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Voluntary Corporate Environmental Initiatives and Shareholder Wealth

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  • Fisher-Vanden, Karen
  • Thorburn, Karin S

Abstract

Researchers debate whether environmental investments reduce firm value or can actually improve financial performance. We provide some first evidence on shareholder wealth effects of voluntary corporate environmental initiatives. Companies announcing membership in Climate Leaders and Ceres - two voluntary environmental programs related to climate change - experience significantly negative abnormal stock returns. The price decline is smaller in carbon-intensive industries, where regulatory actions are more likely, and for high book-to-market firms, suggesting that "green" expenditures crowd out growth-related investments. We also document insignificant announcement returns for portfolios of industry rivals. Overall, the environmental investments appear to conflict with shareholder value-maximization. This has far reaching implications since the U.S. government relies on voluntary initiatives to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6698.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6698

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Keywords: capital expenditures; climate change; corporate social responsibility; environmentally responsible investing; shareholder wealth;

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Cited by:
  1. Lioui, Abraham & Sharma, Zenu, 2012. "Environmental corporate social responsibility and financial performance: Disentangling direct and indirect effects," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 100-111.
  2. Lyon, Thomas & Lu, Yao & Shi, Xinzheng & Yin, Qie, 2013. "How do investors respond to Green Company Awards in China?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-8.
  3. Thomas Lyon & A. Montgomery, 2013. "Tweetjacked: The Impact of Social Media on Corporate Greenwash," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 118(4), pages 747-757, December.
  4. Aktas, Nihat & de Bodt, Eric & Cousin, Jean-Gabriel, 2011. "Do financial markets care about SRI? Evidence from mergers and acquisitions," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1753-1761, July.
  5. Oberndorfer, Ulrich & Schmidt, Peter & Wagner, Marcus & Ziegler, Andreas, 2013. "Does the stock market value the inclusion in a sustainability stock index? An event study analysis for German firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 497-509.
  6. Will Gans & Beat Hintermann, 2011. "Market Effects of Voluntary Climate Action by Firms: Evidence from the Chicago Climate Exchange," CESifo Working Paper Series 3445, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Ulrich Oberndorfer & Marcus Wagner & Andreas Ziegler, 2011. "Does the Stock Market Value the Inclusion in a Sustainability Stock Index? An Event Study Analysis for German Firms," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201130, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  8. André Betzer & Markus Doumet & Ulf Rinne, 2013. "How policy changes affect shareholder wealth: the case of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(8), pages 799-803, May.
  9. Janick Christian Mollet & Andreas Ziegler, 2012. "Is Socially Responsible Investing Really Beneficial? New Empirical Evidence for the US and European Stock Markets," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201228, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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