Sustainability performance and social media: an explorative analysis

Sarah Russo, Federico Schimperna, Rosa Lombardi, Pasquale Ruggiero
2021 Meditari Accountancy Research  
Purpose This paper aims to present a deep understanding of how social media affects organisations' sustainability performance, using environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. Particularly, this paper assumes the existence of a causal relationship between organisations' sustainability performance and the use of their social media profile (i.e. Twitter). Design/methodology/approach The authors used a multivariate regression with an explorative approach. Using Thomson Reuters Eikon, the
more » ... uthors composed a sample of 115 public EU companies with a headquarter in Europe operating in the "energy" and "utilities" sectors. The authors collected ESG-related, financial and Twitter-related data covering the period 2016–2019. Findings The study findings emphasise the existence of a statistically significant and positive relationship between social media profiles (i.e. Twitter) and companies' sustainability performance. Findings show that ESG-oriented companies use their Twitter profile more as a tool for achieving a higher level of legitimation rather than for managing their sustainability strategy and related performance. Therefore, social media contribute more to the construction of companies' CSR identity than the management of analytic aspects of sustainability performance. The longevity of companies' profiles is the variable mostly showing a causal relationship not only with the general measure of companies' sustainability performance but also with its pillars and sub-pillars. Originality/value This research is original in showing academics, practitioners and policymakers results on the impact of different modalities of interaction (retweets, replies, likes and quotes) between organisations and stakeholders by using social media on sustainability performance.
doi:10.1108/medar-03-2021-1227 fatcat:577hdzugifehrcwgpjaxtuhfhy