This study analyzes the trends, context, and impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives on company’s performance and productivity in China. We use environmental and social responsibility data in 34,000 CSR projects released by 839 companies in 31 provinces from 2006 to 2016. Clustering methods as wells as ordinary least squares and the fixed effects panel regression modeling are performed to provide insights on the context, trends, and impact of CSR projects on companies’ productivity and financial outcomes. Results of data processing and modeling indicate that: (a) most projects focused on improving companies’ environmental sustainability (compared to social); (b) implementation of both environmental and social projects had positive impacts on companies’ performance; and (c) trends, context, and impact of the projects varied with time, company type, and location (provinces). In addition, data suggest that companies operating in regions with lower economic conditions (GDP per capita) seem to be less motivated to implement environmental and social sustainability projects compared to those operating in regions with higher economic conditions. This study is meaningful for both companies that consider adopting CSR initiatives, as well as stakeholders and managers who aim to promote sustainable development in China.
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