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Corporate social responsibility, environmental leadership and financial performance

Dafna M. DiSegni (Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel)
Moshe Huly (Eclipse Investments, Nizzane Oz, Israel)
Sagi Akron (Graduate School of Management, University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel)

Social Responsibility Journal

ISSN: 1747-1117

Article publication date: 2 March 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to statistically assess the relationship between corporate characteristics, environmental contribution and financial performance. To this end, the authors compare the financial performance of all US corporations making up the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, being the most proactive companies in providing services and goods, while maintaining ethical responsibility and environmental sustainability.

Design/methodology/approach

Various performance measures are compared to the mean performance of the related industry, sector and market portfolio. We employ an analysis for several time horizons of the financial measures.

Findings

Analysis by the authors suggests that firms that are proactive in supporting social responsibility and environmental sustainability (SRES corporations) are characterized by significantly higher profit measures than the industry and the sector, though not higher than the entire market. They have lower short-term liquidity measures than those of the industry and related sector, and surprisingly, their long-term leverage is significantly higher. Strong SRES corporations are characterized by significantly higher managerial efficiency ratios than the respective industry and sector. Interestingly, however, the per-worker operating efficiency ratios are significantly lower than for all of the benchmarks.

Practical implications

The revealed preference of corporations can be extracted from several horizon dependent financial measures. For instance, we could infer the corporate degree of SRES from their long-term capital structure, i.e. their long-term leverages and short-term liquidity measures.

Originality/value

These results illustrate the strong relation between social and environmental sustainability, and long-term business plans in respect to the corporate capital structure.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the seminar participants of annual meeting of American Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA2012), Seattle, WA 2012.

Citation

DiSegni, D.M., Huly, M. and Akron, S. (2015), "Corporate social responsibility, environmental leadership and financial performance", Social Responsibility Journal, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 131-148. https://doi.org/10.1108/SRJ-02-2013-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited