This study explores the relationship between corporate social performance (CSP) and corporate financial performance (CFP) within the context of a specific component of CSP: corporate charitable giving. A model of the determinants of the extent of corporate charitable giving is estimated and used as the basis of a classification that groups firms according to the difference between their actual and their predicted intensity of gift giving. The financial performance attributes of the classification are explored.

Our study of 267 U.S. firms shows that improved environmental risk management is associated with a lower cost of capital. Our findings provide an alternative perspective on the environmental-economic performance relationship, which has been dominated by the view that improvements in economic performance stem from better resource utilization. Firms also benefit from improved environmental risk management through a reduction in their cost of equity capital, a shift from equity to debt financing, and higher tax benefits associated with the ability to add debt.