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"It pays to be green" - a premature conclusion?

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  • Kjetil Telle
  • Iulie Aslaksen
  • Terje Synnestvedt

    ()
    (Statistics Norway)

Abstract

It has been claimed that good environmental performance can improve firms’ economic performance. However, because of e.g. data limitations, the methods applied in most previous quantitative empirical studies of the relationship between environmental and economic performance of firms suffer from several shortcomings. We discuss these shortcomings and conclude that previously applied methods are unsatisfactory as support for a conclusion that it pays for firms to be green. Then we illustrate the effects of these shortcomings by performing several regression analyses of the relationship between environmental and economic performance using a panel data set of Norwegian plants. A simple correlation analysis confirms the positive association between our measures of environmental and economic performance. The result prevails when we control for firm characteristics like e.g. size or sub-industry in a pooled regression. However, the result could still be biased by omitted unobserved variables like management or technology. When we control for unobserved plant specific characteristics in a panel regression, the effect is no longer statistically significant. Hence, greener plants perform economically better, but the analysis provides no support for the claim that it is because they are greener. These empirical findings further indicate that a conclusion that it pays to be green is premature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 394.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:394

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Keywords: Economic performance; environmental performance; environmental regulations; pays to be green;

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  1. Greg Filbeck & Raymond Gorman, 2004. "The Relationship between the Environmental and Financial Performance of Public Utilities," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 29(2), pages 137-157, October.
  2. Callens, Isabelle & Tyteca, Daniel, 1999. "Towards indicators of sustainable development for firms: A productive efficiency perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 41-53, January.
  3. Ebert, Udo & Welsch, Heinz, 2004. "Meaningful environmental indices: a social choice approach," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 270-283, March.
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  6. Golombek, Rolf & Raknerud, Arvid, 1997. " Do Environmental Standards Harm Manufacturing Employment?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 29-44, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Ziegler, Andreas & Schröder, Michael, 2006. "What Determines the Inclusion in a Sustainability Stock Index? A Panel Data Analysis for European Companies," ZEW Discussion Papers 06-41, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. 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.
  3. Joaquín Cañón-de-Francia & Concepción Garcés-Ayerbe, 2009. "ISO 14001 Environmental Certification: A Sign Valued by the Market?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(2), pages 245-262, October.
  4. Urs von Arx & Andreas Ziegler, 2008. "The Effect of CSR on Stock Performance: New Evidence for the USA and Europe," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 08/85, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  5. Horváthová, Eva, 2010. "Does environmental performance affect financial performance? A meta-analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 52-59, November.
  6. Gilles Grolleau & Naoufel Mzoughi & Sanja Pekovic, 2013. "Is Business Performance Related to the Adoption of Quality and Environmental-Related Standards?," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 54(4), pages 525-548, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Ziegler, Andreas & Busch, Timo & Hoffmann, Volker H., 2011. "Disclosed corporate responses to climate change and stock performance: An international empirical analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1283-1294.
  9. Johan Graafland & Corrie Mazereeuw-Van der Duijn Schouten, 2012. "Motives for Corporate Social Responsibility," De Economist, Springer, vol. 160(4), pages 377-396, December.
  10. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Thorburn, Karin S, 2008. "Voluntary Corporate Environmental Initiatives and Shareholder Wealth," CEPR Discussion Papers 6698, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Andreas Ziegler, 2009. "Is it Beneficial to be Included in a Sustainability Stock Index? A Panel Data Study for European Firms," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 09/121, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
  12. Horváthová, Eva, 2012. "The impact of environmental performance on firm performance: Short-term costs and long-term benefits?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 91-97.
  13. Ziegler, Andreas & Schröder, Michael, 2010. "What determines the inclusion in a sustainability stock index?: A panel data analysis for european firms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 848-856, February.
  14. Timo Busch & Nils Lehmann & Volker H. Hoffmann, 2012. "Corporate Social Responsibility, Negative Externalities, and Financial Risk: The Case of Climate Change," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-102/IV/DSF40, Tinbergen Institute.
  15. Ghisetti, Claudia & Rennings, Klaus, 2013. "Environmental innovations and profitability: How does it pay to be green? An empirical analysis on the German innovation survey," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-073, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  16. Emilio Galdeano-Gómez, 2008. "Does an Endogenous Relationship Exist between Environmental and Economic Performance? A Resource-Based View on the Horticultural Sector," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(1), pages 73-89, May.
  17. Thierry Bréchet & Sylvette Ly, 2013. "The many traps of green technology promotion," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 15(1), pages 73-91, January.
  18. Timo Busch & Nils Lehmann & Volker H. Hoffmann, 2012. "Corporate Social Responsibility, Negative Externalities, and Financial Risk: The Case of Climate Change," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-102/IV/DSF40, Tinbergen Institute.
  19. Md. Al Mamun & Kazi Sohog & Ayesha Akhter, 2013. "A Dynamic Panel Analysis of the Financial Determinants of CSR in Bangladeshi Banking Industry," Asian Economic and Financial Review, Asian Economic and Social Society, vol. 3(5), pages 560-578, May.
  20. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Nyborg, Karine, 2008. "Attracting responsible employees: Green production as labor market screening," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 509-526, December.
  21. Böhringer, Christoph & Moslener, Ulf & Oberndorfer, Ulrich & Ziegler, Andreas, 2012. "Clean and productive? Empirical evidence from the German manufacturing industry," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(2), pages 442-451.

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