Traditional business theory makes the case for ESG - if only UK Plc would pay attention

A heretical view? There is not enough focus on shareholder value in the current conversation about sustainability, argues London Business School’s professor of finance.

by Antonia Garrett Peel

It is common for those advocating a sustainability agenda to talk of the need for a paradigm shift, a fundamental rethink of the way we relate to the planet, live our lives and do business.

However, argues Alex Edmans, professor of finance at London Business School, embracing a more sustainable model doesn’t necessarily require a departure from traditional business principles – in fact, arguably, the opposite is true.

Traditional business theory is often grounded in a long-term view, he says. It’s true that what a forward-thinking strategy looks like has changed. Today, an oil company’s exploration activities  an initial investment hoping to bring large future profits  would be unlikely to be hailed as an exemplar of far-sightedness. But the principle of taking a long-term perspective remains the same.

Sign in to continue

Sign in

Trouble signing in?

Reset password: Click here


Call: 020 8267 8121



  • Up to 3 free articles every 90 days
  • Free email bulletins

Register Now

Take a free trial

Get 30 days unrestricted access to:

  • All the latest news, trends, and developments.
  • Exclusive interviews with CEOs and thought-leaders
  • MT Classroom - giving you an academic grounding without expensive courses
  • Management Matters and other in-depth content.
  • Daily bulletins straight to your inbox

Take a free trial today