Distilling the Interplay Between Corporate Environmental Management, Financial, and Emissions Performance: Evidence From U.S. Firms

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



This article investigates the relationship between firms’ carbon intensity, carbon management practices, and their financial performance. The extant literature on firms’ financial performance and their environmental performance has mostly considered a single dimension of firms’ environmental performance leading to restricted, and often, mixed outcomes. With panel data collected on financial statements and climate change related activities from 136 corporate firms in the U.S. between 2011 and 2018, this article integrates a process dimension based on an environmental management score with an outcome dimension represented by firms’ carbon emissions intensity. A regression model is employed to investigate the relationships between corporate environmental performance and corporate financial performance. We find evidence of a nonlinear relationship between corporate firms’ environmental performance and financial performance across both high and low-carbon intensive sectors. Specifically, we find that for firms in the high-carbon intensive sector, a U-shaped relationship exists between firms’ corporate environmental performance outcome dimension and their financial performance while for the low-carbon intensive sector, the converse is the case. The results show that the interaction between the outcome dimension of environmental performance and financial performance is moderated by the process dimension of environmental performance for firms in the low- and high-carbon intensive sectors.-


Early access 31 December 2020.