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The Motivations and Practices of Impact Assessment in Socially Responsible Investing: The French Case and its Implications for the Accounting and Impact Investing Communities


  • Diane-Laure Arjaliès
  • Pierre Chollet
  • Patricia Crifo
  • Nicolas Mottis


This research note elaborates on the impact assessment practices of the French Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) industry. The research was conducted by the Scientific Committee of the French public SRI label based on interviews, participative observation, a survey, and documentary evidence. SRI is usually distinguished from impact investing in terms of investors’ different intentions (contributing to sustainable development in a financially savvy way for SRI vs. demonstrating a societal impact for impact investing). We show that, beyond this distinction, the meanings and motivations behind impact assessment in the SRI community are broadly different from impact assessment practices in impact investing, creating a distance between the two communities. In fact, little is known about impact assessment practices in SRI, despite the market power of this asset class. We address this shortcoming by investigating 1) who is interested in impact assessment in the SRI industry, 2) why SRI investors want impact assessment, and 3) what impact assessment looks like in the SRI industry. We develop this analysis to suggest areas of concern and opportunities for the SRI, impact investing, and accounting communities. SRI investors’ recent appropriation of impact assessment indicates that the three communities’ interests and success will increasingly be linked to one another. The topic therefore warrants investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Diane-Laure Arjaliès & Pierre Chollet & Patricia Crifo & Nicolas Mottis, 2023. "The Motivations and Practices of Impact Assessment in Socially Responsible Investing: The French Case and its Implications for the Accounting and Impact Investing Communities," Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(1), pages 1-29, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:seaccj:v:43:y:2023:i:1:p:1-29
    DOI: 10.1080/0969160X.2022.2032239

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