Which sustainability efforts are most profitable to prioritize? : a proxy approach to sustainability effort measurement
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- Master Thesis 
In this thesis, we look at annual- and sustainability reports as a proxy to sustainability efforts for companies listed on the OSEAX-index. By using textual analysis on annual and sustainability reports, along with other sustainability measures, we then investigate the link between profitability and various types of sustainability efforts in a Norwegian context. The study utilizes a custom crafted database of 133 companies, 504 annual reports, and 111 sustainability/ESG/CSR-reports, along with accounting data and secondary variables resulting in 639 observations and a wide range of sustainability variables spanning over 5 years. I find a positive link between sustainability efforts and profitability for the sample, and the proxy-approach proves promising. However, I am not able to determine any categorical prioritization of sustainability efforts, which gives support to the existing common practice of contextual assessments and materiality matrices when it comes to sustainability effort prioritization. The thesis struggles with data availability and the methodological question of how to filter and aggregate easily accessible sources of empirical information. It contributes to existing sustainability research by providing an original approach to sustainability efforts measuring. The results are generalisable for companies listed on the OSEAX-index, however the thesis is conditioned on the acceptance of the proxy-solution to measure sustainability efforts. There is also no way of determining causality in the study, but the results are robust with varied robustness-measures in place.