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Environmental and Financial Performance of Fossil Fuel Firms: A Closer Inspection of their Interaction

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  • Gonenc, Halit
  • Scholtens, Bert

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between environmental and financial performance of fossil fuel firms. To this extent, we analyze a large international sample of firms in chemicals, oil, gas, and coal with respect to several environmental indicators in relation to financial performance for the period 2002–2013. We find that these firms have significantly higher scores on environmental performance efforts than other firms. We use a simultaneous equations system to identify the direction of the relationship between environmental and financial performance of the firms. We find that environmental outperformance has no impact on financial performance for chemical firms, reduces returns and risks for coal companies, has a mixed impact on returns in oil and gas, and reduces financial risks for oil and gas firms. Financial outperformance reduces environmental performance in all fossil fuel (sub)industries investigated. Our findings mainly support the opportunistic view regarding the impact of financial returns, which holds that financial performance negatively impacts social performance. Regarding financial risk, we find support for the stakeholder perspective where good environmental performance is beneficial from a finance perspective. We conclude to substantial differences in the environmental-financial performance relationship along fossil fuel firms in different subindustries.

Suggested Citation

  • Gonenc, Halit & Scholtens, Bert, 2017. "Environmental and Financial Performance of Fossil Fuel Firms: A Closer Inspection of their Interaction," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 307-328.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:132:y:2017:i:c:p:307-328
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.10.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Trinks, Arjan & Ibikunle, Gbenga & Mulder, Machiel & Scholtens, Bert, 2017. "Greenhouse Gas Emissions Intensity and the Cost of Capital," Research Report 17017-EEF, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental performance; Financial performance; Fossil fuel firms; Corporate responsibility; Firm-level analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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