Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gary Birkenbeuel

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2019 Samantha W Lee


This paper examines the relationship between a firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and its Corporate Financial Performance (CFP) in nine consumer-facing industries classified by the Fortune 500. Unlike prior research on the matter, the firms investigated in this study consist only of firms on both the Fortune 500 for the year 2018 and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) between the years 2005-2018 in order to define a clear measurement of CSR. In order to gauge investor and market sentiment, CFP is measured primarily by the firm’s stock performance in comparison to the S&P 500 as a basis. The results of this study suggest that while results vary heavily from industry to industry, firms with wealthier target audiences will typically benefit from a more sustainable brand image while firms targeting a lower-income audience actually suffer negative consequences due to the increased costs associated with sustainability and low returns from customers seeking cheap options.