Performance Chasms in International Sustainability Standards: When Improved Sustainability Performance Doesn’t Pay

SITE (Science, Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship)

Speaker:Effie Kesidou , University of Leeds
Date: Tuesday 23 February 2021
Time: 10:30
Location: Registration Via Eventbrite, Please ask for

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This paper draws on signalling theory to assess the optimal number of International Sustainability Standards (ISS) firms should adopt to generate enhanced market value and sustainability performance. We examine a sample of large firms over ten years and offer empirical evidence of an optimum for each, such that beyond the optimum, more ISS adoption diminishes a firm’s market value and also reduces a firm’s sustainability performance. Our findings also point to a “performance chasm,” where the optimum number of ISSs related to sustainability performance is not equal to the optimum number of ISSs related to market value. Rather, firms lose market value with additional ISS adoption even though they continue to improve their sustainability performance



Effie Kesidou is an Associate Professor in Applied Economics at Leeds University Business School, a Senior Research Fellow at Enterprise Research Centre, Warwick Business School, and a Visiting Scholar at School of Sustainability, Arizona State University. Her research is interdisciplinary and uses applied economic methods to understand how businesses and regions can become more sustainable. Effie has published her work in top-ranked journals such as Research Policy, Ecological Economics, International Journal of Production Economics, Economics Letters, Journal of Business Ethics, World Development, Journal of Environmental Management, or Business History.