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The Economic Impacts Of Voluntary Environmental Performance Of Firms: A Critical Review

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  • Esther Blanco
  • Javier Rey-Maquieira
  • Javier Lozano

Abstract

New trends in studies on the governance of natural assets include substantial consideration of the role of voluntary initiatives. A traditional economic view states that there is a trade-off between being green and being competitive. According to that view, no voluntary environmental action is expected to occur. To undertake an in-depth analysis of the scope for voluntary action, this paper reviews empirical literature that analyzes the relationship between manufacturing firms' environmental initiatives or performance and economic results. This review moves beyond the general test of the 'pay to be green' hypothesis, preferring instead to systematize empirical results in more specific research questions. Empirical findings of the reviewed literature generally support that there is no penalty for being green. In addition, the typology of firms, the methods utilized for implementing environmental initiatives, the intensity of abatement efforts and stockholders' valuation of green firms have all been shown to have a sizeable influence on the actual economic results of environmental action or management. Consequently, the findings of this paper challenge the traditional strategic theory that predicts widespread free-riding; it holds major implications for environmental policy-making and environmental business decisions. Copyright © 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Esther Blanco & Javier Rey-Maquieira & Javier Lozano, 2009. "The Economic Impacts Of Voluntary Environmental Performance Of Firms: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 462-502, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jecsur:v:23:y:2009:i:3:p:462-502
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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:2:p:156:d:63558 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. S. Zeng & X. Xu & H. Yin & C. Tam, 2012. "Factors that Drive Chinese Listed Companies in Voluntary Disclosure of Environmental Information," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 309-321, September.
    3. 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.
    4. Iwata, Hiroki, 2014. "Disclosure of environmental information and investments of firms," MPRA Paper 54784, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. X. Xu & S. Zeng & C. Tam, 2012. "Stock Market’s Reaction to Disclosure of Environmental Violations: Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 107(2), pages 227-237, May.
    6. repec:kap:jbuset:v:143:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10551-015-2809-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Iwata, Hiroki & Okada, Keisuke, 2011. "How does environmental performance affect financial performance? Evidence from Japanese manufacturing firms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(9), pages 1691-1700, July.
    8. Lam, Hugo K.S. & Yeung, Andy C.L. & Cheng, T.C.E. & Humphreys, Paul K., 2016. "Corporate environmental initiatives in the Chinese context: Performance implications and contextual factors," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 180(C), pages 48-56.
    9. Patricia Crifo & Vanina D. Forget, 2015. "The Economics Of Corporate Social Responsibility: A Firm-Level Perspective Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(1), pages 112-130, February.
    10. Iwata, Hiroki & Okada, Keisuke, 2010. "How does environmental performance affect financial performance? Evidence from Japanese manufacturing firms," MPRA Paper 27721, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Ilić, Dragan & Mollet, Janick Christian, 2015. "Voluntary Corporate Climate Initiatives and Regulatory Loom: Batten Down the Hatches," Working papers 2015/06, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    12. Kounetas, Kostas & Alexopoulos, Elias & Tzelepis, Dimitris, 2016. "Environmental and Financial Performance. Is there a win-win or a win-loss situation? Evidence from the Greek manufacturing," MPRA Paper 80906, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 19 Jul 2017.
    13. Dragan Ilic & Janick Christian Mollet, 2016. "Voluntary Corporate Climate Initiatives and Regulatory Loom: Batten Down the Hatches," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 16/261, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    14. Adam Ryszko, 2016. "Proactive Environmental Strategy, Technological Eco-Innovation and Firm Performance—Case of Poland," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(2), pages 1-20, February.
    15. Esther Blanco & Javier Lozano, 2015. "Ecolabels, uncertified abatement, and the sustainability of natural resources: an evolutionary approach," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 623-647, July.
    16. Merriam Haffar & Cory Searcy, 2017. "Classification of Trade-offs Encountered in the Practice of Corporate Sustainability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 495-522, February.

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