Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG): Mapping and Clusters Analysis
PDF (Português (Brasil))


Environmental, Social and Governance
ESG Review

How to Cite

Ribeiro, T. de L., & Antônio de Lima, A. (2022). Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG): Mapping and Clusters Analysis. Iberoamerican Journal of Corporate Governance, 9(1), e0120. https://doi.org/10.21434/IberoamericanJCG.v9i1.120


Objective: The aim of this study was to map and analyze the main basic and frontier theoretical currents about international research in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Additionally, we also analyzed which authors, journals and countries are most active in international ESG research.

Method: We performed a bibliometric analysis focused on co-citation and bibliographic coupling analysis, with exploratory factor analysis techniques and graphic mapping through clustering. Our sample included 405 articles published until December 2021 and indexed in the Web of Science database.

Results: Through co-citation analysis, we identified 5 research streams, being a) Influence of Organizational Theories on ESG; b) Organizational competitiveness; c) Impact of ESG on financial performance; d) Corporate Social Responsibility; and e) Stakeholder Theory. Through the pairing analysis, we identified 6 theoretical frontier currents, namely: a) sustainable investments; b) Transparency and administrative council; c) Effects of ESG; d) Relationships between financial performance and corporate social performance; e) Relationship between shareholders and ESG; and f) Risks and ESG.

Originality: As far as we know, this is the most complete bibliometric study on ESG research, covering both basic and frontier theoretical currents.

Theoretical/methodological contributions: We identify in this work 5 theoretical currents that helped to found and develop ESG research as a scientific (historical) field and point out 6 emerging theoretical currents that help to understand where ESG research is advancing today (border).

PDF (Português (Brasil))


Aboud, A., & Diab, A. (2018). The impact of social, environmental and corporate governance disclosures on firm value: evidence from Egypt. Journal of Accounting in Emerging Economies, 8 (4), 442-458. https://doi.org/10.1108/JAEE-08-2017-0079

Aguilera, R. V., Rupp, D. E., Williams, C. A., & Ganapathi, J. (2007). Putting the S Back in Corporate Social Responsibility: A Multilevel Theory of Social Change in Organizations. The Academy of Management Review, 32(3), 836–863. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20159338

Alareeni, B. A., & Hamdan, A. (2020). ESG impact on performance of US S&P 500-listed firms. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 20(7), 1409-1428. https://doi.org/10.1108/CG-06-2020-0258

Albuquerque, R., Koskinen, Y., & Zhang, C. (2019). Corporate social responsibility and firm risk: Theory and empirical evidence. Management Science, 65(10), 4451-4469. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2018.3043

Ansong, A. (2017). Corporate social responsibility and firm performance of Ghanaian SMEs: The role of stakeholder engagement. Cogent Business & Management, 4(1), 1333704.

Aouadi, A., & Marsat, S. (2018). Do ESG controversies matter for firm value? Evidence from international data. Journal of Business Ethics, 151(4), 1027-1047. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3213-8

Arayssi, M., Dah, M., & Jizi, M. (2016). Women on boards, sustainability reporting and firm performance. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 7(3), 376-401. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-07-2015-0055

Arayssi, M., Jizi, M., & Tabaja, H. H. (2020). The impact of board composition on the level of ESG disclosures in GCC countries. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 11(1), 137–161. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-05-2018-0136

Barney, J. B., Hesterly; (2017). Administração estratégica e vantagem competitiva. Pearson.

Baumgartnerm R. (2013). Managing Corporate Sustainability and CSR: A Conceptual Framework Combining Values, Strategies and Instruments Contributing to Sustainable Development. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management,21(5), 258-271. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/csr.1336

Bénabou, R., & Tirole, J. (2010). Individual and corporate social responsibility. Economica, 77(305),1-19.https://doi.org/10.1080/2331975.2017.1333704

Bhagat, S., & Bolton, B. (2008). Corporate governance and firm performance. Journal of Corporate Finance, 14(3), 257–273. https://doi:10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2008.03.006

Bhaskaran, R. K., Ting, I. W. K., Sukumaran, S. K., & Sumod, S. D. (2020). Environmental, social and governance initiatives and wealth creation for firms: An empirical examination. Managerial and Decision Economics, 41(5), 710-729. https://doi.org/10.1002/mde.3131

