Special Issue "Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Juan Sapena
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Economics and Management Department, Catholic University of Valencia, Calle Corona, 34, Valencia, Spain
Interests: sustainable economic development; corporate governance; international finance; policy game

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent decades, there has been an increasing interest in the relationships between sustainable practices and sustainability performance. Moreover, organizations have become more and more interested in applying sustainability to their day-to-day actions and in disclosing them to their stakeholders through sustainability reports.

Essentially, a sustainability practice (SP) is any practice aiming at achieving or supporting a sustainable value. Hart (1996) describes an SP as a group of practice attributes (what), executed by one or more agents (who) in a specific context (when and where), and driven by a sustainable value (why). The discernment and the ability to learn from the successful experiences of other firms are essential to get a competitive advantage.

Elkinton’s (1994) Triple Bottom Line seeks to integrate economic, social, and environmental considerations into actions and strategies. In this vein, reports with actions performed by large organizations and their reach in the three pillars of sustainability—environmental, economic, and social dimensions—are disclosed to their main stakeholders, based on short-, medium-, and long-term sustainable goals.

This Special Issue seeks scholarly papers that integrate sustainability practices with economic and financial performance. Therefore, it welcomes multifaceted contributions offering theoretical insights, deploying empirical data analysis (qualitative or quantitative), discussing case studies, or using other suitable methods to shed light on the problem.

The scope of this Special Issue extends to a variety of settings such as for-profit companies including family businesses, nonprofit organizations including charities, and public sector agencies including governments.

References:

  • Elkington, J., 1994. Towards the sustainable corporation: win-win-win business strategies for sustainable development. Calif. Manag. Rev. 36 (2), 90–100
  • Hahn, T.; Pinkse, J.; Preuss, L.; Figge, F. Tensions in Corporate Sustainability: Towards an Integrative Framework. J. Bus. Ethics 2015, 127, 297–316.
  • Hart, G., 1996. The five W’s: An old tool for the new task of audience analysis. Tech. Commun. 43 (2), 139–145.
  • Lassala, C., Apetrei, A., & Sapena, J. (2017). Sustainability matter and financial performance of companies. Sustainability, 9(9), 1498.
  • Robert M. Solow (2000), 'Sustainability: An Economist's Perspective', in Robert N. Stavins (ed.), Economics of the Environment (4th edn) New York: W.W. Norton, pp. 505–13.

Prof. Juan Sapena
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainable practices
  • intertemporal inconsistency
  • organizational sustainability
  • financial performance

