The following is a compilation of eight important research findings from 2012 on the relationship between corporate social performance and corporate financial performance.

  1. When Shareholders Are Scarier than Greenpeace
    Ion Bogdan Vasi (Columbia University) and Brayden King (Northwestern University) reveal that shareholders unhappy with your environmental track record hurt your company’s stock price far more than a GreenPeace boycott.
  2. The 5 Traits of Firms that Create Sustainability ROI
    Robert Eccles, George Serafeim (Harvard University), and Ioannis Ioannou (London Business School) reveal the five cultural traits of companies with strong social, environmental, and financial performance.
  3. Investors Reward Environmental Results – Not Promises
    Timo Busch and Volker Hoffman (ETH Zurich) discover investors are unimpressed by grand goals to curb carbon emissions: they want to see results.
  4. 3 Ways to Reap Value from CSR Initiatives
    After a survey of Spain’s 500 largest firms, Brian Husted (York University) and David Allan (IE Business School) pinpoint the three ways companies can ensure their CSR efforts create tangible financial value.
  5. Philanthropy Is Not a Quick Fix for a Damaged Reputation
    Alan Muller (University of Amsterdam) and Roman Kraussl (VU University of Amsterdam) discover that making financial donations to natural disaster victims doesn’t engender immediate goodwill.
  6. How to Manage Your Company’s Reputation through a Crisis and Come Out On Top
    Studying market reactions following the U.S. stock options “backdating scandal,” Jay J. Janney (University of Dayton) and Steve Gove (Virginia Tech) discover guilty firms suffered less severe declines in stock prices if they had strong reputations for social responsibility.
  7. Making Money and Sustainable Progress with Entrepreneurship
    Sarah Dixon and Anne Clifford (Kingston Business School) reveal the cost-saving and money-making tactics managers can borrow from “eco-preneurs” – from hiring strategies that lower your salary expenses to the free publicity you can generate for your CSR projects.
  8. Employee Commitment Can Turn Ethics Into Dollars
    Research by Jinseok Chun (Seoul National University) finds that a company’s higher ethical standards spur “good citizenship” between employees and ultimately improve financial performance.


Stay tuned in January 2013 for “Where Are You on the U?” – a new research study that finds what you get out of your CSR commitment depends on how much you put in.