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Using firm- and facility-level measures from 2002 to 2021, we show that having female directors leads to more environmental-friendly business operations. To establish the causal effect, we resort to plausibly exogenous variations in the share of female directors and a California law change. We show that neither board qualifications nor standard diversity measures supersede the share of female directors in explaining corporate environmental performance, suggesting that director gender is likely a holistic measure of female directors’ values and perspectives, and that female directors contribute to diversity of thought. Our findings highlight positive externalities among firms’ environmental, social, and governance engagement.

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