Hills Sustainability
17 October 2022 Research Foundation

ESG Investment Outcomes, Performance Evaluation, and Attribution

  1. Stephen M. Horan, PhD, CAIA, CFA, CIPM
  2. Elroy Dimson, FSIP, PhD
  3. Clive Emery
  4. Kenneth A Blay
  5. Glen Yelton
  6. Ankit Agarwal, CFA
ESG investment strategies have experienced massive inflows in recent years, but investors need better tools to evaluate performance. This paper provides guidance on key challenges and proposes a performance evaluation and attribution framework.
ESG Investment Outcomes, Performance Evaluation, and Attribution Read the Brief (PDF)

ESG strategies have experienced a massive inflow of capital over the past decade despite investors having little concrete evidence that ESG investing accomplishes its purported goals. It has also happened without investors having the information, tools, and methods needed to evaluate and communicate their specific ESG values, objectives, and preferences. Without evidence of efficacy and clearly articulated investment objectives, it is impossible for investors with ESG intent to know if they are getting what they are paying for, to distinguish between investment managers based on non-financial objectives, or to improve the likelihood of achieving positive ESG investing outcomes.

This paper highlights key challenges faced by ESG investors and portfolio managers implementing ESG investment mandates. It then addresses these challenges focusing on relevant fund reporting, provides guidance on the information required to make informed ESG investing decisions, and proposes a performance evaluation and attribution framework to support the ESG investment management process.

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