Using a large international dataset that quantifies corporate environmental costs, we analyze the influence of institutional investor ownership, particularly investment horizon and investor origin, on the monetized environmental impact generated by their investee firms. Institutional investor ownership is negatively related to corporate environmental costs. This effect is driven by long-term foreign institutional investors, especially investors from advanced economies. Foreign institutional investors transfer higher norms and standards from their home countries to their investee firms abroad. Corporate environmental costs are negatively correlated with firm valuation and positively correlated with the firm’s cost of equity. To the extent that corporate environmental costs are not already reflected in conventional ESG ratings, our results shed new light on the role of institutional investors in shaping corporate environmental impact.
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