ESG and Greenwashing in Financial Institutions: Meet Risk with Action

A special issue of Risks (ISSN 2227-9091).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2025 | Viewed by 100

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Management Science and Technology, University of Western Macedonia, GR50100 Kozani, Greece
Interests: sustainability; business performance; ESG; efficiency; economic growth
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Accounting and Finance, School of Economics, University of Western Macedonia, 50100 Koila-Kozani, Greece
Interests: sustainable development; economic development; eco-efficiency; ESG; corporate washing; financial stability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Business Administration and Tourism, School of Management and Economic Sciences, Hellenic Mediterranean University, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Interests: sustainable development; renewable energy; ESG; environmental regulations; financial performance
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the demand for sustainable products and investments increases, and more financial institutions as well as banks publicly commit to achieving net-zero emissions, there is a higher risk of ‘greenwashing’—the act of providing false or misleading information about the environmental qualities of a product, service, fund, disclosure, or even a company or entity. The potential risks associated with greenwashing are significant, and financial institutions may inadvertently find themselves being accused of such practices. Exercising care is crucial when using phrases such as ‘circular’, ‘sustainable’, ‘clean’, ‘green’, ‘100 percent recyclable’, and ‘net zero’, or when making comparative claims or employing ‘green’ images. Any assertion of this kind has the inherent risk of being accused of greenwashing. Investigating claims of greenwashing involves substantial costs and requires a substantial time commitment from financial institutions. Furthermore, companies in the sector may face penalties, civil litigation, or the obligation to establish a consumer compensation program, in addition to the requirements of cooperating with inspections, attending interviews, and managing the disruptions and financial losses that may arise from the likely confiscation of documents and data.

Notwithstanding the proliferation of scholarly works on the subject, there is still a scarcity of research pertaining to the impact of greenwashing on the performance of financial institutions as well as the strategies that they can adopt to mitigate risks coming from ‘green’ corporate washing. Although specific research studies incorporate a broad spectrum of nations and institutions, they do not explicitly investigate the issue of greenwashing; rather, they merely incorporate a metric for corporate social responsibility. In addition, these studies fail to account for a particular time frame in which experienced administrators and investors have full knowledge of the greenwashing phenomenon and the risks behind it.

However, greenwashing in finance occurs once environmental, social, and governance (ESG) measures are adopted as a superficial means of improving public perception, rather than as a genuine and transformative effort. This short-term measure is highly risky and does not contribute to the current scenario, which calls for the integration of sustainability as a strategic pillar in companies. It is essential to consider sustainability as a critical factor in decision making and resource allocation, to achieve long-term objectives through responsible management.

Therefore, this Special Issue will make a scholarly contribution to the current body of knowledge concerning the relationship between ESG factors and their role in the mitigation of the risks of greenwashing practices in the financial sector. Therefore, the research gap regarding the correlation between greenwashing risks and the development of ESG practices by financial institutions as a means to mitigate them constitutes the subject matter. Furthermore, the primary aim of this initiative is to examine the possible ESG strategies that could alleviate the negative repercussions of greenwashing and provide regulatory bodies with knowledge to combat deceitful ecological operations carried out by financial institutions.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:

  • Greenwashing and risk management.
  • ESG and greenwashing.
  • ESG risk disclosure and the risk of greenwashing.
  • Greenwashing behaviors and risk analysis.
  • ESG risk management.
  • External and internal auditors in ESG and risk management.
  • Systematic ESG risk and decision criteria.

Dr. Konstantina Ragazou
Prof. Dr. Nikolaos Sariannidis
Dr. Alexandros Garefalakis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Risks is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • risk management
  • sustainability
  • efficiency
  • ESG
  • risk disclosure
  • greenwashing
  • corporate washing

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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