Standing Up or Standing By: Abnormally Hot Temperatures and Corporate Environmental Engagement

Journal of Business Ethics:1-35 (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This study investigates how abnormally hot temperatures affect firms’ environmental behaviors in China. We find that firms exposed to abnormally hot temperatures participate in more environmental engagement. We also find that this improvement effect is driven mainly by environmental concerns, including public concerns, CEOs, and governments. Our results remain intact after an array of robustness tests. Further analysis shows that the effect of abnormally hot temperatures on corporate environmental engagement is more pronounced in SOEs, heavily polluting firms, and firms located closer to local environmental protection agencies. Based on the political pressure channel, our results indicate that the improvement effect is more prominent in politically connected firms, cities where local officials can wield more influence, local governments have larger financial slack, and local governments disclose their environmental targets. Moreover, the positive impact of environmental engagement on firm value is stronger when firms are exposed to abnormally hot temperatures. Overall, this study sheds light on the potential stimulation of firms’ environmental actions by global warming, which is yet to be fully understood.

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