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Sustainability Research Portal


Click on a category box to view the related papers or use the filters below.

Which academic papers on sustainable investing do we recommend to investors?

Though a large and growing body of academic research examines corporate sustainability factors, investors and other capital-markets participants can struggle to surface insights that relevant to their financial decision-making. To help bridge the gap, the Institute endeavors to highlight recent research into the relationship between sustainability factors and the value of financial assets, risk and performance that has practical investment relevance. .

We draw on MSCI’s experience and expertise to consider the following:

  • Does the research illuminate a practical problem for investors today?
  • Does the research offer an insight based on data and methodology that investors can decide to implement?
  • Does the research advance understanding of sustainability in investing a step beyond the status quo?

By design, we have not set out to build an all-encompassing database of academic research to date that touches on sustainability.1Our database includes some research papers published by practitioners in practitioner journals. We have denoted those in order to differentiate them from peer-reviewed academic studies. Others have done so.2We are grateful to the PRI Academic ESG review and the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business ROSI™ Research Database for their pioneering efforts in compiling a broad universe of research papers related to sustainability. Instead, our initial focus will be deliberately narrow: to highlight those empirical studies that may inform investment decisions, and investigate the conditions under which sustainability factors impact financial performance of funds, portfolios or companies, positively or negatively. In short, curated and convenient. We may broaden our focus in the future to include research that examines investors’ influence on corporate behavior or on systems-level outcomes.

As we expand the curation, we’ll continue to leverage our knowledge of the sustainable investment process to ask institutional investors, business leaders, academic researchers and collaborators across our community for their research recommendations.


Title Author(s) Year

The papers in this database have been compiled from the universe of papers available in The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI). For practitioner publications, we have considered publications from the Journal of Portfolio Management and Journal of Impact and ESG Investing. For an overview of research on the risk and performance characteristics of MSCI ESG Ratings and MSCI ESG Indexes, please visit the msci.com website.