The IMAP seeks to foster collaboration on its research projects both across various academic departments, and between academics and industry professionals.  One way in which we are encouraging such interactions is via our monthly lunch seminars.  Those who join, either in-person or via web, should not expect to simply watch anonymously, but rather engage in the discussion and meet others interested in similar topics.

What: A monthly lunchtime presentation and discussion of IMAP-relevant research
Who: academics and industry professionals
Why: To promote interdisciplinary exchange of ideas around ESG challenges and ensure academic research is informed-by and relevant-to industry
Where: A hybrid of in-person on the BU campus and via zoom

We hope industry affiliates in the Boston area will join us in-person.

If you are interested in participating in these seminars, please register below.


Upcoming Seminars

June 15 – The 51 Percent Project & Finance Professionals

People in finance are smack dab at the center of the clean-energy transition, as trillions of dollars shift to clean energy with unprecedented volume. The 51 Percent Project IMAP presentation will be specially targeted to professionals who control these money flows, and to the rest us who are inextricably associated with them – as investors, customers, academics, and even as community members, friends, and family.

The 51 Percent Project’s name references the growing majority of Americans who now say they are seriously concerned about the threat of climate change. The Project’s extensive research identifies climate communication principles from the experts to provide guidance to scientists and communicators on all levels – including within our major financial institutions and business more broadly – and accelerate broad support for climate policies and solutions.

Sarah Finnie Robinson, IMAP Senior Fellow

Past Seminars

April 2023 – ESG Risk Disclosures: The Predictive Ability of SASB Recommendations versus Industry Best Practice

This project examines the predictive ability of ESG risk disclosures. We use a textual analysis-based approach to derive measures assessing firms’ material ESG risk disclosures with respect to two benchmarks: SASB recommendations, discerned through analysis of the Materiality Map applied to the risk factors section of firms’ 10-Ks; and industry best practice, discerned using the ESG risks disclosed by the majority of the industry’s largest firms. Descriptively, we document (i) considerable variation in the degree to which firms’ ESG disclosures are consistent with SASB recommendations; (ii) that firms disclose as material a large number of ESG risk factors deemed immaterial per the SASB recommendations; and (iii) that firm disclosures of material ESG risks are more consistent with industry best practice. We find that two left-tail ESG outcomes—subsequent year ESG penalties and incidents—are predicted by firm material ESG risk disclosures that are consistent with industry best practice, but not by disclosed ESG risks deemed as material per the SASB framework. Overall, the results suggest that for left-tail ESG outcomes, the strongest predictive ability lies within ESG items outside of (within) those denoted as material per SASB (per industry market leaders).

Eddie Riedl, John F. Smith Jr. Professor in Management; Professor of Accounting; Department Chair, Accounting at Boston University
Estelle Yuan Sun, Dean’s Research Scholar; Associate Professor, Accounting at Boston University
Aliya Korganbekova, PhD Student in Accounting at Boston University

March 2023- Business Risks due to Biodiversity Loss in Indonesia

Our research examines certified and non-certified palm oil plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. Using remotely sensed Landsat data, we examine deforestation trends from 2000 to 2020. Further, we spatially correlate the deforestation loss with the presence of palm oil plantations and refineries. We validate our findings with the recently published research on palm oil plantations.
Sucharita Gopal, Professor of Earth & Environment at Boston University
Mira Kelly-Fair, PhD Student in Earth & Environment at Boston University

February 2023 – Disinformation and native advertising about climate change: Identifying ESG claims

Chris Wells, Associate Professor, BU Emerging Media Studies
Michelle Amazeen, Director, Boston University Communication Research Center & Associate Professor, Department of Mass Communication, Advertising and Public Relations

January 2023- Corporate Carbon Risk in Utilities

Alicia Zhang, PhD Candidate
Nalin Kulatilaka, Director IMAP
Susan Fredholm Murphy, Executive Director IMAP

December 2022- Can we trust empirical research on ESG?

Scholars have reported problems with well-known studies on ESG research and more are being investigated. Does this imply that ESG research is prone to publication bias? What does it suggest for our use of published findings? In my session, I will present some of the problems that have been uncovered. Then, I hope to lead a conversation on the implications for the study and application of ESG
Andrew King Professor of Strategy and Innovation, and Questrom Professor in Management, Boston University

November 2022- When Green Investors Are Green Consumers

We bring investors with preferences for green assets to a general equilibrium setting in which they also prefer consuming green goods. Their preferences for green goods induce consumption premia on expected returns that counterbalance the green premium stemming from their preferences for green assets. Because they provide a hedge when green goods become expensive, brown assets command lower consumption premia, and green investors allocate a larger share of their portfolios towards them. Empirically, the green-minus-brown consumption premia differential reached 30-40 basis points annually, and contributes to explaining the limited impact of green investing on polluting firms’ costs of capital.
Read Draft Paper
Oliver David Zerbib, Associate Professor of Finance at EDHEC Business School
Maxime Sauzet, Assistant Professor of Finance at Boston University

March 16, 2022 – Physical Climate Risk, Awareness, and Firms’ Adaptation Strategy

Physical climate risks increasingly impact firms. While scholars have investigated how firms mitigate their impact on climate change, we know little about how firms adapt to climate change. The study builds a novel dataset that compiles information on the adaptation strategies of publicly traded companies across the globe, and merges it with climate science data. Using this dataset, It examines whether, how, and under which conditions firms adapt to physical climate risks. The study finds that the average adaptation rate across firms and climate risk drivers is low. Firms facing higher climate risks are more likely to adapt and do so with a broader range of adaptation strategies (which include both risk management and business strategies). The impact of climate risks on firms’ adaptation strategies increases over time, particularly for business strategies. It also finds that firms’ adaptation to higher climate risks is influenced by climate change and risk management awareness.

Xia Li 

Xia Li is a Ph.D. candidate in the Strategy & Innovation Department at the Questrom School of Business, Boston University and a Research Fellow with the at the Boston University Global Development Policy Center. Her dissertation examines firms’ strategic responses to physical climate risks. She specializes in corporate sustainability, climate change, and innovation. Before her academic career, Xia worked at ERM and Aon in Hong Kong. Her past research and industry experience spans risk management, climate change mitigation, renewable energy, and project finance. She completed her MPA degree in International Finance and Policy at Columbia University and Bachelor’s degrees (BA, BS) at Peking University.

November 17, 2021 – Eddie Riedl on “Understanding ESG Risks through Textual Analysis”

We will examine an alternative measurement approach towards ESG topics: the use of textual analysis applied to various corporate filings and disclosures as a way to quantify firms’ exposure to these risks, and actions being taken to address them.

Eddie Riedl (PhD CPA CMA CIA) holds several titles at Boston University, including:

John F. Smith, Jr. Professor of Management|Professor of Accounting
Department Chair, Accounting
Editor, The Accounting Review

October 20, 2021 – Nalin Kulatilaka, Susan Fredholm Murphy & Alicia Zhang on “Future Carbon Emissions: How can investors determine which corporate targets are at risk?”

We know many corporations are setting targets for their future corporate carbon emissions, yet also know that not all past targets were achieved.  We are developing a methodology to determine the level of risk associated with these future goals by comparing the goals with the other investment and operations plans published by each entity.

Nalin Kulatilaka holds several titles at Boston University, including:

Director, Impact Measurement and Allocation Program
Director, Susilo Institute for Ethics in the Global Economy
Wing Tat Lee Family Professor of Management and Professor of Finance at Boston University Questrom School of Business

Susan Fredholm Murphy is the Executive Director for the Impact Measurement and Allocation Program
Alicia Zhang is a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth and Environment within Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences