Do carbon neutrality initiatives affect the shareholder value of firms? Evidence from China

Tingting Li, Xiangrui Meng, Fu Jia*, Lujie Chen, Liukai Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study tests the impact of carbon neutrality initiatives on shareholder value and explores how equity returns achieved as a result of carbon neutrality vary across operating environments. Based on 226 carbon neutrality announcements made between 2017 and 2021, we conducted an event study to estimate the impact of carbon neutrality initiatives on Chinese firms' shareholder value. Under the opportunity-motivation-ability (OMA) framework, we further analyzed the heterogeneous effects of distinctive firm characteristics (social rating and firm size), in which carbon neutrality announcements represented opportunity, social rating represented motivation, and firm size represented ability. We further demonstrated how the announcement characteristics and industry differences affected stock market responses. The results indicate that carbon neutrality initiatives have a significant average abnormal return of 0.99% on the announcement date and a positive long-term impact on shareholder value. This equity return is more pronounced for smaller firms with higher social ratings, and the stock market reacts less positively to firms that announce carbon neutrality initiatives in social responsibility reports. The stock market does not react strongly to manufacturing firms’ carbon neutrality initiatives. The study provides some important insights toward the CSR-firm performance debate by providing a new measurement of CSR (i.e. carbon neutrality initiative) and examining the relation from an OMA perspective and looking into some contingency factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number138115
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2023


  • Carbon neutrality initiatives
  • Event study
  • Opportunity-motivation-ability framework
  • Shareholder value


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