Why Do Companies Rent Green? Real Property and Corporate Social Responsibility
This paper provides the first systematic analysis of the choice by organizations to occupy green office space. We develop a framework of ecological responsiveness, and we formulate five propositions to explain why specific firms and industries may be more likely to lease green space. We test these propositions by analyzing the decisions of more than 11,000 tenants to choose office space in green buildings or in otherwise comparable non-green buildings located nearby. We find that corporations in the oil and banking industries, as well as government-related and non-profit organizations, are among the most prominent green tenants. After appropriately controlling for building quality and for location within one quarter mile, our empirical analysis shows that firms in mining and construction and organizations in public administration are relatively more likely to lease green rather than conventional office space. Furthermore, organizations employing higher levels of human capital (as measured by skills and compensation) are more likely to lease green office space.