Shifting the focus to measurement: a review of socially responsible investing and sustainability indicators

Markus Koenigsmarck, Martin Geissdoerfer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number984
Number of pages24
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • cross-reference snowballing
  • green finance
  • impact investing
  • literature review
  • socially responsible investment
  • sustainability indicators
  • sustainability measurement
  • sustainable finance
  • sustainable investing

Cite this