Applying responsible ownership to advance SDGs and the ESG framework, resulting in the issuance of Green Bonds
Keywords: 
Governance
Sustainability
Responsible ownership
Collective action
Green bonds
SDGs
ESG framework
Issue Date: 
30-Jun-2021
Publisher: 
MDPI
ISSN: 
2071-1050
Note: 
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license
Citation: 
Jonsdottir, G.E.; Sigurjonsson, T.O.; Alavi, A.R.; Mitchell, J. Applying Responsible Ownership to Advance SDGs and the ESG Framework, Resulting in the Issuance of Green Bonds. Sustainability 2021, 13, 7331. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137331
Abstract
This study aimed to contribute to the strand of literature encompassing governance, sustainability, and stakeholder theory by addressing an inchoate element of responsible ownership: collective action by different stakeholders. Our study’s originality rests on the introduction of an ownership strategy as a governance mechanism for collective action and responsible ownership in order to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) framework. Using a twofold empirical methodology—studying of archival data and qualitative case work—we provide empirical evidence from a case study of a Nordic energy company showing that applying an ownership strategy helped to strengthen the approach to SDGs and ESG while leading to positive benefits: in this case, the issuance of green bonds. Our theoretical contribution is the addressing of a gap in the literature exploring how an ownership strategy can be a uniting point for collective action, based on the hypothesis that an ownership strategy provides an important reinforcement of a “virtuous cycle”. Policymakers who are interested in promoting long-term commitment of different stakeholders with a focus on sustainability and improved agency should encourage the formulation of an ownership strategy that explains the owners’ commitment to the environment, social causes, and/or governance guidelines. Therein lies the practical contribution of this work. In this study, we found that an ownership strategy with these elements helped to strengthen the firm’s commitment to SDGs and ESG.
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