Background: Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) engagement is expected to benefit corporations in terms of their efficiency and sustainability. The transformative change in management practices would not only provide support for employees but also bring about additional workload, which may affect employee psychological well-being. However, the examination of the relationship between corporate ESG activities and occupational stress is scarce; hence, this study aims to fill this knowledge gap. Methods: In total, 110,351 observations were collected from 41,998 employees regarding occupational stress to reflect employee psychological well-being. The data were derived from 11 corporations in Japan from 2017 to 2019. Data on ESG activities were collected from the MSCI ESG database from 2015 to 2017. The effect of 1-year lagged corporate ESG activities on employee psychological well-being was investigated using a lagged variable linear regression model. Results: Positive and negative relationships were found between corporate environmental activities and occupational stress. Activities that reduce water stress during operation and adopt clean technology were found to benefit employees’ psychological well-being. On the contrary, the program for reducing toxic emissions and waste lowered employees’ occupational stress levels significantly. Regarding corporate social activities, the improvement of job satisfaction or work-life balance was associated with occupational stress. However, corporate governance activities were found to have unfavorable effects on employees’ psychological well-being. Conclusion: The effects of corporate ESG activities on employees’ psychological well-being are found. The managerial implications suggest that caring for employees’ occupational stress during the implementation of environmental activities is necessary, and the adoption of social activities could enhance employees’ psychological well-being. Notably, corporate governance activities are a stressor for employees; top management teams should pay attention to it.
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