Women in management enhance companies' eco-transition

The positive influence of women in management positions on the ecological transition of companies is highlighted in the findings of two research studies conducted at Excelia Business School.
12 Mar 2024
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Women in management positively impact companies' ecological transition
Women in management positively impact companies' ecological transition

Two research studies, published in January 2024, demonstrate the positive impact of the presence of women on boards of directors in furthering the ecological transition of companies. The first study shows that the presence of a greater number of women on boards of directors and in management positions stimulates green innovation and, on a wider scale, corporate innovation. The second study reveals the positive impact of women in achieving carbon emission reduction targets.

Each study involved a research-active faculty member from Excelia Business School, a school renowned for its commitment, its exemplary approach, and its research in the field of the ecological transition.

The presence of women in management encourages both corporate and green innovation

Using a cross-section of French listed companies, the first study involved a team of researchers led by Amal Hamrouni, a Professor at Excelia Business School. It examined the correlation between the number of women on boards of directors and green innovation, a subject that very few studies have addressed to date.

As an emerging concept, green innovation is a set of processes, methods, and technologies that provide a company with not only advantages in terms of performance or efficiency, but also in helping to reduce its negative environmental impact and in promoting sustainability.

The researchers discovered that the presence of more women on boards of directors and in senior management positions, such as Chief Financial Officer, leads to an increase in corporate innovation and particularly green innovation.

Several findings emerge from this study:

  • Women undertaking innovative activities focus both on the company’s competitive advantage and on sustainable development
  • Board gender diversity improves a company’s judgement and decision-making capabilities
  • Female directors are more sensitive to stakeholders’ interests (including environmental issues) and are more likely to adopt ethical practices than their male counterparts

The results of this study indicate that companies should prioritise gender diversity within their management teams in order to stimulate innovation and sustainable strategies.

It should be noted that the effect is more prevalent for female independent directors and in the voluntary approach of appointing women on boards.

Details: The power of inclusion: Does leadership gender diversity promote corporate and green innovation? (January 2024), Research in International Business and Finance

Women have a positive impact on reducing carbon emissions

Companies with a higher proportion of women on their boards are more likely to reduce their carbon emissions in line with emission reduction targets.

This is the finding of a second study conducted by a team of researchers, including Ali Uyar, Professor at Excelia Business School. The study examined the most polluting companies operating in the basic materials sector. It considered whether these companies are more likely to set emission reduction targets and whether the presence of women is influential in achieving such targets.

The results of the study reveal that companies that emit more carbon emissions are more likely to set emission reduction targets, and that the presence of female directors positively affects the ‘gap’ between carbon emissions and emission reduction targets.

This study focussed on publicly traded companies in various countries, operating in the basic materials sector and listed in the Thomson Reuters Eikon database.

Details: Emission targeting and carbon emissions: The moderating effect of female directors (January 2024), Business Strategy and the Environment

These two research studies fall within the scope of the SD-CSR research area of the CERIIM, Excelia Business School’s research centre.

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