Earth Day: Recent Research on Sustainability

Earth Day helps us reflect on environmental issues that both sustain and threaten our planet. Harvard Business School researchers have approached these issues pragmatically, conducting numerous studies aimed at helping business leaders to understand how business affects the environment, and vice versa. Here is a sample of that work.

Earth DayRecent articles have looked at research into the history, efficacy, and social responsibility found at the intersection of business and the environment. Here is a sample of some of the latest work from the School.

How CEOs Sustain Higher-Ambition Goals
At a recent HBS conference, executives underscored the importance of employee engagement, contributing to the community, and creating sustainable environment strategies.

Harvard Business School at the Kumbh Mela
In this video report, Senior Lecturer John Macomber visits the Kumbh Mela in India to discover what such an undertaking can teach us about real estate, urbanization, sustainability, and infrastructure.

LEED-ing by Example
When a local government decides to pursue environmentally aware construction policies for its own buildings, the private sector follows suit, according to new research by Timothy Simcoe and Michael W. Toffel.

Funding the Design of Livable Cities
As a burgeoning global population migrates to the world's urban centers, it's crucial to design livable cities that function with scarce natural resources. John Macomber discusses the critical connection between real estate financing and innovative design in the built environment.

HBS Cases: Who Controls Water?
In a recent field study seminar, Professor Forest L. Reinhardt discussed the case "Woolf Farming & Processing," which illustrates how access to water—a basic building block of agriculture—is affected by everything from complex government-mandated requirements to a 3-inch endangered bait fish.

When Good Deeds Invite Bad Publicity
Many executives assume that investments in corporate social responsibility create public goodwill. But do they? Felix Oberholzer-Gee and colleagues find surprising results when it comes to oil spills.

Pay for Environmental Performance: The Effect of Incentive Provision on Carbon Emissions
Research has shown that reducing carbon emissions and exhibiting good environmental performance are important for corporations. But how exactly are these environmental goals carried out within organizations? Some answers lie in research by Robert G. Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou, Shelley Xin Li, and George Serafeim.

Power from Sunshine: A Business History of Solar Energy
This paper by Geoffrey Jones and Loubna Bouamane provides a business history of solar energy between the nineteenth century and the present day.

Reinforcing Regulatory Regimes: How States, Civil Society, and Codes of Conduct Promote Adherence to Global Labor Standards
Responding to regulatory and public pressure, many companies asked their suppliers to adhere to codes of conduct governing labor conditions and environmental management. Michael W. Toffel, Jodi L. Short, and Melissa Ouellet examine the conditions under which tens of thousands of suppliers across many countries are more likely to adhere to the labor practices these codes of conduct call for.

Technology Choice and Capacity Portfolios Under Emissions Regulation
What technologies should firms invest in when emissions are costly? With the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme in the EU, California's Assembly Bill 32, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the northeastern US, and now Australia's Clean Energy Bill, more and more firms are having to ask themselves that question when planning their capacity portfolios. David Drake, Paul R. Kleindorfer, and Luk N. Van Wassenhove study the impact of emissions tax and emissions cap-and-trade regulation on a firm's long-run technology choice and capacity decisions.

    • Dawit Addiso
    • MBA, Student at Arbaminch University,Ethiopia
    Traditionally,it was believed that the ultimate goal of any business institution, or corporation is merely profit,or wealth maximization. But nowadays objective of any business activity goes further. Besides profit maximization in order to satisfy shareholders' interest, any kind of business activity is social responsible not doing any activity that harass,or affect individual,public,or society at large. This indicates that executives of any corporation, or any business owners or managers should give due emphasis towards environmental health,protection as well as should work for or give priority to environmental hygiene and general public. In order to ensure this,possible steps should be undertaken with concerned bodies!