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What is Sustainable Investing?

Sustainable investing is important to the sustainability of investing. New skills, mindsets, and strategies will enable you to effectively meet client needs and deliver value.

Traditional investing delivers value by translating investor capital into investment opportunities that carry risks commensurate with expected returns. Sustainable investing balances traditional investing with environmental, social, and governance-related (ESG) insights to improve long-term outcomes.

In many ways, sustainable investing can be seen as part of the evolution of investing. There is a growing recognition among industry participants that some ESG factors are economic factors, especially in the long term, and it is, therefore, important to incorporate material ESG factors.

There are three critical elements of sustainable investing:

  • Sustainable investing is additive to asset management theory and does not mean a rejection of foundational concepts.
  • Sustainable investing develops deeper insights about how value will be created going forward using ESG considerations.
  • Sustainable investing considers diverse stakeholders, consistent with how companies are developing.

Why Is Sustainable Investing Important?

Interest in sustainable investing continues to grow, and the pressure is on for investment organizations to move toward the sustainable investing model. In an era when the investment industry is challenged by rising end-client and regulatory expectations and challenging economics, the alternative of maintaining the status quo leaves the industry vulnerable to decline.

The next stage of development will depend heavily on industry leadership and innovation in investment thinking and practice, as well as data management. If these are present, the future is exceptionally bright.

Explore comprehensive research on Sustainable Investing at the CFA Institute Research and Policy Center. Gain valuable insights and in-depth analysis on the subject.

Evaluate and Improve Your Commitment to Sustainable Investing

ESG skills, including sustainable investing specialization, are increasingly sought after in the investment management industry. Assess your individual or firm's skills and get personalized resources to help improve and maintain your aptitude with our Rubric Assessment Tools.

These rubrics are intended to provide a framework for investment organizations and investment professionals to do a candid self-assessment of areas needed for future sustainability effectiveness. The rubrics will help you recognize your strengths and develop plans for building your capabilities where gaps exist. 

After you complete your assessment, you will receive a number of resources, on-screen and via email, to aid you in upskilling.

Each rubric has 18 multiple-choice questions and should take you no more than five minutes to complete. You may choose to do one or both, and your results are confidential.

Take the Investment Organization Assessment Take the Investment Professional Assessment

CFA Institute Is Committed to Sustainable Investing

As the largest global association of investment professionals, CFA Institute has committed to the development of sustainable investing and ESG investing and analysis through a variety of efforts including the following:

Report: Future of Sustainability in Investment Management

Read the latest Future of Finance report, which examines the present state of sustainable investing and how the sustainability trend of the next 5–10 years will develop. Investors and the investment industry have a considerable role to play in determining the pathway and shaping a future worth investing in.

Report Input

This report is informed by the views of more than 7,000 investment industry stakeholders. 

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