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Vigeo Eiris News - 19/06/2012

Research: Does CSR rating throw a new light on companies’ financial performance?

Three French academics of the CERAG (1) were awarded during the 11th International Governance Conference in Lyon on May 24th and 25th, by the Academic Governance International Association (AAIG) for their work on the CSR dimensions that matter for financial investors.

Logo CERAG, Partenariat Vigeo Eiris


The Award was given to Isabelle Girerd-Potin (2), Sonia Jimenez-Garcès (3) and Pascal Louvet (2) from CERAG for their article entitled: «Which dimensions of social responsibility concern financial investors?».

This award was given by the organizers of the Conference, Pierre-Yves Gomez and Peter Wirtz and by the academic chair of “Alter-Governance” represented by Xavier Hollandts.

This research is based on the ratings and analysis of Vigeo, partner of CERAG since 2004.

It deals with the links between CSR performance, profitability of financial investments and financial cost of companies. It relies on a sample of 816 companies, rated by Vigeo between December 2003 and December 2010.

It highlights three dimensions of the companies’ commitments towards their stakeholders:

  • the “direct non-financial” stakeholders (human resources, customers and suppliers, human rights),
  • the “indirect” stakeholders (environment and civil society),
  • and the “financial” stakeholders (governance quality).

The authors highlight the fact that investors demand a significantly higher profitability for companies for which insurance levels expressed by Vigeo are low, compared to the companies which CSR responsibility are more convincing.

If this phenomenon can be observed from the scores granted by Vigeo on the three CSR dimensions identified by CERAG researchers, they add that the risk premium is clearly more important when it comes to sanction the under-performance towards the direct stakeholders (human capital, human rights, customers, suppliers, customers and market ethics).

This dimension is evaluated by Vigeo on 15 criteria dealing with the respect of human rights on the workplace and in the society, the respect for freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, the non-discrimination , the responsible management of the restructurings, the continuous improvement of working conditions, the respect for customer rights and interests, the prevention of social and environmental dumping in the supply chain , and the prevention of corruption.


(1)CERAG : French Applied Research Centre on Management of Pierre Mendès France University in Grenoble
(2) Isabelle Girerd-Potin and Pascal Louvet are both finance teachers at IAE Grenoble and investigators at CERAG laboratory.
(3) Sonia Jimenez-Garcès is a finance teacher at Lumière Lyon 2 University and investigator at CoActis laboratory.
* The study is only available in English.


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Keywords : Rating, World