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CSR Research by Topic

CSR Research

Browse Environmental, Social & Governance Research 

Here at the BCCCC, our ongoing work with member companies helps us understand the issues today's corporate citizenship professionals are facing. With this audience in mind, we curate and summarize the latest CSR research studies each month. Use the briefs below to better integrate corporate citizenship into your business strategy and/or develop new solutions for pressing social challenges. For your convenience, the briefs are sorted into several prominent categories, all under the umbrella of corporate social responsibility. 


Corporate Citizenship

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storytelling engages consumers in csr

Storytelling engages customers in corporate citizenship on a personal level

RESEARCH BRIEF - Communicating CSR commitments and results within the context of stories (vs. bulleted list or other stripped down forms) can improve attitudes toward the company and thereby encourage positive attitudes and intentions with the company.

csr and firm performance

CSR and firm performance: The essential role of risk and strategy alignment

RESEARCH BRIEF - CSR activities that align with the strategic vision and risk preferences of the firm can deliver better performance.

storytelling and consumer trust

Storytelling improves consumer trust and engagement in corporate citizenship

RESEARCH BRIEF - Consumers are more engaged in and believing of corporate citizenship communications that have a narrative style and focus on individuals—and are therefore less skeptical toward the initiatives they convey.

positive language and perceptions of CSR

How positive language can improve perceptions of corporate citizenship

RESEARCH BRIEF - Consumers judge corporate citizenship actions more favorably when they are framed in positive and comparative terms employing euphemisms that offer clues about the operating context.

Engaging Employees

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hiring processes and veterans

Are we doing disservice to those who served in our hiring processes?

RESEARCH BRIEF - To examine how veterans disclose their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on social media and the consequences in the hiring process, researchers conducted four studies across more than 1,500 people.

creativity increases giving

Ask donors to get creative to increase donations

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers tested several donation scenarios encouraging varying degrees of creativity...

language and gender equality in recruitment

Careful choice of language and representation can increase gender equality in recruitment

RESEARCH BRIEF - The language used in job advertisements, along with representation of women in the recruitment process, promote gender equality in hiring.

supporting diverse employees coping with discrimination

How to support diverse employees coping with discrimination at work

RESEARCH BRIEF - Adopting and encouraging active measures to address race discrimination (seeking supervisor intervention, filing a formal HR complaint, etc.) may improve employee satisfaction with, trust in, and commitment to their employers.

Community Involvement

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time vs money

Perceived control impacts donors’ likelihood to give money versus time

RESEARCH BRIEF - To explore how a greater number of donors might be induced to give money, researchers conducted a series of seven studies with nearly 2,800 participants...

adjust grantee oversight

Adjust grantee oversight to achieve intended outcomes

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers examined survey responses from 242 nonprofit organizations that received funding from foundations. They analyzed how non-monetary factors in the grantee-grantor relationship are linked to...

how consumers assess csr communication

CSR communication: Consumers assess companies based on what they say and do

RESEARCH BRIEF - Communication strategies surrounding corporate citizenship efforts should be commensurate with actual corporate citizenship activities.

price promotion to improve cause marketing success

Try price promotions to improve cause marketing success

RESEARCH BRIEF - When used in a cause marketing setting, price promotions, such as discounts and offers for more of the same product for free increase donations.

Sustainablity Reporting

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esg news affect stock prices

Does ESG news affect stock price? Only if it’s financially material

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers studied ESG information from a wide variety of sources—including reports by analysts, media, advocacy groups, and government regulators— for 3,000 companies...

recognition awards for csr

When can recognition awards for CSR performance make a difference to the bottom line?

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers studied more than 2,200 companies to analyze the effect of winning any CSR award on financial performance, as measured by Tobin’s Q.

esg disclosure benchmarks for companies

Want to understand your ESG disclosure benchmark? Look at companies that are listed like yours

RESEARCH BRIEF - Firm-specific characteristics—such as stock exchange cross-listing—have greatest influence on number of ESG disclosures.

environmental regulations reduce emissions at proactive companies

Do environmental regulations reduce emissions? Yes, when a company is proactive

RESEARCH BRIEF - Having existing emissions commitments, in addition to company and country-level factors, plays a role in whether government environmental policies reduce emissions at a company.

