This study investigated whether the way firms fund themselves is affected by their participation in the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI). As a complementary objective, we analyzed the relationship between the CSI and risk, based on signaling theory, which presents possible solutions to mitigate adverse selection problems caused by asymmetric information, used when there is a need to make decisions about investments in uncertain settings. We used a natural experiment based on a sample of 378 firms, divided into a treatment and a control group, with panel data and double fixed effect. The results indicate that the signaling of corporate social responsibility (CSR) was negatively related to indebtedness and risk when compared with firms that did not engage in such signaling. These results shed light on the relevance of sustainability indexes as a credible way for firms to indicate their commitment to CSR.
Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI); Capital Structure; Risk; Natural Experiment