Barko, Cremers, and Renneboog (2017).
Barko, Tamas, Martijn Cremers, and Luc Renneboog. “Shareholder Engagement on Environmental, Social, and Governance Performance.” CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2017-040 / European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) - Finance Working Paper No. 509/2017 / TILEC Discussion Paper No. DP 2017-021, 2017, first posted to SSRN May 31, 2017.
From the authors' abstract: "We study investor activism promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) improvements using a proprietary dataset... Successful engagements positively affect sales growth, without changing profitability. A portfolio of targeted firms earns superior returns to that of matched firms. e.g., targets in the ex ante lowest ESG quartile outperform nonengaged peers by 4.7%. Similarly, successful engagements generate higher returns than unsuccessful ones."