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Shifting the Focus to Measurement: A Review of Socially Responsible Investing and Sustainability Indicators

Markus Koenigsmarck () and Martin Geissdoerfer
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Markus Koenigsmarck: Corporate Finance, Technische Universität Darmstadt, 64289 Darmstadt, Germany
Martin Geissdoerfer: Institute for Manufacturing, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 1FS, UK

Sustainability, 2023, vol. 15, issue 2, 1-24

Abstract: An increasing number of investors is including sustainability considerations in their investment processes. This can improve both financial and corporate sustainability performance. The emergence of sustainable investing as an academic research field has been accompanied by considerable interest from the industry. Despite its importance, there is still no uniform understanding of what a socially responsible investment (SRI) comprises. There is a multitude of similar terms that are not clearly defined and delineated, accompanied by a lack of a uniform understanding of how sustainability should be measured in the investment context. The resulting confusion hinders conceptual clarity, a material barrier for both scholarly and practitioner endeavours in the field. We try to address these issues by conducting a structured literature review based on database searches and cross-reference snowballing. We aim to provide a synthesised and unified definition of SRI and ancillary terms and to draw attention to the exact sustainability measurements. We (1) outline the history of the concept, (2) concisely define SRI and related terms, (3) propose a trinomial sustainability indicator framework (the Cambridge SRI indicator framework) for conceptualisation, and (4) use this framework to provide a structured overview of sustainability indicators for SRIs.

Keywords: sustainable investing; socially responsible investment; impact investing; sustainable finance; green finance; sustainability measurement; sustainability indicators; literature review; cross-reference snowballing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023
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