Graduation Year

Fall 2012

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Manfred Keil

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Rights Information

© 2012 Brian D. Bartlett


The topic of corporate sustainability reporting has seen rapid growth in the past couple of years as more firms are placing a greater emphasis on becoming sustainable. However, the true impact of sustainability reporting on firm value has been widely debated, often due to the nature of the qualitative data in sustainability reports. This thesis uses a normalized sustainability scoring system to examine the effects of sustainability reporting on firm value. In particular, this paper analyzes these effects during the Great Recession to note if there was any change in the effects on a year-by-year basis due to macroeconomic differences. This study finds that not only is superior corporate sustainability reporting positively correlated with increased firm value, but also that the degree of the impact greatly drops during the recession. These findings suggest that sustainability could be an advantageous business tool during stable economic times but not nearly as important in terms of increasing firm value during times of recession. Therefore, the results of this thesis have important practical uses and serve as a basis for analyzing the financial effects of corporate sustainability initiatives as this type of reporting becomes more prevalent in the future.