Measuring the Impact of Socially Responsible Investing

30 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2013

Date Written: February 14, 2013


Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) intends to create a positive impact on the society and on the environment. However, in contrast to its financial returns, the non-financial impact is usually not assessed in a systematic manner. This article presents an overview of current measurement practices from the financial world and assesses whether they are effective in capturing the real social, ecological and financial impact of SRI. These practices are contrasted to those in environmental, social, and sustainability impact assessment that are established since decades. Based on this analysis we conclude that measuring the impact of SRI should comprise both intended and unintended positive and negative impact. It should include all stakeholders and the total investment portfolio. Finally impact measurement should be based on the mission and the strategy of the investor. The paper presents a concept that takes these criteria into account in impact measurement of SRI.

Keywords: Socially responsible investment, impact, environmental impact assessment, sustainability impact assessment, global reporting initiative

Suggested Citation

Weber, Olaf, Measuring the Impact of Socially Responsible Investing (February 14, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Olaf Weber (Contact Author)

University of Waterloo ( email )

Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1

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