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The product‐market performance benefits of environmental policy: Why customer awareness and firm innovativeness matter

Mahabubur Rahman, Saqib Aziz and Mathew Hughes

Business Strategy and the Environment, 2020, vol. 29, issue 5, 2001-2018

Abstract: Researchers have widely studied the nexus between corporate environmental (“green”) policy and its green performance and firm financial performance, but with mixed findings. A potential explanation for these mixed findings is the focus of extant studies on the direct and immediate impact of environmental performance on financial performance to the exclusion of firm‐specific boundary conditions. Furthermore, all prior research study the effect of environmental performance on either stock market‐based performance measures (i.e., stock return) or accounting‐based performance measures (i.e., return on assets). A missing third dimension of firm performance, product–market‐based performance (i.e., market share), has so far remained unexplored despite representing a crucial objective when innovating. Using Newsweek's annual green ranking as a novel measure of environmental performance for a panel of U.S. firms from 2010 to 2015, this paper attempts to fill these voids in the literature. The results show a positive relationship between firms' environmental performance and market share as a measure of product–market‐based performance. The findings further demonstrate that this relationship is positively moderated by the level of customer awareness and innovativeness of the firm: The higher the level of awareness of a firm's environmental credentials and innovativeness, the stronger the effects of environmental performance on market share. Our results are robust against endogeneity concerns and alternative measures of firm financial and environmental performance.

Date: 2020
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