Concave and convex effects of ESG performance on corporate sustainable development: Evidence from China

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24136/oc.2972

Keywords:

ESG; corporate sustainable development; quantile regression; double-edged effect

Abstract

Research background: Corporate sustainable development (CSD) is essential to a company's success and survival. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) are regarded as major factors in measuring the impact of CSD. Companies that perform well in terms of ESG can maintain a competitive advantage and achieve sustainable development. Poor management of ESG performance and involvement in controversial activity can harm a company's credibility and reputation in the market, as well as negatively impact sustainable development.

Purpose of the article: Drawing on the stakeholder and signaling theories, this paper investigates the curvilinear nexus between ESG performance and CSD.

Methods: Empirical studies were conducted on a sample of 697 Chinese listed manufacturing firms that disclosed ESG information from 2010 to 2020, with a total of 5699 firm-year observations. Quantile regression analysis and the U-test were used to examine the curvilinear ESG-CSD relationship. This technique was supplemented by conducting instrumental variables tests and propensity score matching to address concerns relating to the potential existence of endogeneity problems.

Findings & value added: The results of the quantile regression estimation confirm the concave-convex (inverted U-shaped and U-shaped) ESG-CSD relationship via the U-test. The relationships between the environmental and social components and CSD follow an inverted U-shaped or half-inverted U-shaped pattern, while the relationship between the governance component and CSD exhibits a concave-convex pattern. A concave ESG-CSD nexus is evident in environmentally sensitive industries, whereas a half concave-convex ESG-CSD nexus is confirmed in non-environmentally sensitive industries. This study improves scholars’ understanding of ESG performance and provides a comprehensive perspective on the double-edged effects (positive and negative consequences) of ESG practices. The instrumentalization of ESG practices for management to seek personal gain has a negative impact on CSD, while ESG practices that add value for stakeholders have a positive impact. These findings provide empirical evidence for Chinese publicly listed manufacturing firms to effectively conduct ESG practices.

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Published

2024-06-30

How to Cite

Zhang, X., Miao, L., Mu, G., & Wu, K.-S. (2024). Concave and convex effects of ESG performance on corporate sustainable development: Evidence from China. Oeconomia Copernicana, 15(2), 595–636. https://doi.org/10.24136/oc.2972

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