The relationship between CSR and the interest bearing cost of debt : An analysis of Nordic countries
Abstract: Corporate social responsibility (CSR), or perhaps the lack of it, is widely debated today. Regulations and international discussions surrounding the topic is taking up a larger room in the public domain with the Paris Climate Accords being a pinnacle where a number of countries decided to agree to quite ambitious climate goals. For companies, there could be incentives to early adapt to these accords to be better suited for the future. But even during present time, it could be beneficial to as early as possible readjust into a more sustainable direction. The Nordic countries are ranked among the top in the world when it comes to sustainability. Can this however, lead to a reduction in costs for Nordic companies that invest into CSR? The purpose of this study is to examine if there is a link between socially responsible companies and the cost of interest bearing debt. This was done by conducting a number of regression models, both linear and non-linear. The data used have a time frame of 10 years and span between 2009 to 2018 with a total number of 106 firm’s and 796 firm-year observations. CSR scores were collected using Thomson Reuters and the results show that there is a statistically significant negative relationship between CSR and the cost of interest bearing debt. The effects CSR have on the cost of interest bearing debt are somewhat inconsequential and the conclusion is made that CSR can be a major determinant for interest bearing debt, but it is related to the size of the debt portfolio. Further, the results of this research could be viewed as a component in a more comprehensive model.
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