Responsible Corporate Leadership

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women board directors and ESG

Women directors positively affect ESG performance, especially in certain countries

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers looked at the ratio of women directors on the boards of 3,175 global firms alongside the firms’ corporate social performance scores.

women clearer communicators

Women CFOs are clearer communicators with shareholders—and it pays off

RESEARCH BRIEF - CFOs who are women tend to speak more realistically, concisely, and quantitatively than their male counterparts in less scripted portions of earnings calls. Read how investors respond...

ceos and csr performance

CEOs are rewarded professionally for positive CSR performance

RESEARCH BRIEF - Using data on CEO departures, financial data, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores, researchers analyzed the relationship between CSR performance and CEO turnover, in addition to a CEOs’ job market prospects.

women on boards innovation

Women on boards and innovation: Tokenism is not enough

RESEARCH BRIEF - Gender diversity on boards yields innovation results when the number of women is representative rather than symbolic.

Environmental Sustainability

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upside of managing climate risk

It pays to manage climate risk

RESEARCH BRIEF - In a study of nearly 12,000 bank loan terms at nearly 3,000 U.S. companies, researchers analyzed how climate risk affects firm performance and risk, including operational performance, default risk, and bank loan terms.

customers consider sustainability

When buying products, customers consider how sustainability efforts align with business

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers surveyed nearly 550 consumers about how perception of a firm’s environmental sustainability might influence a purchase decision.

carbon neutral

Board gender diversity linked to increased renewable energy consumption, financial performance

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers studied more than 1,400 U.S. firms from S&P’s 1500 index between 2008 and 2016, examining the relationship between board gender diversity and renewable energy use.

consumers pay more for green products

Consumers pay more for green products when they perceive personal connection and good value

RESEARCH BRIEF - Consumer purchase satisfaction, willingness to pay a premium price, and purchase frequency of environmentally friendly products all increase when they perceive personal responsibility and value for the money.

The Value of Corporate Citizenship

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csr corporate apology statement

When to mention CSR in corporate apology statements—congruence and commitment

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers surveyed 252 U.S. consumers, who were asked to read a negative news article about a fictitious pharmaceutical company, along with an apology statement admitting fault for failing to report adverse side effects of its pain reliever.

csr linked to financial performance

CSR benefits financial performance across industries

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers used ESG data on more than 400 firms in 17 countries, looking at how firm size and industry affect the relationship between corporate social responsibility and financial performance.

environmental ratings and credit risk

Strong environmental ratings linked to decreased credit risk

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers examined the relationship between CSR ratings and credit risk by analyzing the influence of environmental, social, and governance ratings on different measures of credit risk across U.S. and E.U. firms.

board composition affects environmental performance

Board composition affects sustainability and financial performance

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers collected data for 456 public U.S. companies, examining board characteristics, corporate sustainability performance, and corporate financial performance over a five-year span.

Supply Chain Management

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modern slavery in supply chain

Modern slavery allegations in global supply chains negatively affect firm performance

RESEARCH BRIEF - Researchers identified more than 200 modern slavery allegations leveled at 79 public companies in various industries. They analyzed how these allegations might affect quarterly firm operating performance...

supply chain structure

In large supply chains, structure impacts ESG transparency

RESEARCH BRIEF - Why the structural features of extended supply chains matter

supply chain sustainability

Customers care about supply chain disclosures

RESEARCH BRIEF - Supply chain traceability and monitoring matter to consumers


Consumer and regulatory pressures can improve corporate environmental practices—if the culture is right

RESEARCH BRIEF - The extent to which pressure from consumers and regulators impact environmental product and process innovations depends on the culture of the company.

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