Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

The Harm of Symbolic Actions and Green-Washing: Corporate Actions and Communications on Environmental Performance and Their Financial Implications

Contents:

Author Info

  • Kent Walker

    ()

  • Fang Wan

    ()

Registered author(s):

    Abstract

    We examine over 100 top performing Canadian firms in visibly polluting industries as we seek to answer four research questions: What specific environmental issues are firms addressing? How do these issues differ between industries? Are both symbolic and substantive actions financially beneficial? Does green-washing, measured as the difference between symbolic and substantive action, and/or green-highlighting, measured as the combined effect of symbolic and substantive actions, pay? We find that substantive actions of environmental issues (green walk) neither harm nor benefit firms financially, but symbolic actions (green talk) are negatively related to financial performance. We also find that green-washing (discrepancy between green talk and green walk) has a negative effect on financial performance and green-highlighting (concentrated efforts of the talk and walk) has no effect on financial performance. In this article, we provide explanations of our findings and put forth future research directions. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-011-1122-4
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Business Ethics.

    Volume (Year): 109 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 (August)
    Pages: 227-242

    as in new window
    Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:2:p:227-242

    Contact details of provider:
    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100281

    Related research

    Keywords: Corporate environmental performance; Corporate websites; Green-highlighting; Green-washing; Substantive actions; Symbolic actions;

    References

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
    as in new window
    1. Mike Adams, 1998. "An Analysis of Corporate Donations: United Kingdom Evidence," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(5), pages 641-654, 09.
    2. André Habisch & Lorenzo Patelli & Matteo Pedrini & Christoph Schwartz, 2011. "Different Talks with Different Folks: A Comparative Survey of Stakeholder Dialog in Germany, Italy, and the U.S," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 100(3), pages 381-404, May.
    3. Lyle Brenner & Yuval Rottenstreich & Sanjay Sood & Baler Bilgin, 2007. "On the Psychology of Loss Aversion: Possession, Valence, and Reversals of the Endowment Effect," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(3), pages 369-376, 05.
    4. Salzmann, Oliver & Ionescu-somers, Aileen & Steger, Ulrich, 2005. "The Business Case for Corporate Sustainability:: Literature Review and Research Options," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 27-36, February.
    5. Itziar Castelló & Josep Lozano, 2011. "Searching for New Forms of Legitimacy Through Corporate Responsibility Rhetoric," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 100(1), pages 11-29, April.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
    7. Petra Christmann & Glen Taylor, 2006. "Firm self-regulation through international certifiable standards: determinants of symbolic versus substantive implementation," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 37(6), pages 863-878, November.
    8. Shameek Konar & Mark A. Cohen, 2001. "Does The Market Value Environmental Performance?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 281-289, May.
    9. Yu-Shan Chen & Shyh-Bao Lai & Chao-Tung Wen, 2006. "The Influence of Green Innovation Performance on Corporate Advantage in Taiwan," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 67(4), pages 331-339, September.
    10. Jorge Arevalo, 2010. "Critical Reflective Organizations: An Empirical Observation of Global Active Citizenship and Green Politics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 96(2), pages 299-316, October.
    11. Stephen J. Brammer & Stephen Pavelin, 2006. "Corporate Reputation and Social Performance: The Importance of Fit," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 435-455, 05.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Lists

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:2:p:227-242. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Guenther Eichhorn) or (Christopher F. Baum).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.