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The truth and consequences on ESG ratings

Event organised by ICE

13 April 2023

This event has now ended

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Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings have become instrumental to financial markets and the real economy. Investors want to make their portfolio greener without losing too much of a return.

As a result, these green firms outperformed more polluting (brown firms) over a decade. In other words, investors require a higher expected return for these brown firms. This means that they will have to pay more to attract external funding. This makes the transition toward a green economy much more difficult.

This relationship becomes even more complicated when we insert rating agencies, who give ESG ratings. There is only a 50% overlap across the major rating agencies for the same firms. Firms with a higher disagreement have to pay higher expected returns.

Similarly for brown firms, this increases their cost of capital. This, again, makes a transition toward a green economy more difficult. As the subject of this event has a significant impact on future funding streams for large organizations and the projects they instigate and administer, a better understanding of it by the civil engineering community is of crucial importance.


Dr. Gertjan Verdickt

Dr. Gertjan Verdickt

KU Leuven

assistant professor of finance

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Dr. Gertjan Verdickt

Gertjan is an Assistant Professor of Finance at KU Leuven. Previously, he was a visiting lecturer at Erasmus University Rotterdam and Monash Business School. Gertjan obtained my Ph.D. in Financial Economics at the University of Antwerp, with research stays at renowned universities such as Stanford Graduate School of Business and Columbia University.

His research interests include empirical asset pricing, wine, and economic history. And he has published in several leading academic journals, such as Explorations in Economic History, Journal of Economic History, and Journal of Empirical Finance.

Erik van Wellen CEng FICE IntPE

Erik van Wellen CEng FICE IntPE


commercial director

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Erik van Wellen CEng FICE IntPE

Erik is the ICE rep for Belgium and Luxembourg. He is an experienced Chartered Engineer and a registered International Professional Engineer who holds engineering degrees from the Universities of Antwerp, Liverpool and Plymouth. He has amassed over 20 years of international civil engineering and construction experience.

He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He is a CEDR accredited mediator as well as a fully accredited mediator in civil & commercial matters by the Federal Mediation Commission of the Belgian Ministry of Justice. He works as a freelance independent expert, arbitrator & mediator at Maverick Enterprise and as the Commercial Director for Boskalis in Belgium.

For more information please contact:

Tom Compton

Sustainable Development Goals: