The Environmental, Social, Governance, and Financial Performance Effects on Companies that Adopt the United Nations Global Compact

Article, Other literature type OPEN
Eduardo Ortas ; Igor Álvarez ; Ainhoa Garayar (2015)
  • Publisher: MDPI
  • Journal: Sustainability, volume 7, issue 2 2, pages 1-25 (issn: 2071-1050)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3390/su7021932
  • Subject: United Nations Global Compact | stakeholders | ethics | stakeholder theory | GE1-350 | behavior | social performance | TD194-195 | Renewable energy sources | business | RENEWABLE ENERGY, SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT | GEOGRAPHY, PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT | responsability | discourse | sustainable development | United Nations Global Compact; environmental performance; social performance; stakeholders; sustainable development; stakeholder theory | TJ807-830 | management | MANAGEMENT, MONITORING, POLICY AND LAW | organization | self | Environmental sciences | environmental performance | Environmental effects of industries and plants | employees
    • jel: jel:Q2 | jel:Q3 | jel:Q0 | jel:Q | jel:Q5 | jel:Q56 | jel:O13

This paper aims to investigate companies' environmental, social, governance (ESG), and financial implications of their commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The focus is placed on companies operating in the three countries with the highest number of UNGC participants: Spain, France, and Japan. The results clearly reveal that adoption of the UNGC often requires an organizational change that fosters stakeholder engagement, ultimately resulting in improvements in companies' ESG performance. Additionally, the results reveal that ESG performance has a significant impact on financial performance for companies that adopted the principles of the UNGC. These findings provide both non-financial and financial incentives to companies to commit to this voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative, which will have important implications on companies' strategic management policies that aim to foster sustainable businesses and community development. Finally, the linkages between the UNGC-committed companies' ESG and financial performance may be influenced by geographical spread, mainly due to the appearance of differences in the institutional, societal, and cultural settings. The authors are grateful for the financial help from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (research project ECO2011-26171). The usual disclaimer applies.
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