Junior Management Science, Volume 7, Issue 3, July 2022

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Pricing Sustainable Shipping of Coffee: Consumers’ Preferences and Willingness to Pay for Emission Reductions and Offsets

Ulrich Bek, Technische Universität München (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 543-568

The goal of this study is to explore whether decarbonization of maritime shipping and the full supply chain are valued in customer perception. Understanding consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for sustainable maritime shipping of goods can provide opportunities to spread the costs of required sectorial changes. Decarbonization labels were compared to the Fairtrade and European organic label. A discrete choice experiment (DCE) with 299 participants was performed and supporting data was considered for an exhaustive description of preferences and WTP in the exemplary use case of filter coffee. The results indicate a significant WTP premium for all labels. On average, direct reductions of all supply chain emissions were valued at 2.82€ (all values per 500g of coffee) and are thus comparable in importance to the Fairtrade label estimated at 2.77€. Maritime shipping offsets, reductions and offsets for the full supply chain were valued at average premiums of 1.79€, 1.95€ and 1.89€. Organic labelling led to an average premium of 1.61€. A random parameter logit model with correlated parameters found significant preference heterogeneity across participants for all labels. Participants preferring whole bean to ground coffee did not significantly differ in their underlying preferences for the sustainability dimensions but in their price perception and effectively displayed higher WTP for all attributes. This study contributes to current research by providing a thorough measurement of preferences and WTP for emission reductions along the supply chain and is the first to assess offsets compared to direct reductions in a controlled setting for a common product use case.

Keywords: Sustainable maritime shipping; direct decarbonization; carbon offsets; discrete choice experiment; pricing.

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The Variety of CSR Disclosure and its Relationship with the Underlying Performance: A Textual Analysis

Niklas Winterberg, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management (Master Thesis)

Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 569-603

This study examines the relationship between corporate social responsibility (CSR) disclosure and the underlying CSR performance. The linguistic features of integrated and stand-alone sustainability reports from companies listed in the STOXX Europe 600 between 2010 and 2018 are investigated using computer-based textual analysis. The observed textual features are as follows: length, numeric content, horizon content, target orientation, readability, tone, topic-specific disclosure, and the number of topics covered. Additional variables include whether the report is following the framework of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), whether the CSR information is integrated into the annual report or prepared as a stand-alone report, and whether the company is defined as an early or late adopter. Concerning the relationship between the textual characteristics and CSR performance, the results support the hypotheses that length, target orientation, and the number of GRI topics covered are positively correlated with the performance. Concerning topic-specific disclosure, only the environmental and social dimensions are positively correlated with the corresponding performance. The results also reveal that companies with superior CSR performance tend to publish stand-alone reports under the GRI framework and started reporting before the announcement of the EU Directive in 2014.

Keywords: Corporate social responsibility; sustainability; sustainability reporting; textual analysis; GRI.

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Effects of the European CSR Directive (2014/95/EU) on the Credibility of Sustainability Reporting – An Empirical Study of German Listed Companies

Tim Scheufen, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 604-642

The European Union has implemented the CSR Directive 2014/95/EU with the aim to improve sustainability reporting in order to increase the trust of different stakeholders. There is evidence in the literature that stakeholders distrust the sustainability reporting of companies. The lack of credibility may lead to a loss legitimacy or acceptance in society. Accordingly, the master thesis raises the research question whether the implemented CSR directive has increased credibility in the sustainability reporting. To answer the research question the credibility of the sustainability reporting is quantified before and after the implementation of the CSR directive in a German sample (MDAX). Credibility is measured by a credibility index which consists of the following three dimensions: (1) Truth, (2) sincerity and (3) appropriateness & understandability. The results show a statistically significant increase in the dimensions of truth and sincerity after the introduction of the CSR directive. Therefore, the master thesis delivers empirical evidence for the effectiveness of the implemented CSR directive in the context of credibility.

Keywords: CSR-Richtlinie 2014/95/EU; Glaubwürdigkeit; Nachhaltigkeitsberichterstattung; MDAX.

