Chiara Cremasco & Leonardo Boni (2022): Is the European Union (EU) Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) effective in shaping sustainability objectives? An analysis of investment funds’ behaviour, Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, DOI:10.1080/20430795.2022.2124838
This paper investigates how investment funds behave in line with European Union (EU)’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). The SFDR requires investment funds to take a clear position with respect to sustainability objectives, aiming at addressing the threats of greenwashing. However, we still do not know whether investment funds are managed accordingly. We frame our study within the organizational category theory, using Morningstar Direct data to analyze the category of investment funds declaring sustainability objectives – SFDR Article 9– and a control group with no sustainability objectives – SFDR Article 6. We assess how investment managers are financially incentivized to achieve either sustainability or financial objectives. The analysis evidences unexpected results: investment funds that self-select into opposite categories have incentives to behave similarly from both the financial and sustainability perspectives. Our results show that European investment funds hardly distinguish the attributes of sustainability meanings across opposite categories, reflecting category fuzziness.