The impact of sustainable investment on firm performance in South Africa

Vongani V. Masongweni, Beatrice D. Simo-Kengne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This study investigates the influence of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores on the financial performance of firms in South Africa across industries. Motivation: In the context of the growing importance of sustainability reporting, understanding the link between ESG and firm performance is critical for informed and sustainable corporate strategies. Design/Methodology/Approach: The study employs panel data regression techniques on secondary data from 120 Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed firms between 2015 and 2020. Main Findings: Overall, the composite ESG scores do not significantly affect the financial performance of South African companies. However, scores from social and governance pillars show a positive association with firm performance, while environmental scores have a limited effect. Practical Implications/Managerial Impact: These findings suggest that not all ESG activities are equally relevant for firm profitability. Corporate managers should prioritise industry-relevant ESG pillars to enhance firm profitability. Novelty/Contribution: The study expands empirical evidence in an emerging market context, analysing the impact of disaggregated ESG scores and providing comparative industry-specific analysis. This contributes to a nuanced understanding of the ESG-performance nexus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-173
Number of pages28
JournalSouth African Journal of Accounting Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024
Externally publishedYes


  • environmental; social
  • financial performance; panel data
  • governance
  • heterogeneity; endogeneity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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