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How does a firm's life cycle influence the relationship between carbon performance and financial debt?

María T. Tascón, Paula Castro and Adrián Ferreras

Business Strategy and the Environment, 2021, vol. 30, issue 4, 1879-1897

Abstract: In a progressively more stringent regulatory context concerning greenhouse gas emissions derived from a growing awareness of how economic activity affects our environment, this study analyzes how the firm's life cycle affects the relationship between carbon performance and financial debt. Using panel data on a sample of European listed firms during the 2005–2018 period, we find evidence suggesting that firms with better carbon performance have greater access to external financing during their growth stages and lesser access during maturity, although it has no effect during the shake‐out stage. Furthermore, carbon performance has a strong positive effect during growth, maturity, and shake‐out when firms need to finance additional tangible investments. We also find that the negative relationship between liquidity and debt is reversed during innovative stages for firms with better carbon performance. Our results are robust to the use of alternative measures of life cycle stages and to the consideration of industrial, legal, and cultural contexts.

Date: 2021
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