English   Danish

2024/2025  KAN-CCMVV1901U  Impacts of Investment: The Effectiveness of Institutional Investors in Purpose-Driven Finance

English Title
Impacts of Investment: The Effectiveness of Institutional Investors in Purpose-Driven Finance

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 150
Study board
Study Board for cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Colin Melvin
    Kai Hockerts - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Finance
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 15-02-2024

Relevant links

Learning objectives
Critically evaluate the impacts of investment, whether it serves its purpose well, and how it is changing.
  • Evaluate the different types of institutional investor
  • Assess to what degree institutional investors fulfil their purposes
  • Evaluate various alternative perspectives of investment and the extent to which they facilitate personal choices
  • Assess the extent to which case studies of impact investment funds suggest that they achieve their stated missions
  • Evaluate means of measuring the social and environmental impacts of investment and consider how these are changing
Impacts of Investment: The Effectiveness of Institutional Investors in Purpose-Driven Finance:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Duration 20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time With the listed preparation time: 15 Minutes
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Aids Closed book
The student is only allowed to bring simple writing and drawing utensils (non-digital) to the preparation room. Students are not allowed to communicate with others during the preparation time.
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach


  • Part 1: Introduction to investment, its purpose and why it matters for the economy, society and the environment.
  • Part 2: The rise of responsibility and sustainability in investment, critically evaluating purpose, ESG integration, stewardship, impact, materiality, and stakeholder theory.
  • Part 3: Achieving impacts through investment; values, metrics, and accountability.
  • Part 4: Assessing the interdependence of financial markets, regulation, culture and personal ethics, identifying the forms of leadership and culture required for the investment industry to fulfil its purpose.



The aim of the course is critically to evaluate the impacts of investment, the purpose of the investment industry and the extent to which it is fulfilled. We will assess the influence of institutional investors as stewards of capital on companies and economies. The elective will also consider how course participants can achieve impact in business and investment.


The course will critically review traditional economic assumptions and the qualities of investment management as a profession, analysing current and emerging issues and the context within which the investment industry operates. It will strengthen course participants’ understanding of their own responsibilities and opportunities as investors and business leaders and how these relate to the economy, society and the environment. Moreover, it will help them to develop their understanding of institutional investment, as well as their judgment and ability to reflect on their own values in the investment choices they make. It will encourage openness and confidence both in supporting and questioning convention.

Description of the teaching methods
Course format and teaching methods:
- The course will be taught in 12 three-hour sessions.
- Sessions will contain lectures, guest speakers, and group work
- Suggested independent study hours: to be confirmed

The following teaching methods will be used:
- Lectures
- Class debate/discussion
- Practical assignment, i.e., an idea for a sustainable investing fund / product
Feedback during the teaching period
Students can get oral feedback during office hours and in between morning and afternoon classes. It is your own responsibility to book time for this type of feedback with your teacher.
Student workload
Class participation 30 hours
Readings 123 hours
Group Work 53 hours
Expected literature

Course text book:

Davis, Stephen, Jon Lukomnik, and David Pitt-Watson. What They Do with Your Money: How the Financial System Fails Us and how to Fix it. Yale University Press, 2016.

Industry reports and academic papers:

“Impact Investing Market Map” (UNPRI publication) 20 August 2018

GIIN Website – case studies. https:/​/​thegiin.org/​case-studies/​ (Links to an external site.)

Haldane, H. “Tails of the Unexpected”, conference paper, 8 June, 2012

Peter Singer, How are we to live? Opus, 1997, Chapter 1, The Ultimate Choice

Bugg-Levine, Antony, and Jed Emerson. "Impact investing: Transforming how we make money while making a difference." Innovations 6.3 (2011): 9-18.

Galema, Rients, Auke Plantinga, and Bert Scholtens. "The stocks at stake: Return and risk in socially responsible investment." Journal of Banking & Finance 32.12 (2008): 2646-2654.

Philippon, T. Has the US Finance Industry Become Less Efficient? On the Theory and Measurement of Financial Intermediation, 2015, American Economic Review, 105(4)

Lukomnik, J; Hawley, J. The Purpose of Asset Management (Pension Insurance Corporation)

Graham, Benjamin. The intelligent investor: A book of practical counsel. Prabhat Prakashan, 1965.

Re-defining the social utility of financial services, Edward J. Waitzer and Douglas Sarro 

Niall Ferguson, The ascent of money: a financial history of the world (Penguin Press, 2008), Ch 4, pp190-199.

Sinek, S. (2009). Start with why: How great leaders inspire everyone to take action. New York, N.Y.: Portfolio. Parts 1 and 2

Mook, Laurie, et al. "Turning social return on investment on its head: the stakeholder impact statement." Nonprofit Management and Leadership 26.2 (2015): 229-246.

Höchstädter, Anna Katharina, and Barbara Scheck. "What’s in a name: An analysis of impact investing understandings by academics and practitioners." Journal of Business Ethics 132.2 (2015): 449-475.

Company purpose and profit need not be in conflict if we ‘grow the pie’; Edmans, A.; Economic Affairs 2020;40:287-294

Wiedmann, T., Lenzen, M., Keyser L. T., & Steinberger J. K.; Scientists’ warning on affluence; Nature Communications (2020)11:3107

Dimson, E., Karakas, O. and Li, X. (2015). Active Ownership. The Review of Financial Studies, 28(12), 3225-3268, analysis of corporate social responsibility engagements with US public companies from 1999-2009.

Hoepner et al, 2018: ESG Shareholder Engagement and Downside Risk, University College Dublin (2018)

What Stakeholder Capitalism Can Learn From Milton Friedman, Alex Edmans,  https:/​/​promarket.org/​2020/​09/​10/​what-stakeholder-capitalism-can-learn-from-milton-friedman/​

PRI, UNEP Finance Initiative, and Trucost. Universal Ownership: Why environmental externalities matter to institutional investors. 2011.

Quigley, E. Universal Ownership in Practice: A Practical Investment Framework for Asset Owners. University of Cambridge. May 28, 2020.

Hawley, J. and Lukomnik, J. The Long and Short of It: Are We Asking the Right Questions? Modern Portfolio Theory and Time Horizons. Seattle University Law Review, Vol 41:449, 2018.

The Shareholder Commons & Beyond Alpha. What Institutional Investors Really Think About Systems-First Investing. July 2021.

“How Enterprises Manage Impact” and “How Investors Manage Impact” on www.impactmanagementproject.com

Kölbel, Heeb, Paetzold and Busch. Can Sustainable Investing Save the World? Reviewing the Mechanisms of Investor Impact. Organization & Environment, 2020, Vol. 33(4) 554-574

NN Investment Partners. How Should Investors Measure the Impact of Investing? October 2018.

University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. In search of impact: Measuring the full value of capital. 2019

WWF. Assessing portfolio impacts: Tools to measure biodiversity and SDG footprints of financial portfolios. 2021

Peter Singer (2009), The Life You Can Save, Chapter 1 and 2

Last updated on 15-02-2024