In the era of the rapid development of information technology, it is particularly important to promote the development of enterprises through scientific and technological revolution. Digital transformation is an important way to promote enterprises to conform to the trend of the times and carry out digital transformation. With the progress of science and technology, the importance of environmental and resource protection has become increasingly prominent. At present, China is vigorously promoting the “double carbon” emission reduction goal to achieve green and sustainable economic and social development. The effectiveness of ESG practice can comprehensively evaluate the achievement of the above goal. Digital transformation has improved the operating efficiency and perception of enterprises, and also created the basic conditions for enterprises to fulfill their ESG responsibilities. Taking 314 A-share listed companies selected by MSCI ESG from 2016 to 2021 as samples, this paper constructs a characteristic database of digital transformation, and explores the mechanism of digital transformation on ESG responsibility performance.
This paper finds that: First, the digital transformation of enterprises can improve their ESG responsibility performance. Every 1% increase in the degree of digital transformation will promote ESG responsibility performance to improve by 0.096%. Among them, every 1% increase in digital strategy and digital technology will promote ESG responsibility performance by 0.114% and 0.080%, respectively. Digital strategy will play a greater role in promoting ESG responsibility performance. In addition, digital transformation has the largest impact on corporate governance responsibility and the smallest impact on environmental responsibility. Second, the mechanism analysis shows that digital transformation plays an indirect role in ESG responsibility performance through three channels: innovation capability, information interaction and financial performance. Third, digital transformation enhances ESG responsibility performance, which is characterized by heterogeneity. The ESG responsibility performance of low-carbon enterprises, state-owned enterprises, consumer enterprises and service enterprises is more sensitive to digital transformation. Fourth, using a series of endogenous and robust tests such as SYS-GMM model, tool variable model and variable replacement, the basic conclusions are still robust.
The marginal contributions of this paper are as follows: First, from the perspective of digital transformation, it analyzes the new possible path for enterprises to fulfill ESG responsibilities, and provides a new perspective for the research on sustainable development and inclusive growth, which is an important supplement to the ESG-related literature. Second, it explores the mechanism of digital transformation for enterprises to fulfill their ESG responsibilities, and enriches the research on the non-economic effect of digitalization and digital transformation. Third, it provides new evidence for the internal relationship between digital transformation and ESG responsibility fulfillment, which has practical value for Chinese enterprises to implement the carbon emission reduction responsibility and achieve green transformation and upgrading, and build dual competitive advantages of digitalization and ESG.