Caroline Flammer, Lecturer, Global Economics and Management
In recent years, the call for corporate social responsibility has grown louder, and many companies have committed to serious CSR programs.
However, a big question for companies is to what extent CSR—specifically behavior that affects the environment—actually alters shareholder value. Is it better to pursue a single bottom line, or do shareholders benefit more when a company supports the “triple bottom line” that includes people, the planet, and profits?
It’s easy to see that a company’s environmental footprint can sometimes make a big difference in shareholder value, as when the BP oil spill, in April 2010, sent BP’s stock price plummeting from $59.50 that day to $28.90 by the end of June, reducing shareholder value by half. But that was a dramatic event, the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. What about lesser happenings at other companies?
To find out, I tracked hundreds of articles in The Wall Street Journal for relevant press coverage on responsible and irresponsible environmental behavior by U.S. publicly-traded companies from 1980 to 2009. Then I analyzed how the stock market had reacted to those events and looked for trends over the past three decades.
To read more, please visit Forbes at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2011/08/30/csr-pays-for-itself-heres-the-evidence/