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We show that engagement on environmental, social, and governance issues can benefit shareholders by reducing firms’ downside risks. We find that the risk reductions (measured using value at risk and lower partial moments) vary across engagement types and success rates. Engagement is most effective in lowering downside risk when addressing environmental topics (primarily climate change). Further, targets with large downside risk reductions exhibit a decrease in environmental incidents after the engagement. We estimate that the value at risk of engagement targets decreases by 9% of the standard deviation after successful engagements, relative to control firms.

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