Greenwashing and Responsible Investment Practice: Empirical Evidence from Zimbabwe


Olatubosun, O. and Nyazenga, S. 2019. Greenwashing and Responsible Investment Practice: Empirical Evidence from Zimbabwe. Qualitative Research in Financial Markets. 13 (1), pp. 16-36.
AuthorsOlatubosun, O. and Nyazenga, S.


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.


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.


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.


This paper contributes to the literature on RI dialogue by demonstrating the peculiarity of ESG engagement in a developing economy.

JournalQualitative Research in Financial Markets
Journal citation13 (1), pp. 16-36
PublisherEmerald Publishing Limited
Accepted author manuscript
File Access Level
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Online01 Nov 2019
Publication process dates
Accepted23 Sep 2019
Deposited01 Oct 2019
Copyright holder© 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited
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