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Study: Churchgoers Favor Socially Responsible Companies

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File photo of a person reading a Bible. (credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a person reading a Bible. (credit: DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) – A new study has found there is a strong association between religious adherence and affiliation, and voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Yuan Sun, a professor at Boston University School of Management, and Paul Griffin, a professor at the University of California Davis, conducted the research study using data found in disclosures reported by the CSRwire news service and other public records.

Inside their research paper titled, “Voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility Disclosure and Religion”, the professors demonstrate that companies in areas of high populations of people who practice religion engage in more environmental disclosure as opposed to social welfare disclosure.

“Churches and other religious organizations might consider promoting voluntary CSR disclosure as a means to better align corporations’ actions with communities’ beliefs about environmental protection and social welfare,” Griffin explained in a press release.

More CSR information is disclosed when populations near the corporate headquarters has less evangelicals than non-evangelical Christians.

“Most religious communities identify climate change and social welfare as critical contemporary concerns, and many religious groups actively adopt policies and actions to remedy the perceived social and economic injustices that result therefrom,” Griffin also noted in the press release. “But we did notice that companies’ CSR practices seemed to depend on whether more evangelical Christians versus non-evangelical Christians lived near the headquarters.”

The study also found that positive excess returns are created by stock portfolios reflecting more investment in environmental interests and less investment in social welfare interests during the one to three months following such disclosure.

“We simply do not know whether religious communities’ efforts to increase corporate disclosure might have the desired effects on corporate behavior. But if religious communities’ resources are to be well spent, that knowledge is crucial,” Griffin added.

 

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