What We Know about the Economic Payoffs of Corporate Ecological Sustainability

Corporate Social Responsibility

ISBN: 978-1-78754-260-0, eISBN: 978-1-78754-259-4

ISSN: 2514-1759

Publication date: 14 May 2018


The purpose of this literature review is to reorient empirical research on the causal links between corporate ecological sustainability (CES) and corporate financial performance (CFP). Toward this end, we summarize the findings of four meta-analyses (conducted between 2012 and 2016), which indicate that there is, on average, a small positive association between CES and CFP. In addition, these empirical associations seem to be contingent on the firm’s strategic approach with regard to ecological sustainability (e.g., proactive vs reactive approach) and on the operationalization of both constructs. We conclude that future research may benefit from an even more explicit, analytic shift to the circumstances under which it pays for firms to go green. The main research limitations we point out are model misspecifications, endogeneity, and problems in the measurement of both CES and CFP.



Guenther, E., Busch, T., Endrikat, J., Guenther, T. and Orlitzky, M. (2018), "What We Know about the Economic Payoffs of Corporate Ecological Sustainability", Corporate Social Responsibility (Business and Society 360, Vol. 2), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 325-352. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2514-175920180000002009

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