Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, Do They Make a Difference? The U.S. and the European Union Companies

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Published in: Sustainability, Vol, 12, Issue 17, 2020.


Sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies of companies delineate the health and the welfare of the communities across the globe. The two major goals of this study are (1) To explore the relationship between the environmental regulations, market value, and adoption of sustainability and CSR strategies of the publicly traded firms listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) and (2) To examine the impact of being added to or deleted from DJSI per different market sectors for the firms in the U.S. and the European Union (EU). The selected starting window, the year 2015, for studying the impact of addition to or deletion from the DJS indices was the Paris Accord proposal by the EU and strict sustainability regulations of the EU versus the U.S. We used event study methodology and regression analyses to explain the cumulative abnormal returns utilizing firms’ characteristics and specific market sectors. In addition, the other focus of the study was on heavy (polluting) industries and investigating if the addition to or deletion of the firms in these industries from the sustainability indices had an impact on the market value. The findings of this study reveal no impact of the environmental rules and regulations on adopting sustainability and CSR strategies by either the EU or the U.S. firms. The novel findings of this study indicate a significant negative impact on the market value of firms in heavy industries, Energy, Basic Materials, and Utilities when added to the DJS indices. The study discusses the underlying reasons for these differences and proposes strategies to enhance the impact of addition to or deletion from the DISI to increase firms’ commitments to sustainability and CSR strategies and altering the attitudes of the investors.