At PNC Bank, LEED-certified branches rake in more greenbacks, suggesting that, when it comes to the environment, consumers are willing to put their money where their mouth is.
Over and above what it does for Mother Earth, can investing in sustainability give businesses a dollars-and-cents competitive edge? Edward Conlon
and Ante Glavas
, two management professors at the Mendoza College of Business at Notre Dame, think so.
In a new study, "The Relationship Between Corporate Sustainability and Firm Financial Performance," the pair analyzed data from 562 branches of PNC Bank. The company has 93 LEED-certified branches, meaning the buildings meet the U.S. Green Building Council's standards for energy efficiency and other measures of greenness.
Those earth-friendly branches reported annual revenues averaging more than $3 million higher than their 469 non-LEED counterparts, which works out to $461,300 in extra sales per employee. Each LEED branch opened 458 more deposit accounts, and booked consumer loan balances averaging $994,900 higher, than the typical non-LEED PNC branch. At the same time, the yearly cost of utilities was $675.26 lower per employee at the green branches.
"The findings are significant, and they surprised me," says Conlon.
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