Greenwashing and responsible investment practices: empirical evidence from Zimbabwe

Posi Olatubosun, Sethi Nyazenga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Purpose
This paper aims to explore the nature of responsible investment (RI) practices in Zimbabwe from the point of view of the institutional asset owners by investigating not only how they incorporate the ESG criteria when selecting investee companies but also the elements of greenwashing and impression management.

Design/methodology/approach
Based on semi-structured interviews conducted with Pension Fund Entities, Mutual Funds and Life Assurance companies, the authors used interpretive methodological approach to derive the symbolic RI techniques used.

Findings
This study discovered many symbolic acts of “greenwashing” and impression management as opposed to genuine concerns for ESG issues which are at the core of RI practice. RI is used as not only a systematic risk management instrument but also a symbolic marketing tool due to weak regulatory environment. Contrary to the significantly high public communication on RI, the actual links of the asset owners with the environmental impacts in investee companies is insignificant. The authors also found that there are clear distinctions between how foreign and local firms operating in the local economy engage on ESG matters.

Practical implications
This is likely to have practical implications for stewardship practices in developing jurisdictions where RI practices are puerile.

Originality/value
This paper contributes to the literature on RI dialogue by demonstrating the peculiarity of ESG engagement in a developing economy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalQualitative Research in Financial Markets
Volume13
Issue number1
Early online date1 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Zimbabwe
  • impression management
  • greenwashing
  • ESG
  • responsible investment
  • asset ownership discourse

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