, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 285-300
Date: 03 Feb 2007

Sustainable Development and Corporate Performance: A Study Based on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index

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The goal of this paper is to examine whether business performance is affected by the adoption of practices included under the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). To achieve this goal, we analyse the relation between CSR and certain accounting indicators and examine whether there exist significant differences in performance indicators between European firms that have adopted CSR and others that have not. The effects of compliance with the requirements of CSR were determined on the basis of firms included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), and specific accounting indicators were applied to measure performance. For the purposes of this study, we selected one group of firms belonging to the DJSI and another comprised of firms quoted on the Dow Jones Global Index (DJGI) but not on the DJSI. The sample was made up of two groups of 55 firms, studied for the period 1998–2004. Empirical analysis supports the conclusion that differences in performance exist between firms that belong to the DJSI and to the DJGI and that these differences are related to CSR practices. We find that a short-term negative impact on performance is produced.