Eccles, Ioannou, and Serafeim (2012)

Eccles, Robert G., Ioannis Ioannou, and George Serafeim.  “The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance.”  Working paper (Harvard Business School), May 9, 2012.

From the authors' abstract:  "Using a matched sample of 180 companies, we find that corporations that voluntarily adopted environmental and social policies by 1993 – termed as High Sustainability companies – exhibit fundamentally different characteristics from a matched sample of firms that adopted almost none of these policies – termed as Low Sustainability companies. In particular, we find that the boards of directors of these companies are more likely to be responsible for sustainability and top executive incentives are more likely to be a function of sustainability metrics. Moreover, they are more likely to have organized procedures for stakeholder engagement, to be more long-term oriented, and to exhibit more measurement and disclosure of nonfinancial information. Finally, we provide evidence that High Sustainability companies significantly outperform their counterparts over the long-term, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance."


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