Bhattacharya, S., & Sharma, D. (2019). Do environment, social and governance performance impact credit ratings: a study from India. International Journal of Ethics and Systems, 35(3), 466-484. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOES-09-2018-0130

Boaventura, J. M. G., Silva, R. S. D., & Bandeira-de-Mello,R. (2012). Performance Financeira Corporativa e Performance Social Corporativa: desenvolvimento metodológico e contribuição teórica dos estudos empíricos. Revista Contabilidade & Finanças, 23, 232-245. https://doi.org/10.1590/S1519-70772012000300008

Bofinger, Y., Heyden, K. J., & Rock, B. (2022). Corporate social responsibility and market efficiency: Evidence from ESG and misvaluation measures. Journal of Banking & Finance, 134, 106322. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2021.106322

Börner, K., Chen, C., & Boyack, K. W. (2003). Visualizing knowledge domains. Annual Review of Information Science and Technology, 37(1), 179-255.

Brammer, S., & Pavelin, S. (2008). Factors influencing the quality of corporate environmental disclosure. Business Strategy and the Environment, 17(2), 120–136. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.506

Brooks, C., & Oikonomou, I. (2018) The effects of environmental, social and governance disclosures and performance on firm value: A review of the literature in accounting and finance. The British Accounting Review, 50(1), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bar.2017.11.005

Buallay, A., Fadel, S. M., Alajmi, J., & Saudagaran, S. (2020). Sustainability reporting and bank performance after financial crisis: evidence from developed and developing countries. Competitiveness Review: An International Business Journal, 31(4), 747-770. https://doi.org/10.1108/CR-04-2019-0040

Busch, T., Bauer, R., & Orlitzky, M. (2016). Sustainable development and financial markets: Old paths and new avenues. Business & Society, 55(3), 303-329. https://doi.org/10.1177/0007650315570701

Camilleri, M. A. (2015). Environmental, social and governance disclosures in Europe. Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, 6(2), 224-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/SAMPJ-10-2014-0065

Camilleri, M. A. (2018). Theoretical insights on integrated reporting: The inclusion of non-financial capitals in corporate disclosures. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 23(4), 567-581. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-01-2018-0016

Carroll, A. B. (1979). A three-dimensional conceptual model of corporate performance. Academy of Management Review, 4(4), 497-505. https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.1979.4498296

Carroll, A. B. (1991). The pyramid of corporate social responsibility: Toward the moral management of organizational stakeholders. Business Horizons, 34(4), 39-48. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0007-6813(91)90005-G

Cheng, B., Ioannou, I., & Serafeim, G. (2014). Corporate social responsibility and access to finance. Strategic Management Journal, 35(1), 1-23. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.2131

Choi, J., & Wang, H. (2009). Stakeholder relations and the persistence of corporate financial performance. Strategic Management Journal, 30(8), 895-907. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.759

Clarkson, P. M., Li, Y., Richardson, G. D., & Vasvari, F. P. (2008). Revisiting the relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure: An empirical analysis. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 33(4-5), 303-327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aos.2007.05.003

Coluccia, D., Dabić, M., Del Giudice, M., Fontana, S., & Solimene, S. (2020). R&D innovation indicator and its effects on the market. An empirical assessment from a financial perspective. Journal of Business Research, 119, 259-271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.04.015

Conca, L., Manta, F., Morrone, D., & Toma, P. (2021). The impact of direct environmental, social, and governance reporting: Empirical evidence in European‐listed companies in the agri‐food sector. Business Strategy and the Environment, 30(2), 1080-1093. https://doi.org/10.1002/bse.2672

Crifo, P., Diaye, M. A., & Oueghlissi, R. (2017). The effect of countries’ ESG ratings on their sovereign borrowing costs. The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, 66, 13-20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.qref.2017.04.011

da Rocha, R. E., de Carvalho, R. B., & Filho, A. S. de A. (2021). Inteligência Competitiva na Tomada de Decisão: Estudo de Caso em Startups de Belo Horizonte. Revista Inteligência Competitiva, 11, e0377. https://doi.org/10.24883/IberoamericanIC.v11i.377

Di Tommaso, C., & Thornton, J. (2020). Do ESG scores effect bank risk taking and value? Evidence from European banks. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 27(5), 2286-2298. https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.1964

