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Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 101, Issue 3, pp 493–505 | Cite as

Signaling Sustainability Leadership: Empirical Evidence of the Value of DJSI Membership

  • Michael Robinson
  • Anne Kleffner
  • Stephanie Bertels
Article

Abstract

We explore the relationship between corporate sustainability, reputation, and firm value by asking whether signaling sustainability leadership through membership on a recognized sustainability index is value generating. Increasingly, stakeholders are demanding that firms demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. One signal that companies can send to stakeholders to indicate that they are sustainability leaders is membership on a recognized “best in class” sustainability index. This article explores both the short-term and the intermediary impact on North American firms of being included or removed from the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI). Our results provide evidence that being added to the DJSI results in a sustained increase in a firm’s share price, suggesting that the benefits of being included on the DJSI outweigh the costs associated with applying. This article also notes a temporary decrease in the value of firms for the first 10 days after their removal from the DJSI; however, this effect is eliminated within the next ten trading days.

Keywords

corporate social responsibility (CSR) Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) financial performance reputation sustainability sustainability leadership 

Abbreviations

CRSP

Center for Research in Security Prices

CSR

Corporate social responsibility

DJSI

Dow Jones Sustainability Index

FP

Financial performance

FTSE

Financial Times and London Stock Exchange

GRI

Global Reporting Initiative

KLD

Kinder, Lyndenberg, Domini

SEC

Securities and Exchange Commission

SRI

Socially Responsible Investment

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Robinson
    • 1
  • Anne Kleffner
    • 1
  • Stephanie Bertels
    • 2
  1. 1.Haskayne School of BusinessUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of BusinessSimon Fraser UniversityVancouverCanada

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