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When and why does it pay to be green ?

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  • Ambec, S.
  • Lanoie, P.

Abstract

The conventional wisdom about environmental protection is that it comes at an additional cost on firms imposed by the government, which may erode their global competitiveness. However, during the last decade, this paradigm has been challenged by a number of analysts. In particular, Porter (Porter, 1991; Porter and van der Linde, 1995) argues that pollution is often associated with a waste of resources (material, energy, etc.), and that more stringent environmental policies can stimulate innovations that may compensate for the costs of complying with these policies. This is known as the Porter hypothesis. In fact, there are many ways through which improving the environmental performance of a company can lead to a better economic or financial performance, and not necessarily to an increase in cost. To be systematic, it is important to look at both sides of the balance sheet.First, a better environmental performance can lead to an increase in revenues through the following channels: i) a better access to certain markets; ii) the possibility to differentiate products and iii) the possibility to sell pollution-control technology. Second, a better environmental performance can lead to cost reductions in the following categories: iv) regulatory cost; v) cost of material, energy and services (this refers mainly to the Porter hypothesis); vi) cost of capital, and vii) cost of labour. Although these different possibilities have been identified from a conceptual or theoretical point of view for some time (Reinhardt, 2000; Lankoski, 2000, 2006), to our knowledge, there was no systematic effort to provide empirical evidences supporting the existence of these opportunities and assessing their “magnitude”. This is the objective of this paper. For each of the seven possibilities identified above [i) through vii)], we present the mechanisms involved, a systematic view of the empirical evidence available, and a discussion of the gaps in the empirical literature. The objective of the paper is not to show that a reduction of pollution is always accompanied by a better financial performance, it is rather to argue that the expenses incurred to reduce pollution can sometime be partly or completely compensated by gains made elsewhere. Through a systematic examination of all the possibilities, we also want to identify the circumstances most likely to lead to a “win-win” situation, i.e., better environmental and financial performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Ambec, S. & Lanoie, P., 2007. "When and why does it pay to be green ?," Working Papers 200704, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
  • Handle: RePEc:gbl:wpaper:200704
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Lanoie & Jérémy Laurent‐Lucchetti & Nick Johnstone & Stefan Ambec, 2011. "Environmental Policy, Innovation and Performance: New Insights on the Porter Hypothesis," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 803-842, September.
    2. Kriechel, Ben & Ziesemer, Thomas, 2003. "The Environmental Porter Hypothesis as a Technology Adoption Problem?," Research Memorandum 011, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    3. Gérard Hirigoyen & Thierry Poulain-Rehm, 2015. "Relationships between Corporate Social Responsibility and Financial Performance: What is the Causality?," Post-Print hal-01382072, HAL.
    4. Wolfgang Schultze & Ramona Trommer, 2012. "The concept of environmental performance and its measurement in empirical studies," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 22(4), pages 375-412, January.
    5. repec:dgr:umamer:2005008 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ben Kriechel & Thomas Ziesemer, 2009. "The environmental Porter hypothesis: theory, evidence, and a model of timing of adoption," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 267-294.
    7. Mr. Abdoul A Wane & Luc Eyraud & Ms. Changchang Zhang & Mr. Benedict J. Clements, 2011. "Who's Going Green and Why? Trends and Determinants of Green Investment," IMF Working Papers 2011/296, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Graham McIntosh, 2016. "Socially Responsible Investment and Market Performance: The Case of Energy and Resource Firms," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1609, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    9. Dechezleprêtre, Antoine & Kozluk, Tomasz & Kruse, Tobias & Nachtigall, Daniel & de Serres, Alain, 2019. "Do Environmental and Economic Performance Go Together? A Review of Micro-level Empirical Evidence from the Past Decade or So," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 13(1-2), pages 1-118, April.
    10. Ng, Alex & Zheng, Di, 2018. "Let's agree to disagree! On payoffs and green tastes in green energy investments," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 155-169.
    11. Joseph Lanfranchi & Sanja Pekovic, 2012. "How Green is my Firm? Workers' Attitudes towards Job, Job Involvement and Effort in Environmentally-Related Firms," Working Papers halshs-00744483, HAL.
    12. Stefan Ambec & Paul Lanoie, 2009. "Performance environnementale et économique de l'entreprise," Economie & Prévision, La Documentation Française, vol. 0(4), pages 71-94.
    13. Alain-Désiré Nimubona & Bernard Sinclair-Desgagné, 2011. "Polluters and Abaters," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 103-104, pages 9-24.
    14. Lanoie, P. & Llerena, D., 2007. "Des billets verts pour des entreprises agricoles vertes ?," Working Papers 200707, Grenoble Applied Economics Laboratory (GAEL).
    15. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7347 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Paul Lanoie & Daniel Llerena, 2007. "Des billets verts pour des entreprises agricoles vertes?," Cahiers de recherche 07-07, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    17. Amy McMillan & Timothy C. Dunne & Joshua R. Aaron & Brandon N. Cline, 2017. "Environmental Management’s Impact on Market Value: Rewards and Punishments," Corporate Reputation Review, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 20(1), pages 105-122, February.
    18. Rim Makni & Claude Francoeur & François Bellavance, 2009. "Causality Between Corporate Social Performance and Financial Performance: Evidence from Canadian Firms," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 89(3), pages 409-422, October.
    19. Eyraud, Luc & Clements, Benedict & Wane, Abdoul, 2013. "Green investment: Trends and determinants," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 852-865.
    20. Fabio Iraldo & Francesco Testa & Vlasis Oikonomou & Michela Melis & Marco Frey & Eise Spijker, 2009. "A literature review on the links between environmental regulation and competitiveness," Working Papers 200904, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa, Istituto di Management.
    21. Wei, Zuobao & Xie, Feixue & Posthuma, Richard A., 2011. "Does it pay to pollute? Shareholder wealth consequences of corporate environmental lawsuits," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 212-218, September.
    22. Vania Ivanova, 2013. "Opportunities for the Green Economy in Bulgaria," Economic Alternatives, University of National and World Economy, Sofia, Bulgaria, issue 4, pages 35-44, December.
    23. Paul Lanoie & Daniel Llerena, 2007. "Des billets verts pour des entreprises agricoles vertes?," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-17, CIRANO.
    24. Gerard Hirigoyen & Thierry Poulain-Rehm, 2015. "Relationships between Corporate Social Responsibility and financial performance: What is the Causality?," Post-Print hal-01430986, HAL.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY; INNOVATION; PORTER HYPOTHESIS; ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION; POLLUTION; CAPITAL MARKET; GREEN PRODUCTS;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects
    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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