Resource-efficiency actions and financial performance: Exploring the moderating role of production cost

Muhammad Ishfaq Ahmad, Muhammad Akram Naseem, Enrico Battisti, Guido Giovando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study employs the Porter hypothesis framework to test the moderating role of production cost in the relationship between resource-efficiency actions and financial performance for German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For this purpose, we employ the 2012, 2018, and 2021 Flash Eurobarometer surveys to analyze how consistently SMEs adopt resource-efficiency actions, and the impact of these actions on their performance and costs. We also conduct a generalized method of moments regression analysis (GMM). Among the seven resource-efficiency actions proposed, saving water had a significant positive (negative) influence on financial performance in 2012, 2021, and (2018). Saving energy and using renewable energy had a positive and significant (insignificant) effect on financial performance in 2018, 2021, and (2012). Finally, selling scrap material to other companies had a positive and significant impact in all years. Furthermore, increased production costs negatively moderate the relationship between eco-efficiency action scores and financial performance. The results indicate that the “strong” version of the Porter hypothesis is not supported: It only holds when the implementation of eco-efficiency actions reduces production costs and increases financial performance.

Open Research
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness Ethics, Environment and Responsibility
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes


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