Academic researchers at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business recently studied whether companies that make positive discretionary environmental announcements in the press improve their overall environmental performance more than companies that do not.
The answer is an encouraging “yes,” according to Manpreet Hora and Ravi Subramanian, Associate Professors of Operations Management and affiliated faculty of Scheller College’s Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business (“Center”). Their findings indicate companies that voluntarily disclosed their environmental efforts significantly reduced their overall releases of chemicals, thereby improving their environmental performance, compared to companies that did not make such disclosures. Their research also reveals that “greenwashing,” specifically in the form of touting positive environmental actions when in fact the firm’s overall environmental performance has not improved, does not appear to be prevalent.
The Center has published a research brief on the study in its Sustainable Business Insights series for practitioners. The full study, “Relationship between Positive Environmental Disclosures and Environmental Performance,” is forthcoming in the Journal of Industrial Ecology.