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
The COVID-19 Lockdown Effect on the Intention to Purchase Sustainable Brands
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3241; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063241 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic on 11 March 2020, almost all European countries entered a lockdown. This context caused sudden changes at multiple levels, affecting the way people were working, buying, studying and even the way they were [...] Read more.
After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 pandemic on 11 March 2020, almost all European countries entered a lockdown. This context caused sudden changes at multiple levels, affecting the way people were working, buying, studying and even the way they were interacting. Moreover, during lockdown people showed a special attention to local and sustainable brands giving momentum to the interest on sustainability, that has been increasing in the last years. Therefore, this study aims to determine the intention of buying sustainable and local brands due to the COVID-19 lockdown. An online survey was conducted for two groups of young adults from Spain and Romania, between April and June 2020. The questionnaire respects the methodological recommendations of Azjen (1985) and related literature on how to construct a survey based on the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and it aims to gather information about the three main constructs that determine the individual’s behavioral intention: attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control. The results suggest that both Spanish and Romanian samples intended to buy more local and sustainable brands, despite the slightly different attitudes. Moreover, the data show that both subjective norms and perceived behavioral control influence attitudes toward sustainable and local brands, and hence, indirectly the intention to buy sustainable products. The outcomes are adding to the literature on sustainability, and understanding the effects of COVID-19 on consumer behavior. Additionally, the results can help better understand the importance of sustainability in Spain and Romania, and therefore, offering support to practitioners in building policies and programs that encourage a sustainable lifestyle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance)
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Article
Investor Inattention to All-Cash Acquisition Announcements: A Joint Day-Time Analysis in the Spanish Market
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 721; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020721 - 13 Jan 2021
Viewed by 438
Abstract
Prior studies suggest that investors have limited attention, which determines the speed with which information is incorporated into share prices and, in turn, affects the efficiency of the markets. Unlike other corporate events, the information contained in an acquisition announcement is generally less [...] Read more.
Prior studies suggest that investors have limited attention, which determines the speed with which information is incorporated into share prices and, in turn, affects the efficiency of the markets. Unlike other corporate events, the information contained in an acquisition announcement is generally less standard and more complicated to process. Therefore, investor inattention is less likely around this event. In this study we test the existence of investor inattention for a sample of all-cash acquisition announcements of listed and unlisted target firms released by listed Spanish firms from 1998 to 2018. Cash acquisitions allow us to control for the strategic behavior of overvalued companies engaged in stock-financed acquisitions. We perform a joint analysis of day of the week and time of trade from both a univariate and a multivariate perspective, after controlling for several factors that are related to the market reaction to acquisition announcements. Consistent with the notion that investors are less attentive to Friday announcements, we find a significant lower market reaction to acquisition announcements released during market trading hours both in terms of price and trading volume. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance)
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Article
Building Sustainable Contextual Ambidexterity through Routines: A Case Study from Information Technology Firms
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10638; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410638 - 19 Dec 2020
Viewed by 438
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to explain the role that routines play in achieving sustainable organisational ambidexterity in information technology (IT) firms. Our exploratory analysis of four case studies reveals the key importance of routines in setting the context for sustainable ambidexterity. [...] Read more.
The purpose of this paper is to explain the role that routines play in achieving sustainable organisational ambidexterity in information technology (IT) firms. Our exploratory analysis of four case studies reveals the key importance of routines in setting the context for sustainable ambidexterity. Companies build up contextual ambidexterity through routines derived from normalization of processes, normalization of skills, and normalization of results. The findings of the study show that routines support IT professionals to decide whether to exploit or explore in each particular case. Firstly, the enabling character of explicit routines as a result of the normalisation of work processes and the freedom that IT professionals have when implementing them, allows IT professionals to balance exploitation and exploration. Secondly, companies build up contextual ambidexterity through normalisation of skills. Hence, IT professionals develop embedded implicit routines as a result of training. Thirdly, the findings of the study reveal how routines are settled through the normalisation of results that orientates performance towards satisfying customer demands, as well as supporting professionals in their efforts to balance between exploitation and exploration which is necessary to achieve sustainable ambidexterity in IT firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance)
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Article
Joint Ventures and Sustainable Development. A Bibliometric Analysis
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10176; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310176 - 06 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 677
Abstract
One of the most common business strategies in companies’ growth and internationalization is the Joint Venture (JV) strategy. This type of entry mode in the global market has contributed to building a more sustainable international market. This type of collaborative business normally happens [...] Read more.
