Research and Policy Center Five Most Popular Articles of 2023: Sustainability


Readers clicked most on “Applying Economics — Not Gut Feel — to ESG” by Alex Edmans in 2023.

The CFA Institute Research and Policy Center (RPC) focuses on four forward-looking research themes to drive content engagement, action, and outcomes. These themes are Capital Markets (Strengthening the Structural Resiliency of Capital Markets)Technology (Understanding the Latest Developments in Data Analytics, Technology, and Automation)Industry Future (Providing New Insights into the Future of the Profession); and Sustainability (Advancing the Industry’s Thinking on Sustainability Challenges).

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The theme Advancing the Industry’s Thinking on Sustainability Challenges covers an array of sustainable investing topics, including biodiversity, human capital, climate risk, net zero commitment issues, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investment approaches and performance data. CFA Institute research provides investment professionals with tools and resources for understanding, measuring, and managing sustainability-related risks and opportunities; meeting client demands; and complying with regulatory requirements.

1. “Applying Economics — Not Gut Feel — to ESG”

Interest in ESG issues is at an all-time high. However, academic research is still relatively nascent, often leading us to apply gut feel on the grounds that ESG is too urgent to wait for peer-reviewed research. For the Financial Analysts Journal, Alex Edmans highlights how the insights of mainstream economics can be applied to ESG, once we realize that ESG is no different from other investments with long-term financial and social returns. 

2. “An Exploration of Greenwashing Risks in Investment Fund Disclosures: An Investor Perspective”

Nicole Gehrig and Alex Moreno examine investment funds’ disclosures related to ESG information through the lens of investors to understand the nature of disclosure issues that could give rise to a perception of greenwashing.

3. “Definitions for Responsible Investment”

This guidance developed by CFA Institute Global, Sustainable Investment Alliance, and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), provides five key definitions for responsible investment terms: screening; ESG; thematic investing; stewardship; and impact investing.

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4. “Green Parity and the Decarbonization of Corporate Bond Portfolios”

Based on an investment universe for the 2017 to 2021 period, this study by Mario Bajo and Emilio Rodriguez for the Financial Analysts Journal examines different strategies that corporate bond investors can apply to achieve decarbonization goals. The authors find that a “Green Parity” strategy yields the best performance.

5. “Guidance for Integrating ESG Information into Equity Analysis and Research Reports”

This guide to integrating ESG information draws from a number of CFA Institute publications to present a framework for identifying ESG information, assessing the materiality of ESG information, integrating ESG information into analysis and valuation, and presenting ESG information in research reports.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

Image credit: ©Getty Images / franckreporter


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