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Demand Estimation for Solar Photovoltaics in the United States – An Instrumental Variable Approach

Veronique Clara Bukow, Technische Universität München (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 643-667

Worldwide the demand for solar photovoltaics (PV) has increased significantly over the past decades. This was driven by a price reduction for solar PV systems. A two-stage least squares linear regression yields insights into the price sensitivity for residential customers in the U.S., and California in particular. The specification includes instrumental variables as well as fixed effects to account for the common issues of endogeneity and data heterogeneity in demand estimation problems, respectively. The variation in the sales tax rate on solar PV and the movements of polysilicon spot prices are used to instrumentalise PV price changes. The regression results imply an inelastic demand with a long-term price elasticity of -0.443, accounting for differences over state and time. Investigating price elasticities for various income groups shows that lower-income customers react more strongly to price changes compared to those with relatively high income (-0.521 vs. -0.195). Likewise, regions with lower population density are more sensitive to price changes (-0.473 vs. -0.338). Besides price, installation costs and technological efficiency majorly impact the system size installed. Results of this study can provide data-driven guidance to efficient policy design and pricing strategies.

Keywords: Price elasticity; solar photovoltaic; instrumental variables; demand estimation.

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Analysis of Green Bonds

Tobias Friedrich Fauß, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen & University of Nottingham (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 668-689

Issuing its first green federal security in 2020, Germany pioneered a unique twin bond concept to address potential liquidity risks compared to their conventional counterparts. A switch mechanism between green and conventional bonds was introduced that allows debt-neutral sale-and-purchase (switch) transactions by the issuing authority. The main goal of this dissertation is to provide a theoretical model that is capable to explain the effects of this twin bond concept on the pricing of green bonds. For this purpose, a stochastic liquidity premium following a Vasicek (1977) process, a constant green premium and a switch option, which is executed when the green bond price falls below the price of its conventional twin bond, are assumed. The model results confirm that this twin bond concept is a viable solution to mitigate illiquidity-induced costs for the green bonds. The main learning from the model is a potential positive value of the switch option before its execution. This implies that issuers adopting this concept could benefit from lower costs of capital compared to ordinary green bonds without a switch mechanism. For investors holding the green instruments, this implies a reduced exposure to liquidity risks.

Keywords: Green bonds; German twin bonds; green premium; liquidity premium; switch transactions.

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Opportunities and Challenges in Commissioning Materiality-Driven Sustainability Reporting Towards the SDGs: The Case of Cadeler A/S

Darian Nestor Weicht, University of Southern Denmark (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, University of Southern Denmark

Frequently and recently tightening and expanding sustainability reporting policies and requirements can pose significant administrative burdens on SMEs upholding a strong culture of accountability to their stakeholder network. This seminal case study examines how a Danish offshore wind farm commissioner can efficiently (1) navigate towards credibility in and (2) derive actionable insights from their sustainability (reporting) integration trajectory by capitalizing on the increasingly emphasized materiality principle. Group-based Fuzzy AHP and Textual Analysis aim to excavate and assess senior managers’ and external stakeholders’ preferences based on the GRI Standards and the UN’s SDG targets. Internal priorities emphasize safety, compliance, and profitability, whereas external stakeholders’ and their groups’ priorities exhibit mixed findings on their type and extent of alignment with the former. Content elements assigned higher relative importance tend to be more robust to changes in decision-makers’ uncertainty and verbal bias. The author confirms that a simplicity-informativeness trade-off tends to be driven by stakeholder grouping and that a data-driven, subject-based, and objectifying approach should be complemented with context, managerial judgment, and process iteration.

Keywords: Sustainability; materiality; prioritization; credibility; actionability.

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Carbon Pricing: A Comparison between Germany and the United Kingdom

Karina Temoche González, Technische Universität München (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 731-755

Climate change is a global problem that almost every country – 191 parties had signed the Paris Agreement – has committed to undertake. The European Union (EU) has been one of the pioneers in implementing policies that tackle greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In 2005, the European Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) was launched as the first carbon market. Despite the EU ETS evolving throughout the years, the United Kingdom (UK) implemented an additional policy. In 2013, the UK introduced a Carbon Price Floor (CPF). This paper examines the impact of carbon pricing on GHG emissions during phase III of the EU ETS (2017-2020) in Germany and the UK. Electricity generated by nuclear and renewable sources are considered in the analysis. There are two research questions. First, is the impact of carbon pricing in these two countries, measured by using an Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) model for panel data. The results show that the UK has been more successful in reducing GHG emissions because of the CPF implementation. Second, whether the Market Stability Reserve (MSR) – a policy within the EU ETS – acted as a Carbon Price Floor (CPF) for Germany. Using a model of Differences in Differences (DD), this paper showed that the MSR significantly reduced the CO2 emissions of Germany.

