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Market Effects of Voluntary Climate Action by Firms: Evidence from the Chicago Climate Exchange

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  • Will Gans
  • Beat Hintermann

Abstract

Why do for-profit firms take voluntary steps to improve the environment? Brand appeal to green consumers or investors, the ability to influence or avoid regulation, or the experience gained for future regulation, have all been suggested as possible reasons. The empirical evidence is decidedly mixed. This paper uses 19 years of monthly stock price returns to examine the profitability of participation in the world’s largest voluntary greenhouse gas mitigation program: the Chicago Climate Exchange. After controlling for systemic market risk as well as industry-specific shocks, we find no statistically significant impact of announcing to join CCX on excess returns. However, the market appeared to be sensitive to changes in abatement costs implied by CCX membership. Most strikingly, the progress of proposed greenhouse gas legislation (the Waxman-Markey bill) had a positive impact on excess returns for CCX member firms, suggesting that the most profitable incentive for firms to join CCX is to prepare for future regulation. Our results imply that relying on voluntary approaches alone to combat climate change may not be enough.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3445
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Hjort, Ingrid, 2016. "Potential Climate Risks in Financial Markets: A Literature Overview," Memorandum 01/2016, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    4. repec:eee:appene:v:205:y:2017:i:c:p:1512-1527 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. William Nordhaus, 2014. "The Ethics of Efficient Markets and Commons Tragedies: A Review of John Broome's Climate Matters: Ethics in a Warming World," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1135-1141, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    voluntary action; firm performance; climate change; permit markets;

    JEL classification:

    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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