Dinu, V. (2010). Commercial Activity And The Sustainable Development. Amfiteatru Economic, 12(27), 5-7. https://econpapers.repec.org/RePEc:aes:amfeco:v:12:y:2010:i:27:p:5-7

Donaldson, T., & Preston, L. E. (1995). The stakeholder theory of the corporation: Concepts, evidence, and implications. Academy of Management Review, 20(1), 65-91. https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.1995.9503271992

Duuren, E., Plating, A., Scholtens, B. (2016). ESG Integration and the Investment Management Process: Fundamental Investing Reinvented. Journal of Business Ethics, 138, 525-533. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-015-2610-8

Eccles, N. S., & Viviers, S. (2011). The origins and meanings of names describing investment practices that integrate a consideration of ESG issues in the academic literature. Journal of Business Ethics, 104(3), 389-402. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-0917-7

Eccles, R. G., Krzus, M. P., Rogers, J., & Serafeim, G. (2012). The need for sector‐specific materiality and sustainability reporting standards. Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, 24(2), 65-71. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1745-6622.2012.00380.x

El Ghoul, S., Guedhami, O., Kwok, C. C., & Mishra, D. R. (2011). Does corporate social responsibility affect the cost of capital?. Journal of Banking & Finance, 35(9), 2388-2406. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2011.02.007

Edmans, A., & Manso, G. (2011). Governance through trading and intervention: A theory of multiple blockholders. The Review of Financial Studies, 24(7), 2395-2428. https://doi.org/10.1093/rfs/hhq145

El Ghoul, S., Guedhami, O., Kwok, C. C., & Mishra, D. R. (2011). Does corporate social responsibility affect the cost of capital?. Journal of Banking & Finance, 35(9), 2388-2406. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbankfin.2011.02.007

Eliwa, Y., Aboud, A., & Saleh, A. (2021). ESG practices and the cost of debt: Evidence from EU countries. Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 79, 102097. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpa.2019.102097

Fahad, P., & Busru, S. A. (2021). CSR disclosure and firm performance: evidence from an emerging market. Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, 21(4), 553-568. https://doi.org/10.1108/CG-05-2020-0201

Freeman, R. (1984). Strategic management: a stakeholder approach. Pitman, Boston.

Freeman, R. E. (1994). The Politics of Stakeholder Theory: Some Future Directions. Business Ethics Quarterly, 4(4), 409–421. https://doi.org/10.2307/3857340

Friede, G., Busch, T., & Bassen, A. (2015). ESG and financial performance: aggregated evidence from more than 2000 empirical studies. Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, 5(4), 210-233. https://doi.org/10.1080/20430795.2015.1118917

García, F., González-Bueno, J., Guijarro, F., & Oliver, J. (2020). Forecasting the environmental, social, and governance rating of firms by using corporate financial performance variables: A rough set approach. Sustainability, 12(8), 3324. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083324

Gao, S., Meng, F., Gu, Z., Liu, Z., & Farrukh, M. (2021). Mapping and Clustering Analysis on Environmental, Social and Governance Field a Bibliometric Analysis Using Scopus. Sustainability, 13(13), 7304. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su13137304

Hair, H. J. (2005). Outcomes for children and adolescents after residential treatment: A review of research from 1993 to 2003. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 14(4), 551-575. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-005-7188-9

Hammami, A., & Zadeh, M. H. (2020). Audit quality, media coverage, environmental, social, and governance disclosure and firm investment efficiency: Evidence from Canada. International Journal of Accounting & Information Management, 28(1), 45-72. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJAIM-03-2019-0041

Harrison, J. S., & Wicks, A. C. (2013). Stakeholder theory, value, and firm performance. Business Ethics Quarterly, 23(1), 97-124. https://doi.org/10.5840/beq20132314

Helfat, C. E., Finkelstein, S., Mitchell, W., Peteraf, M., Singh, H., Teece, D., & Winter, S. G. (2009). Dynamic capabilities: Understanding strategic change in organizations. John Wiley & Sons.

Hitt, M. A., Ireland, R. D., & Hoskisson, R. E. (2008). Administração estratégica: competitividade e globalização. São Paulo: Cengage Learning.

Jacobs, B. I., & Levy, K. N. (2022). The Challenge of Disparities in ESG Ratings. The Journal of Impact and ESG Investing, 2(3), 107-111. https://doi.org/10.3905/jesg.2022.1.040

Jensen, M. C., & Meckling, W. H. (2008). Teoria da firma: comportamento dos administradores, custos de agência e estrutura de propriedade. Revista de Administração de Empresas, 48, 87-125.