Keywords: Carbon price; EU ETS; CO2 emissions; carbon price floor; market stability reserve; differences in differences.

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The Impact of Sustainable Supply Chain Management on Corporate Performance – An Empirical Analysis of Manufacturing and Processing Companies in Germany

Sören Schwulera, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 756-801

Companies implement Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) practices to remain competitiveness not only on the economic, but also on the environmental and social levels of the Tripple Bottom Line (TBL). The aim of this paper was to empirically investigate the impact of SSCM practices on the economic, environmental, and the social level of corporate performance of manufacturing and processing companies. In order to achieve this goal, a theoretical research model was set up based on relevant literature with four internal and four external SSCM practices, each of them was expected to have a positive effect on all levels of corporate performance. After an online survey of the 500 biggest manufacturing and processing companies in Germany measured by turnover, 61 questionnaires were evaluated using partial least squares structural equation modelling. In total, 10 of the 28 expected positive effects of internal and external SSCM practices on the three levels of corporate performance could be confirmed. This paper provides a theoretical research model for further studies and supports manager in companies in case of implementation of SSCM practices.

Keywords: Sustainable Supply Chain Management; Unternehmensperformance; Tripple Bottom Line; Partial Least Squares Strukturgleichungsmodellierung.

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The Economic Upside of Green Real Estate Investments: Analyzing the Impact of Energy Efficiency on Building Valuation in the Residential Sector

Timo Deller, Technische Universität München (Bachelor Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 802-825

The rising sustainability awareness will affect the carbon-intensive European real estate industry and will force it to adapt to meet climate targets. The purpose of this thesis is to examine whether the energy efficiency of buildings plays a role in the valuation of buildings in the residential sector in the Rhein-Main Region in Germany. This is done by looking at the impact of energy performance certificates of buildings on their rent and sales prices. Data from publicly available real estate advertisements for the years 2019-2020 are analyzed using hedonic regression models. The rent market analysis (N = 44 442) finds significant cold rent premiums of 5.82%, 2.04%, 3.06% for A+, A and B rated buildings compared to the reference level of D. Significant warm rent premiums of 3.86% and 1.98% are found for A+ and B rated buildings. No significant discounts are found for buildings rated below D for cold and warm rents. The sales market analysis (N = 31 426) shows significant premiums of 6.81%, 3.14% and 1.52% for A+, A and B rated buildings, a range of indifference with no premiums or discounts for C to F rated buildings and discounts of -1.73% and -8.80% for G and H rated buildings. The results show that high energy efficiency of buildings creates significant value for investors.

Keywords: Real estate investments; real estate valuation; green buildings; energy efficiency; sustainability.

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Corporate Social Responsibility and the Effects of Sustainable Corporate Practices and Various Greenwashing Methods on Corporate Reputation

Simon Mütze, Leibniz Universität Hannover (Master Thesis)
Junior Management Science 7(3), 2022, 826-873

As awareness of sustainable consumption continues to grow, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming increasingly relevant. However, when it comes to communicating corporate sustainability (green marketing), false or vague claims, so-called greenwashing, have now reached epidemic dimensions. For this reason, many consumers have built up a fundamental skepticism towards this type of communication. The purpose of this study is to help marketers establish and communicate effective as well as sincere corporate practices to address the challenges posed by greenwashing. Therefore, this study uses a field experiment to investigate how often greenwashing is recognized by consumers in the first place, what companies need to consider for successful CSR and, in particular, what effects different CSR initiatives, greenwashing methods and greenwashing scandals have on corporate reputation. One of the key findings is that greenwashing is strongly condemned and has a strong negative impact on corporate reputation, but due to high consumer skepticism and confusion, as well as low environmental knowledge, it is hardly distinguished from actual CSR measures. Proposed solutions include awareness campaigns for a better understanding of environmental claims in advertising, and government reform and monitoring of eco-labels.

Keywords: CSR; Greenwashing; Unternehmensreputation; Unternehmerische Nachhaltigkeit; Umweltsiegel.

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