The effects of war on ESG strategies and market performance
: an event study on the Russia-Ukraine war

  • Gonçalo Freitas Oliveira (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The principles of ESG investing have become a staple of the intricacies that surround the capital markets and firms’ risk-hedging policies. This event study focuses on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and aims to shed some light on to what extent are ESG principles and strategies resilient in times of uncertainty and whether firms will rely on a strengthened ESG policy detaching themselves from any links to aggressor markets or will risk continuing to tread the muddy waters of geopolitical conflicts, by maintaining their operations in aggressor markets untouched. To do so, the data of 239 firms that publicly announced their decision regarding the maintenance or withdrawal from Russian markets was collected for the year 2021. Our results show that the ESG score has a significant role in the decision that firms make to either remain or abandon aggressor markets, as firms with higher ESG scores will tend to abandon aggressor markets. Furthermore, our results show that bigger firms are more likely to remain. Our results also show that the geopolitical risk premium has a significant effect in the short run, which can be mitigated by a robust ESG policy, and that the decision of leaving or remaining in aggressor markets bears no influence on the abnormal returns registered, possibly due to the premium that investors are willing to pay for companies’ sustainable finance decisions. Lastly, the ESG score also did not present a significant relation to companies’ abnormal returns.
Date of Award18 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorRicardo Cunha (Supervisor)


  • ESG
  • War
  • Geopolitics
  • Russia
  • Financial markets


  • Mestrado em Finanças

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