One of the most common business strategies in companies’ growth and internationalization is the Joint Venture (JV) strategy. This type of entry mode in the global market has contributed to building a more sustainable international market. This type of collaborative business normally happens between firms located either in the same country or located in different countries with different levels of development. This paper presents a thorough cross-bibliometric analysis of studies examining the relation between joint ventures and sustainability published in academic journals during the period from 1997 to 2020 and available in the Scopus Collection. This mapping of the field on the one hand graphically illustrates the publications’ evolution over time, and on the other hand, the use of bibliometric methodology shows a picture that clusters the academic research of the relationships among these two topics according to the following criteria: JV type, sustainability criteria, host country groups and activity sectors. In addition, the public or private JVs’ nature shows a relation to the type of sustainability, and mainly development and management sustainability. The paper reveals the knowledge gap regarding the connection of these two fields, JV and sustainability, and provides a robust roadmap for further investigation in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance)
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Article
The Importance of Sustainable Practices in Value Creation and Consumers’ Commitment with Companies’ Commercial Format
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 9852; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12239852 - 25 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 473
Abstract
Sustainable economic models are essential for any economic sector of the country. Companies must manage their relationships with the agents involved in their economic activity through a strategy based on dialogue and the constant pursuit of a balance among economic, social and environmental [...] Read more.
Sustainable economic models are essential for any economic sector of the country. Companies must manage their relationships with the agents involved in their economic activity through a strategy based on dialogue and the constant pursuit of a balance among economic, social and environmental interests. In this regard, there has been an increase in customers’ interest in products or businesses that display a comparatively higher commitment with workers, the environment, or society as a whole. This study aims at gaining further insight into the relationship between the committed customer and the company by analyzing the influence of corporate social responsibility on key variables such as customer perceived value or customer commitment as regards its engagement dimension (customer motivations). In order to reach this goal, we perform a review of the literature, followed by a structural equation model that incorporates said variables. This model is tested on a sample of 707 customers of supermarkets and hypermarkets. The results confirm that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) directly affects commitment and that customer perceived value influences both variables (CSR and commitment). In addition, the study confirms the indirect effect of perceived value on customers’ commitment with the commercial format, which is mediated by CSR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance)
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Article
The Future of Money and the Central Bank Digital Currency Dilemma
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9697; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229697 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1926
Abstract
In this paper we set out a three-pillar monetary-financial framework to (i) analyze, categorize and compare past, current and emerging means of payment; to (ii) capture their creation and destruction processes through sectoral balance sheet dynamics; and to (iii) identify the inherent risks [...] Read more.
In this paper we set out a three-pillar monetary-financial framework to (i) analyze, categorize and compare past, current and emerging means of payment; to (ii) capture their creation and destruction processes through sectoral balance sheet dynamics; and to (iii) identify the inherent risks to the current monetary-financial system, also known as the fractional reserve banking system. These risks, which stem from sudden shifts in money demand and supply, are as follows: (I) risk of a cashless society; (II) risk of structural bank disintermediation; (III) risk of systemic bank runs; (IV) risk of currency substitution; and (V) risk of economic and financial bubbles. This framework will guide the assessment of the central bank digital currencies (CBDC), which are considered as the next step in monetary evolution. We will analyze two large groups of CBDC proposals: (i) proposals aimed at complementing cash and bank deposits; and (ii) proposals aimed at replacing all bank deposits with CBDCs. We find that once CBDCs are issued in both sets of proposals, there is always a trade-off between low levels of (I), (IV), (V), risks and high levels of (II) risk. This trade-off could also be defined as the CBDC dilemma, which states that in most CBDC proposals it is impossible to have both of the following at the same time: (1) low levels of (I), (IV) and (V) risks; and (2) low levels of (II) risk. Finally, we suggest that further research on CBDCs should focus on the second group of proposals on a phase-in basis in order to also mitigate the structural bank disintermediation risk and hence to overcome the CBDC dilemma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance)
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Article
Talent Goes Social: Online Corporate Networking and Business Performance
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8660; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208660 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 673
Abstract
This study examines the effect of online social talent on business performance. The paper uses data from a selected sample of 296 companies from the S&P 500 list with active corporate profiles on LinkedIn. The empirical design consists of non-linear techniques to test [...] Read more.
This study examines the effect of online social talent on business performance. The paper uses data from a selected sample of 296 companies from the S&P 500 list with active corporate profiles on LinkedIn. The empirical design consists of non-linear techniques to test the hypothesis that financial performance (i.e., revenue) and online social talent (i.e., employee online profile and skills) have a positive and non-linear relationship. The findings show that internal online social talent measured by employees’ online profiles, and their skills are positively associated with companies’ financial performance. The study provides insights into talent management in the digital age and elucidates the role of online corporate social networking in business performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Practices and Corporate Financial Performance)
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