You need to be very careful how you interpret these studies because it is very difficult to confuse cause with mere correlation.
There is definitely a correlation between sustainability and performance, but it would be severely flawed to conclude that the sustainability leads to better financial performance.
It would also be flawed to suggest that other industry players would be able to modify their practices to be more sustainable without impacting financial performance.
What is important is to not confuse cause with effect.
In other words, both the good performance and the sustainability are a result of a good corporate performance. The sustainability does not in itself lead to the good performance.
Most mature corporations with good governance perform well. These corporations will tend to have the resources to put into grooming their PR and having sustainability/environmental programs as a way to appeal to both customers and investors.
The advice to keep up sustainability programs running at full speed might be good, but one must see few it with some skepticism considering the paper was written by people who sell these services.
Written in February 2009