Inderscience Publishers

Linkage between firm’s sustainability strategies and corporate performance: a meta-analysis of global studies

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The balance between reasonable return on investment and long-term organisational viability has fuelled a significant amount of research to evaluate the effectiveness of corporate sustainability strategies. Several factors influence the relationship between a firm’s performance and its sustainable development strategies, and there is no clear ‘line of sight’ between performance and strategic behaviour. Most theoretical attempts to describe the relationship have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to produce robust conclusions for general guidance. Using a meta-analysis methodology, this article evaluates the aggregated performance outcomes of different corporate sustainability strategies that draw on data from 18 studies and more than 20,000 firms. The findings indicate a medium to strong positive relationship between sustainability-oriented strategies and a firm’s ‘triple bottom line’. Additionally, proactive sustainability-oriented strategies tend to result in higher payoff.

Keywords: sustainable development, corporate sustainability, organisational behaviour, environmental performance, social performance, economic performance, meta-analysis, sustainability-oriented strategies, reactive and proactive behaviour, triple bottom line, TBL, environmental stewardship, social responsibility, economic prosperity

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