Sustainable energy systems and company performance: Does the implementation of sustainable energy systems improve companies’ financial performance?

Carmen Pilar Martí-Ballester*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd The main aim of this paper is to analyse whether the adoption of sustainable energy systems improves corporate financial performance. To this end, we obtained data from a sample of 574 multinational companies from 36 countries in the 2008–2013 period. On this data we implement a dynamic system panel data method. Our findings show that the adoption of sustainable energy systems allows firms to improve their short-term corporate financial performance while not leading them to reduce their corporate financial performance in the long term. Specifically, our results indicate that an increase in energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources do not significantly affect corporate financial performance. Neither does the integration of energy efficiency systems and renewable energy sources have any significant influence on corporate financial performance, while the level of implementation of sustainable energy management systems has a significant effect on short-term, but not long-term, corporate financial performance. Furthermore, other control variables, such as research and development expenditure and year, are also relevant in explaining firms’ financial performance. The adoption of sustainable energy systems helps to improve corporate financial performance in the short-term but has no affect in the long-term. This might be because the monitoring of energy efficiency using key performance indicators allows firms to detect and correct failures in the production process and hence improve short-term financial performance. However, this measure does not generate competitive advantages for firms and therefore has no effect on long-term corporate financial performance. From a scientific perspective of energy, this paper contributes to the literature by providing a detailed explanation of how the adoption of sustainable energy systems proposed by Peura (2013) influences corporate financial performance on the basis of new empirical evidence. These explanations provide a strong rationale for improving the efficient use of energy and harvesting low hanging fruits in the short term from a managerial perspective. Policymakers should encourage firms to align sustainable energy systems with their core business strategy by developing green technologies that allow them to acquire rare and valuable capabilities and abilities, which generate competitive advantage, and therefore allow firms to increase their long-term corporate financial performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S35-S50
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2017

Keywords

  • Companies
  • Corporate financial performance
  • Dynamic panel data model
  • Rational use of energy
  • Renewable energy

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