Jo, H., & Harjoto, M. A. (2012). The causal effect of corporate governance on corporate social responsibility. Journal of Business Ethics, 106(1), 53-72. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-1052-1

Krüger, P. (2015). Corporate goodness and shareholder wealth. Journal of financial economics, 115(2), 304-329. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfineco.2014.09.008

Kujala, J., Sachs, S., Leinonen, H., Heikkinen, A., & Laude, D. (2022). Stakeholder engagement: Past, present, and future. Business & Society, 00076503211066595. https://doi.org/10.1177/00076503211066595

Lamoureux, E. L., Pallant, J. F., Pesudovs, K., Rees, G., Hassell, J. B., & Keeffe, J. E. (2007). The impact of vision impairment questionnaire: an assessment of its domain structure using confirmatory factor analysis and Rasch analysis. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, 48(3), 1001-1006. https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.06-0361

Li, J., & Wu, D. (2020). Do corporate social responsibility engagements lead to real environmental, social, and governance impact?. Management Science, 66(6), 2564-2588. https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2019.3324

Viana, L., Gaio, L., Belli, M., & Cunha, C. (2022). Investimento em Sustentabilidade e o impacto mercadológico: uma avaliação a partir do score ESG. Desafio online, 10(1), 77-100. https://doi.org/10.55028/don.v10i1.12320

Lins, K. V., Servaes, H., & Tamayo, A. (2017). Social capital, trust, and firm performance: The value of corporate social responsibility during the financial crisis. The Journal of Finance, 72(4), 1785-1824.

Lo, K. Y., & Kwan, C. L. (2017). The effect of environmental, social, governance and sustainability initiatives on stock value–Examining market response to initiatives undertaken by listed companies. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 24(6), 606-619. https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.1431

Lopez, M. S., & Fecteau, F. (2019). From ESG 2005 to ESG 2015: The Tightening of a Cognitive Framework. The Online Journal of Quality in Higher Education, 6(4), 124-133.

Luffarelli, J., Markou, P., Stamatogiannakis, A., & Gonçalves, D. (2019). The effect of corporate social performance on the financial performance of business‐to‐business and business‐to‐consumer firms. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 26(6), 1333-1350. https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.1750

Lokuwaduge, C. S. D. S., & Heenetigala, K. (2017). Integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosure for a sustainable development: An Australian study. Business Strategy and the Environment, 26(4), 438–450. https://doi.org/10.1002

McCain, K. W. (1990). Mapping authors in intellectual space: a technical overview. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 41(6), 433-443.

Manetti, G., & Toccafondi, S. (2012). The role of stakeholders in sustainability reporting assurance. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(3), 363-377. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-011-1044-1

Marshakova, I. (1981). Citation networks in information science. Scientometrics, 3(1), 13-25. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02021861

Mitchell, R. K., Agle, B. R., & Wood, D. J. (1997). Toward a theory of stakeholder identification and salience: Defining the principle of who and what really counts. Academy of Management Review, 22(4), 853-886. https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.1997.9711022105

Nitescu, D., & Cristea, M. (2020). Environmental, Social and Governance Risks – New Challenges for the Banking Business Sustainability. Amfiteatru Economic, 22(55), 692-706. https://ideas.repec.org/a/aes/amfeco/v22y2020i55p692.html

Nollet, J., Filis, G., & Mitrokostas, E. (2016). Corporate social responsibility and financial performance: A non-linear and disaggregated approach. Economic Modelling, 52(b), 400-407. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econmod.2015.09.019

Rossignoli, M., Castilho, V. R., & Oliveira, B. B. de. (2020). Sustentabilidade fiscal do estado e desenvolvimento econômico: discussões para o estabelecimento da competitividade e desenvolvimento. Revista Inteligência Competitiva, 9(4), 163–174. https://doi.org/10.24883/IberoamericanIC.v9i4.360

Orlitzky, M., Schmidt, F. L., & Rynes, S. L. (2003). Corporate social and financial performance: A meta-analysis. Organization Studies, 24(3),4 03-441. https://doi.org/10.1177/0170840603024003910

