associate Professor

Bruce Usher, Columbia Business School, Professor of Practice

Caleb Gallemore, Lafayette College, Associate Professor

Calli Vander Wilde, University of Michigan, PhD Candidate

Cary Krosinsky, Brown University, NYU, & Yale University, Lecturer

Caryl Waggett, Allegheny College, Professor of Global Health Studies

Catherine Valentine, Monarch Business School, PhD Candidate

Claire Rapp, Oregon State University, Postdoctoral Researcher

Claudio RizziI, ESE Business School, Assistant Professor of Finance

Craig Landry, University of Georgia, Professor of Natural Resource Economics

Cristian Ramos, Bard College, Assistant Director

Cristiano Zazzara, NYU Stern School of Business, Adjunct Professor of Finance

Daina Mazutis, University of Ottawa, Telfer School of Management, Associate Professor of Strategy

Dan Esty, Yale School for the Environment, Yale Law School Hillhouse Professor and Director of Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy

Dan Smith, Bard College, Energy Manager

Daniel L Vermeer, Duke University, Associate Professor of the Practice

Daniel R. DiLeo, Creighton University, Justice & Peace Studies Program, Director & Associate Professor

Danielle Warren, Rutgers University, Professor

David G. Henderson, Western Carolina University, Associate Professor

David Krantz Arizona State University, Doctoral Researcher

Dr. Laura Henry-Stone, University of Lynchburg, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences and Sustainability

Dr. Robert Strand, University of California-Berkeley, Haas School of Business, Executive Director, Center for Responsible Business

Eban Goodstein, Bard College, Director

Elizabeth Demers, University of Waterloo, Professor

Eric Jamelske, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Professor of Economics

Feng Gao, Rutgers Business School, Associate Professor

Frank J. Byrne, SUNY Oswego, Professor of History

Gary A. Gomby, Central Connecticut State University, Lecturer

Gernot Wagner, Columbia Business School, Climate Economist & Senior Lecturer

Glen Dowell, Cornell University, Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management

Haynes C. Goddard, University of Cincinnati, Department of Economics, Professor of Economics, Emeritus

Ian Kwant, University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, Erb Institute, Student-Alumni Affairs Coordinator

Jack Tessier, SUNY-Delhi, Professor of Biology

Jae C. Jung, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Bloch School of Management, Associate Professor

Jan Kunnas, University of Oulu, Associate Professor of Ecological Economic History

Janice Shade, Bard College, Adjunct Professor, Accounting and the Integrated Bottom Line, Sustainable Finance

Jason Jay, MIT Sloan School of Management, Senior Lecturer

Jason Wong, Occidental College, Assistant Professor

Jeana Wirtenberg, Rutgers Business School, Associate Professor of Professional Practice

Jeffrey York, University of Colorado Boulder, Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Jennifer Kleindienst, Wesleyan University, Sustainability Director

Jessica Gilbert-Overland, SUNY Geneseo, PRODiG Postdoctoral Fellow

Joanne Ciulla, Rutgers Business School, Professor Director of the Institute for Ethical Leadership

Joel Harmon, Fairleigh Dicksinson University, Professor of Management

Joelle Kanyana, University of Pittsburgh, ESG Literacy Program Manager

Joerg S. Hofstetter, KEDGE Business School, Professor

John M Kerr, Michigan State University, Professor

Julia Kress, Houston Community College, Adjunct Professor of History & Rice University, Senior Electronic Resources Assistant

Karen Patterson, University of New Mexico, Associate Professor

Katharine Sims, Amherst College, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies

Keith Landa, SUNY, University Faculty Senate President

Kenneth W. Foster, Concordia College, Professor

Klaus Weber, Northwestern University, Professor of Management and Organizations

Kristianna Bowles, Rice University, Sustainability Program Coordinator

Laura Gitman, Bard College, Faculty, Consulting and Strategy

Lawrence Baxter, Duke Law School, David T. Zhang Professor

Leah S. Horowitz, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Assistant Professor

Lenore Kantor, Bard College, Lecturer, Career Development

Lisa Tessier, SUNY, Professor

M. Jahi Chappell, Michigan State University, WK Kellogg Foundation Endowed Chair & Professor

Madhu Khanna, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Manjit Monga, University of South Australia, Lecturer

