The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance

This year the theme for the annual conference of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) is "The Consequences of Culture." Professors Robert Eccles and George Serafeim of the Harvard Business, and I will be presenting the linked paper  "The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance."<>

One of the most important questions regarding sustainability is its impact on financial performance. In an empirical study of two matched sets of firms covering an 18-year period, we find strong evidence that the High Sustainability firms significantly outperform the Low Sustainability firms, measured in both accounting and stock market terms.

Using a database obtained from SAM enables us to show significant differences in corporate governance and stakeholder engagement between the two sets of firms.  We also show that High Sustainability firms have a longer-term time horizon, have more long-term investors, and place a greater emphasis on measuring and reporting nonfinancial information.

We will be revising this paper based on feedback we get at the conference and from others, so comments are welcome.

My Research

I am a strategy scholar whose research focuses on Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). More specifically, I seek to understand whether, how, and the extent to which the modern business organization contributes towards building a sustainable future. My academic work evolves around two main themes: a) understanding how investment analysts, and the public equity markets, perceive, evaluate and react to corporate engagement with, and integration of, environmental and social issues into strategy and b) understanding the multiple factors (e.g. institutional, regulatory, behavioural) that may affect, drive or hinder, the corporate decision to adopt environmentally and socially responsible strategies.

Upcoming Events

February 27, 2018

Prof. Ioannou will be speaking at LBS HR Strategy Forum

April 27, 2018

Prof. Ioannou will be speaking at ESMT's Sustainable Business RoundTable

May 24, 2018

Prof. Ioannou will be speaking at LBS's Private Equity Symposium