The CSR Halo

Abstract
Multiple pressures are today propelling the private sector towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) without detracting from the firm’s competitive advantage,profitability, and hence, its own sustainability. Achieving credible CSR is often a longterm process, taking years to fully develop, institute, and pay off financially, yet current research is limited by its ambiguity and methodological inconsistencies, and by the short time horizon of many studies. This paper responds to this gap by developing and testing a multifaceted, long-term model of firm sustainability practices. The dataset we develop spans ten years, which to our knowledge is the first time such a cumulative long-term view has become possible in the study of CSR actions. Our findings reveal a number of significant relationships which together suggest the existence of a long-term “halo” effect in CSR-committed companies, whereby responsible behavior in the CSR arena is positively associated with other positive aspects of firm operations, including financial performance and a lack of evidence of “greenwashing.”
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