The impact of corporate social responsibility on firms’ financial performance in South Africa
University of the Witwatersrand - School of Economic and Business Sciences, South Africa
If Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities are beyond a firm’s legal obligations and potentially require a sacrifice in short-term profits, why do firms promote CSR? This question motivates this investigation of the impact of CSR on a firm’s Corporate Financial Performance (CFP). This relationship is examined for the period from 2004 to 2013 in South Africa. We assess the short-term impact of CSR announcements on financial returns of firms included in or excluded from the Johannesburg Securities Exchange Socially Responsible Investment Index and determine whether there is a difference in the long-term CFP between these two groups for the entire period. The event study methodology shows that investors were rewarded in 2004 and 2012, when firms entered the index, and were penalized in 2013, when firms exited the index. When using regression analysis, the various industries provide mixed results between CSR and CFP for firms over the long term. Based on these results, we find that CSR activities lead to no significant differences in financial performance. © 2015, Wyzsza Szkola Finansow i Zarzadzania w Warszawie. All rights reserved.