Greenwashing in Corporate Sustainability Reporting: Towards Successful Environmental Sustainability Management

Greenwashing in sustainability reporting and environmental claims refers to the practice of making false or exaggerated claims about a company's environmental performance or practices in order to portray the company as environmentally responsible or sustainable. This misleading communication can take many forms, such as using ambiguous or vague language, making unsubstantiated claims, or emphasizing minor environmental initiatives while ignoring larger, more significant environmental issues (Fuller, 1999; He et al., 2019).

Greenwashing, in which a company presents the idea that its products are more environmentally friendly than they actually are, has become an increasingly widespread practice over the course of the last few decades. However, there is growing concern that some companies are making false or exaggerated claims about their environmental practices, a practice known as greenwashing (Yu et al., 2020). Greenwashing is a deceptive marketing tactic used by companies to exaggerate or misrepresent their environmental performance, often leading to a false sense of corporate responsibility (He et al., 2019; Wu et al., 2023).

Greenwashing can have serious consequences for both companies and stakeholders. For companies, greenwashing can damage their reputation and lead to decreased trust from stakeholders. For stakeholders, greenwashing can lead to a false sense of corporate responsibility, resulting in a lack of action to address environmental issues (Sharma and Choubey, 2022). The practice of greenwashing has become increasingly prevalent as the demand for sustainability has grown in recent years. Consumers are becoming more environmentally aware and are actively seeking out products and services that align with their values. In response, companies are adopting sustainability practices and integrating them into their operations to appeal to these environmentally conscious consumers (Yu et al., 2020).

The issue of greenwashing in sustainability reporting and environmental claims has been widely debated in academic literature and the business community. Researchers have identified various drivers of greenwashing, such as the pressure to conform to industry standards, the desire to gain a competitive advantage, and the lack of regulatory oversight (Yu et al., 2020) Additionally, scholars have proposed various strategies to combat greenwashing, such as increased transparency, third-party certifications, and stronger regulatory oversight in corporate finance, product life cycle, production and circular material management (Zerbino, 2022). Overall, the issue of greenwashing in sustainability reporting and environmental claims is a critical topic that warrants further research and discussion. By addressing this issue, companies can gain credibility and build trust with stakeholders, and consumers can make informed decisions about their purchasing habits.

This special issue aims to explore the phenomenon of greenwashing in corporate sustainability reporting and identify effective strategies to combat it. Specifically, the special issue will focus on the following topics and themes.

1. What are the antecedents and outcomes of green washing and how does institutional arrangements their innovativeness in corporate sustainability reporting

2. How might financial stakeholders effectively contribute to systemic corporate change initiatives in sustainability reporting?

3. Are there differences on how firms in different industrial sector, create, discover and exploit greenwashing opportunities with impact on corporate social and financial reputation?

4. Which strategies and business model firm can design to address third-party certification social and environmental problems and build trust in sustainability reporting?

5. How do different institutional structure, firms’ internal arrangements, external stakeholder pressure effectively contribute or hinder transparent green washing reporting process?

6. What are the new strategies and models of firms would further build understanding of how to address greenwashing and improve financial performance?

7. Can median and stakeholder engagement can address or prevent greenwashing in sustainability reporting?

8. What are the unique features of the green washing business strategies and how do culture and societal norms contribute towards sustainable development goals?

This special issue will invite original research articles with novel empirical methods, and review articles from scholars and practitioners. The articles will be subjected to a rigorous peer-review process to ensure the quality and validity of the research. Overall, this special issue aims to advance our understanding of greenwashing in corporate sustainability reporting and contribute to the ongoing debate on the role of companies in promoting environmental sustainability.


  • Daniel Balsalobre-Lorente

    Daniel Balsalobre- Lorente. PhD in Economics. Professor at the Department of Political Economy and Public Finance, Economics and Business Statistics and Economic Policy, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Expertise in public finances, energy economics, economic growth, environment, tourism and innovation processes. He has published numerous papers in International Referred Journals including Energy Economics, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Journal of Cleaner Production, Sustainability, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Resources Policy, Energy policy, Energies, and Journal of Public Affairs, among others. Edito

  • Magdalena Radulescu

    Dr. Radulescu Magdalena is Full Professor at the Department of Finance, Accounting and Economics, Faculty of Economic Studies, University of Pitesti, Romania. She is Ph.D. Supervisor in Economics at the University "Lucian Blaga" of Sibiu, Romania. Her research interests are: economic growth, CO2 emissions, energy economics and policy, energy tax.

  • Usama Awan

    Dr. Usama Awan is an Associate Professor of sustainability at Inland School of Business and Social Sciences, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Kongsvinger, Norway. His research focuses on big data analytics, industry 4.0, sustainable innovation, and international global supply chain management issues.

  • Umer Shahzad

    Dr. Umer Shahzad currently works as Associate Professor in Anhui University of Finance and Economics, China. His research interests include energy finance, energy economics and sustainability. Dr. Umer’s current research is focused on environmental aspects of finance, energy finance, complexity and international trade.


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