Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Science and Policy

First Advisor

Douglass Klein




Over the last century, the ideology regarding the relationship between humans and the natural world has shifted from a period of major exploitation to a time of conservation and appreciation. Recent catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a result of sea level rise and wetland degradation, have really opened the public's eyes to the negative impacts that humans have on the environment, and what will come if we do not change our ways. Implementing sustainability practices has become a norm, if not a necessity, in the corporate world if companies wish to prosper. Using cross-sectional data from Newsweek's 2015 Green Rankings List and a variety of online financial sources, this study examines the relationship between corporate sustainability efforts, specifically "green" efforts as reported by Newsweek, and performance in financial markets. Companies may strive for sustainability for its own sake, but they may also hope that their efforts will be rewarded by better financial performance and recognition by the consuming and investing public. To get at the former, this study examines the relationship between Newsweek's Green Ranking and a variety of financial indicators. To address the public perception, using a survey conducted within the Union College community, this study will evaluate how well recognized Newsweek's 2015 Green Rankings environmentally friendly companies are among people with various demographic backgrounds, particularly the millennial age group. The survey will also evaluate how people perceive a company compared to its actual efforts as measured by Newsweek. If there is a relationship between sustainability efforts and financial performance, or public perception, then companies should incorporate environmentally friendly practices into day-to-day operations and learn to market these developments in a way that connects with consumers.