Plant grows out of money
Plant grows out of money

Understanding, measuring, and applying sustainability preferences

1 April 2024 until 31 March 2027
Project member(s)
Dr J.T.G. Goossens (Jorgo) Prof. S.M. Zeisberger (Stefan) , Dr. Julian Kölbel (University of St. Gallen) , Dr. Katja Hanewald (UNSW Business School / CEPAR)
Project type

About the project

Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) preferences have become fundamentally important in the investment and pension domain. More and more investors demand their investments to adhere to ESG criteria, and the amount invested in ESG investments has also considerably increased over the last decade. Also, in more and more legislation, like MiFID II and EIOPA, it becomes mandatory to elicit investors’ ESG preferences, next to their risk and time ones. However, given the novelty of this field and despite its importance, there is a fundamental lack of understandings of the drivers of ESG preferences, how they could be measured, also in combination with risk and return preferences, and what this implies for applications in asset management and prices. This is where our project aims to find valuable insights and answers relevant questions for academia, industry and society at large.

Our project has three parts. In Part 1, we aim to first much better understand where E, S, and G preferences come from, how to define them, how stable they are, and how they are distributed among socio-demographic characteristics and other traits. Based on that, Part 2 targets the measurement of E, S, and G preferences in a practical way – simultaneously controlling for risk and return preferences. This should help setting needed industry standards for pension funds, insurers, and banks. Part 3 is geared towards management and asset pricing implications, based on the insights gained in the first two parts. Overall, the project will fill important and relevant gaps about E, S, and G preferences of pension participants, insurance holders and people generally. This allows for proper asset management of pensions.


Results are presented in academic publications, industry papers, executive teaching, and presentations.



  • Eduard Ponds APG Researcher
  • Rob van den Goorbergh APG Head of Research & Analytics
  • Daan de Zwart Pensioenfonds Rail & Openbaar Vervoer Investment Strategist
  • Ludo Nagel Pensioenfonds Rail & Openbaar Vervoer Investment Strategist
  • Martijn Rijnhart Aegon Nederland Head of Legal Life
  • Bart Dees Nationale Nederlanden Investment Professional
  • Ellen Kraft Nationale Nederlanden Communicatiespecialist Pensioen
  • Niels Kortleve PGGM Innovator
  • Rogier Potter van Loon TKP Expert Centre Behavioral Economist
  • Martijn van den Hoorn PGB Pensioendiensten Financial Risk Manager
  • Erwin Houbrechts PGB Pensioendiensten Manager Sustainable Investments 
  • Roel Mehlkopf Cardano Pension Fund Advisor
  • Damiaan Chen DNB Senior Supervisor Specialist
  • Michelle Ummels DNB Toezichthouder Specialist (o.a. ESG risico’s)

Academic Advisory Board

  • Prof. Dr. Bas Werker Tilburg University Professor
  • Prof. Dr. Marike Knoef Tilburg University Professor
  • Prof. Dr. Arno Riedl Maastricht University Professor
  • Dr. Martijn de Vries Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Assistant Professor
  • Dr. Roel Mehlkopf Tilburg University Postdoctoral Researcher