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SRI Facts, Myths, and Research

Socially Responsible Investing Facts and Myths


  • In 2016 Deutsche Asset Management conducted a study of over 2200 investment management strategies and found that the large majority showed positive financial performance.
  • In 2016 the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment, completed an academic study on risk factors and performance. They found that companies that include ESG (environment, social, governance) factors have lower volatility and generate higher returns.
  • Morningstar reports on the February 2018 “correction” showing that sustainable funds outperformed the S&P 500. 
  • An analysis by TIAA, Responsible Investing: Delivering Competitive Performance, found no statistical difference in performance, and that using ESG criteria did not add risk. 
  • Morgan Stanley reported that its Institute for Sustainable Investing found that investing in sustainability has usually met and often exceeded the performance of comparable traditional investments, both on an absolute and risk-adjusted basis, across asset classes and over time.
  • The MSCI KLD 400 Social Index, (the oldest and best-known SRI stock index) has outperformed the S&P 500 by around 0.45% per year on average since its inception in 1990. To see additional performance information, US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, the SRI industry association, maintains a Mutual Fund Performance Chart of its member funds.

Performance Myths:

Financial Materiality

Gender Lens Investing

While this research illustrates the financial viability of socially responsible and impact investing, please remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investments can lose value.

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) / Environmental Social Governance (ESG) investing has certain risks based on the fact that the criteria excludes securities of certain issuers for non- financial reasons and, therefore, investors may forgo some market opportunities and the universe of investments available will be smaller.

No strategy assures success or protects against loss.


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