Qiu, J., & Lv, H. (2014). An overview of knowledge management research viewed through the web of science (1993-2012). Aslib Journal of Information Management, 66(4), 424-442. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-12-2013-0133

Renneboog, L., Ter Horst, J., & Zhang, C. (2008). Socially responsible investments: Institutional aspects, performance, and investor behavior. Journal Of Banking & Finance, 32(9), 1723-1742. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcorpfin.2008.03.009

Shane, P. B., Spicer, B. H., Shane, P. B., & Spicer, B. H. (1983). Market response to environmental information produced outside the firm. The Accounting Review, 58(3), 521–538. https://doi.org/10.2307/246532

Siew, R. Y., Balatbat, M. C., & Carmichael, D. G. (2016). The impact of ESG disclosures and institutional ownership on market information asymmetry. Asia-Pacific Journal of Accounting & Economics, 23(4), 432-448. https://doi.org/10.1080/16081625.2016.1170100

Small, H. (1973). Co‐citation in the scientific literature: a new measure of the relationship between two documents. Journal of the American Society for information Science, 24(4), 265-269.

Stocker, F., de Arruda, M. P., de Mascena, K. M., & Boaventura, J. M. (2020). Stakeholder engagement in sustainability reporting: a classification model. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 27(5), 2071-2080. https://doi.org/10.1002/csr.1947

Tampakoudis, I., & Anagnostopoulou, E. (2020). The effect of mergers and acquisitions on environmental, social and governance performance and market value: Evidence from EU acquirers. Business Strategy and the Environment, 29(5), 1865-1875.


Van Eck, N. J., & Waltman, L. (2018). Manual for VOSviewer version 1.6. 8. CWTS Meaningful Metrics. Universiteit Leiden.

Vanhulst, J., & Beling, A. E. (2021). Mapping Environmental/Sustainable Governance Research in Chile: A Bibliometric and Network Analysis. Sustainability, 13(11), 6484. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su13116484

Velte, P. (2019). Does CEO power moderate the link between ESG performance and financial performance? A focus on the German two-tier system. Management Research Review, 43(5), 497-520. https://doi.org/10.1108/MRR-04-2019-0182

Waddock, S. A., & Graves, S. B. (1997). Quality of management and quality of stakeholder relations: Are they synonymous?. Business & Society, 36(3), 250-279. https://doi.org/10.1177/000765039703600303

Xie, J., Nosawa, W., Yagi, M., Fujii, H., & Managi, S. (2018) Do environmental, social, and governance activities improve corporate financial performance?. Business Strategy and the Environment, 28(2), 1-15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bse.2224

Zhu, X., Hu, J., Deng, S., Tan, Y., Qiu, C., Zhang, M., ... & Wen, Y. (2021). Bibliometric and visual analysis of research on the links between the gut microbiota and depression from 1999 to 2019. Frontiers Psychiatry, 11, 587670. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.587670

Zupic, I., & Čater, T. (2015). Bibliometric methods in management and organization. Organizational Research Methods, 18(3), 429-472. https://doi.org/10.1177/1094428114562629

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

1. Authors who publish in this journal agree to the following terms: the author(s) authorize(s) the publication of the text in the journal;

2. The author(s) ensure(s) that the contribution is original and unpublished and that it is not in the process of evaluation by another journal;

3. The journal is not responsible for the views, ideas and concepts presented in articles, and these are the sole responsibility of the author(s);

4. The publishers reserve the right to make textual adjustments and adapt texts to meet with publication standards.

5. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal the right to first publication, with the work simultaneously licensed under the Creative Commons Atribuição NãoComercial 4.0 internacional, which allows the work to be shared with recognized authorship and initial publication in this journal.

6. Authors are allowed to assume additional contracts separately, for non-exclusive distribution of the version of the work published in this journal (e.g. publish in institutional repository or as a book chapter), with recognition of authorship and initial publication in this journal.

7. Authors are allowed and are encouraged to publish and distribute their work online (e.g. in institutional repositories or on a personal web page) at any point before or during the editorial process, as this can generate positive effects, as well as increase the impact and citations of the published work (see the effect of Free Access) at http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html

• 8. Authors are able to use ORCID is a system of identification for authors. An ORCID identifier is unique to an individual and acts as a persistent digital identifier to ensure that authors (particularly those with relatively common names) can be distinguished and their work properly attributed.