Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Firm Performance in the Financial Services Sector
65 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2014 Last revised: 2 Mar 2018
Date Written: June 15, 2014
In this study, we examine whether corporate environmental responsibility (CER) plays a role in enhancing operating performance in the financial services sector. Because achieving success with CER investing is often a long-term process, we maintain that by effectively investing in CER, executives can decrease their firms’ environmental costs, thereby enhancing operating performance. By employing a unique environmental data set covering 29 countries, we find that the lowering of environmental costs takes at least one or two years before enhancing return on assets (ROA). We also find that lowering environmental costs has a more immediate and substantial effect on the performance of financial services firms in well-developed financial markets than in less-developed financial markets. These results are economically and statistically significant and robust even after alleviating endogeneity and using an additional performance measure. We interpret our empirical results as supporting the social impact and reputation-building hypothesis. Our findings also suggest that policy makers dealing with corporate sustainability management should pursue an environment-centered industry policy not only at the manufacturing sector but also at the financial services sector, as firms in both sectors with lower environmental costs perform better.
Keywords: Corporate environmental responsibility; Environmental costs; Financial performance; Corporate social responsibility; Environmental sustainability management
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation