An Analysis of Corporate Sustainability Behaviour Through the Lens of Empirical Fitness Landscapes

52 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2022

See all articles by Simone Cenci

Simone Cenci

Imperial College Business School

Marek Rei

Imperial College London

Maurizio Zollo

Imperial College Business School

Date Written: August 31, 2022

Abstract

Identifying the type of corporate environmental actions that are most effective in aligning firms' economic interests with broader environmental needs is a crucial challenge in sustainable business practice research. In this manuscript, we use a novel sustainability behavioural dataset to derive an empirical approach that systematically characterises the relationship between environmental actions, or sustainability behaviour, and firms’ environmental and financial performance. Our approach is based on the idea that the behaviour-performance mapping provides an empirical sustainability fitness landscape. We analyse the characteristics of the landscape and the optimal behaviours in local peaks. We find that the divergence of observed sustainability behaviours from their local optimal counterpart is concentrated in a few behavioural dimensions. Most notably, we find a significant over-investment in changes in current assets and under-investment in actions that create growth opportunities. Overall, our approach provides an empirical framework to study how changes in corporate sustainability behaviour can contribute to sustainable development.

Keywords: Sustainability behaviour, Fitness landscape, Genetic algorithm, Sustainable development

JEL Classification: C10, C80, Q5

Suggested Citation

Cenci, Simone and Rei, Marek and Zollo, Maurizio, An Analysis of Corporate Sustainability Behaviour Through the Lens of Empirical Fitness Landscapes (August 31, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4205664 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4205664

Simone Cenci (Contact Author)

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London, Greater London SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom

Marek Rei

Imperial College London

Maurizio Zollo

Imperial College Business School ( email )

South Kensington Campus
Exhibition Road
London SW7 2AZ, SW7 2AZ
United Kingdom
+447923241443 (Phone)

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