The heterogeneity of board-level sustainability committees and corporate social performance

Jenna J Burke, Rani Hoitash, Udi Hoitash
Journal of Business Ethics,Vol. 154, Issue 4, Pages: 1161-1186.
This paper explores an increasingly prevalent element of board-level commitment to sustainability. We propose a theoretical framework under which the existence and associated actions of board-level sustainability committees are motivated by shared value creation, where the interests of a diverse group of stakeholders are satisfied and sufficient profit is achieved. Using hand-collected data, we find that sustainability committees are heterogeneous in focus and vary in their effectiveness. Specifically, we disaggregate the sustainability committee construct based on stakeholder group focus (i.e., community, employee, environment, and consumer/supplier) and find that associations between sustainability committees and performance outcomes are stronger when committees focused on a specific stakeholder group are paired with relevant performance outcomes. We generally find that sustainability