From Board Composition to Corporate Environmental Performance Through Sustainability-Themed Alliances

Journal of Business Ethics 130 (2):423-435 (2015)
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Abstract

A growing body of work suggests that the presence of women and of independent directors on boards of directors is associated with higher corporate environmental performance. However, the mechanisms linking board composition to corporate environmental performance are not well understood. This study proposes and empirically tests the mediating role of sustainability-themed alliances in the relationship between board composition and corporate environmental performance. Using the population of public oil and gas firms in the United States as the sample, the study relies on renewable energy alliances to measure sustainability-themed alliances and longitudinally analyzes lagged data for independent and control variables. The study found that the higher the representation of women on a firm’s board, the more likely the firm is to form sustainability-themed alliances, and the higher the representation of independent directors on a firm’s board, the more likely the firm is to form sustainability-themed alliances. Such alliances, in turn, positively contribute to corporate environmental performance. This paper discusses the study’s contributions to the board composition-social performance literature.

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