Corporate commitment to climate change action, carbon risk exposure, and a firm's debt financing policy
Motivated by the rising consensus that corporate engagement in climate change actions holds the key for society's transition into environmentally resilient economy, the study examines whether a firm's commitment to climate change action and its carbon risk exposure shape the firm's debt financing policy. Based on insights drawn from signaling, corporate reputation, and agency theories, we develop models that link corporate commitment to climate change actions and a firm's carbon risk exposure with its debt financing decisions. Using data drawn from S&P 500 companies, for years 2015 to 2019, we find a robust evidence that firms that engage in higher levels of commitment to climate change actions issue a higher proportion of debt with longer terms to maturity, even after controlling for their carbon risk exposure. However, we do not find a robust evidence corroborating an association between firms' carbon risk exposure and their debt financing policy. These findings are consistent with arguments that high-commitment firms enjoy positive reputation, better credit rating, and reduced agency and information asymmetry costs, allowing them to gain easier access to long-term debt markets.
Business Strategy and the Environment
Lemma, Tesfaye T.; Lulseged, Ayalew; and Tavakolifar, Mohammad, "Corporate commitment to climate change action, carbon risk exposure, and a firm's debt financing policy" (2021). Accounting, Business Law, and Finance Faculty Publications. 29.