Maria Jose Murcia, Universidad Austral, Argentina, Associate Professor

Markus Taussig, Rutgers Business School, Associate Professor

Matt Burnett, SUNY-Canton, Professor, Campus Governance Leader

Maxwell A. Sherman, MIT Sloan School of Management, PhD Candidate

Mette Morsing, UN PRME Principles of Responsible Management Education, Professor & Head

Michael H. Shuman, Bard College, Adjunct Professor, MBA Program

Michael Kaplowitz, Michigan State University, Professor

Michael L. Barnett, Rutgers Business, School, Dean’s Research Professor

Michelle de Nevers, University of California – Berkeley, Lecturer, Executive Director of Sustainability

Mook Bangalore, London School of Economics, PhD Candidate

Nadia Ameli, University College London, Principal Research Fellow Amelia Miazad, University of California-Davis, School of Law, Acting Professor of Law

Nancy DiTomaso, Rutgers Business School, Distinguished Professor

Neil Leary, Dickinson College, Director, Center for Sustainability Education

Noa Gafni, Rutgers Business School, Institute for Corporate Social Innovation, Executive Director

Olivier Boiral, Université Laval, Full Professor

Pankaj Lal, Montclair State University, Clean Energy and Sustainability Analytics Center, Professor & Director

Peter Dawson Buck, Penn State University, Sustainability Institute, Local Climate Action Program, Co-Director

Peter J. Jacques, University of Central Florida, Professor

Peter Tufano, Harvard Business School, Baker Foundation Professor & Harvard University

Pierre Tapie, ESSEC Business School, Former Dean & President

R.J. Multari, SUNY-Buffalo, University Faculty Senator

Rachel Kowal, NYU Stern School of Business, Clinical Professor of Business Law, Associate Director Business & Society Program

Ranjit Bawa, University of New Hampshire, Visiting Assistant Professor

Rebecca Henderson, Harvard Business School, John and Natty McArthur University Professor

Richard S. Feldman, Marist College, Chair & Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy

Rimi Zakaria, Associate Professor of Management, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

Robert B. Richardson, Michigan State University, Professor

Robert Eccles, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, Visiting Professor of Management Practice

Ronni Gura Sadovsky, Trinity University, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Rosa Oppenheim, Rutgers Business School, Professor & Vice Chair, Department of Supply Chain Management

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor of Business Administration

Roxane Beigel-Coryell, California State University Channel Islands, Director of Sustainability & Energy

Runi Mukherji, SUNY-Old Westbury, Professor, Department of Psychology

Ryan W. Taylor, Purchase College, SUNY, Associate Professor

Salata Institute for Climate, Sustainability Senior Advisor

Salma Monani, Gettysburg College, Professor

Sara Soderstrom, University of Michigan, Associate Professor

Sarah Jacobson, Williams College, Professor of Economics

Shana McDermott, Trinity University, Associate Professor

Shannon Switzer, California State University San Marcos, Assistant Professor of the Environment

Sharon Moran, SUNY Environmental Science & Forestry, Associate Professor

Shiva Rajgopal, Columbia Business School, Kester and Byrnes Professor

Sunny L Jardine, University of Washington, Associate Professor

Susan Caplow, University of Montevallo, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Susanne Moser, Antioch University of New England, Research Faculty

Tamara L. Sheldon, University of South Carolina, Associate Professor

Tensie Whelan, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, Professor, Founding Director

Terri Kurtzberg, Rutgers University, Professor of Management and Global Business

Terry Nelidov, University of Michigan, Managing Director, Erb Institute

Thomas P. Lyon, University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, Professor & Erb Institute, Faculty Director

Timothy Koechlin, Vassar College, Director, International Studies Program

Timothy M. Smith, University of Minnesota, Professor, Sustainable Systems Management & International Business

Todd Cort, Yale School of Management, Senior Lecturer

Tom Tietenberg, Colby College, Mitchell Family Professor

Tony He, Rutgers Business School, Assistant Professor

Tunç DurmazYildiz Technical University, Associate Professor

W. Douglass Shaw, Texas A&M University, Professor Emeritus

Wayne B. Gray, Clark University, Professor of Economics

Wayne Eastman, Rutgers Business School, Professor

Wendy Gordon, SUNY Plattsburgh, Professor

William R Moomaw, Tufts University, Professor Emeritus

William Woo, Northeastern University, Professor, Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Winston Hovekamp, Yale University, PhD Candidate

Witold J Henisz, University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, Vice Dean and Faculty Director, ESG Initiative; Deloitte & Touche Professor of Management