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Global drivers for ESG performance: the body of knowledge

Daugaard, D ORCID: 0000-0001-6000-0158 and Ding, A 2022 , 'Global drivers for ESG performance: the body of knowledge' , Sustainability, vol. 14, no. 4 , pp. 1-21 , doi:

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Progress on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues is vastly different depending where in the world you look. However, the literature on what drives ESG performance is highly fragmented and current theories fail to offer useful insights into the disparity in ESG performance. Hence, this study draws upon an accumulated body of knowledge of ESG-related literature and explores the major drivers of ESG performance. By applying a scientific and replicable methodology of systematic literature review, this article reveals the fundamental debate underpinning ESG responsibility, the breath of pertinent stakeholders, the theories necessary to understand ESG management and the conditions which will best achieve ESG progress. The major themes help inform the most effective choice of mechanisms to improve ESG outcomes. However, there are also significant themes not yet fully developed in the literature. Future research is urgently needed on the impact of economic development, regulatory environment and responsible investing on ESG outcomes. These research trajectories hold important implications for investment management, corporate strategy and government policies affecting global ESG performance.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Daugaard, D and Ding, A
Keywords: environmental, social and governance, systematic literature review, responsible investment
Journal or Publication Title: Sustainability
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2071-1050
DOI / ID Number:
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© 2022. The Authors. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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