Over and above what it does for Mother Earth, can investing in sustainability give businesses a dollars-and-cents competitive edge? Edward Conlon and Ante Glavas, two management professors at the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame, think so.
In a new study, "The Relationship Between Corporate Sustainability and Firm Financial Performance," the pair analyzed data from 562 branches of PNC Bank. The company has 93 LEED-certified branches, meaning the buildings meet the U.S. Green Building Council's standards for energy efficiency and other measures of greenness.
Those earth-friendly branches reported annual revenues averaging more than $3 million higher than their 469 non-LEED counterparts, which works out to $461,300 in extra sales per employee. Each LEED branch opened 458 more deposit accounts, and booked consumer loan balances averaging $994,900 higher, than the typical non-LEED PNC branch. At the same time, the yearly cost of utilities was $675.26 lower per employee at the green branches.
"The findings are significant, and they surprised me," says Conlon.
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