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An Empirical Study of the World Price of Sustainability


  • Yuchao Xiao
  • Robert Faff
  • Philip Gharghori


  • Darren Lee


The core goal of this study is to empirically investigate whether there is a “world price” of corporate sustainability. This is assessed in the context of standard asset pricing models—in particular, by asking whether a risk premium attaches to a sustainability factor after controlling for the Fama–French factors. Both time-series and cross-sectional tests are formulated and applied. The results show that (1) global Fama–French factors have strong power to explain global equity returns and (2) sustainability investments have no significant impact on global equity returns. The absence of a significant relationship between sustainability and returns implies that large institutional investors are free to implement sustainability mandates without fear of breaching their fiduciary duties from realising negative returns due to incorporating a sustainability investment process. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Yuchao Xiao & Robert Faff & Philip Gharghori & Darren Lee, 2013. "An Empirical Study of the World Price of Sustainability," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 297-310, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:114:y:2013:i:2:p:297-310
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-012-1342-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Atan, Ruhaya & Alam, Md. Mahmudul & Said, Jamaliah & Zamri, Mohamed, 2019. "The Impacts of Environmental, Social, and Governance Factors on Firm Performance: Panel Study of Malaysian Companies," SocArXiv ntz52, Center for Open Science.
    3. Thomas Walker & Kerstin Lopatta & Thomas Kaspereit, 2014. "Corporate sustainability in asset pricing models and mutual funds performance measurement," Financial Markets and Portfolio Management, Springer;Swiss Society for Financial Market Research, vol. 28(4), pages 363-407, November.
    4. Luluk Widyawati, 2020. "A systematic literature review of socially responsible investment and environmental social governance metrics," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 619-637, February.
    5. Ali Alshehhi & Haitham Nobanee & Nilesh Khare, 2018. "The Impact of Sustainability Practices on Corporate Financial Performance: Literature Trends and Future Research Potential," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(2), pages 1-25, February.
    6. Ruitao Li & Fang Hu, 2020. "Public Listing and Corporate Social Responsibility from a Sustainability Risk Management Perspective," The AMFITEATRU ECONOMIC journal, Academy of Economic Studies - Bucharest, Romania, vol. 22(55), pages 808-808, August.

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