CSB Research

Return on Sustainability Investment (ROSI™) Methodology

ROSI is used by corporate leaders and investors to bridge the gap between sustainability strategies and financial performance.

Proving Sustainable Business is Good Business

Sustainability drives business and societal success, yet the challenge most businesses face is proving the monetary impact of their sustainability efforts as they seek to address environmental, social, and governance (ESG) related issues.

CSB has developed our Return on Sustainability Investment (ROSI) methodology to bridge the gap between sustainability strategies and financial performance, helping to build a better business case for both current and planned sustainability initiatives.

ROSI for Corporate Management and Investors

For corporate management, ROSI drives better-performing business - socially, environmentally, and financially - by embedding sustainability into core business strategy, decision-making, and accounting and quantifying the full range of costs and benefits, including intangibles.

For investors, ROSI improves decision-making, valuation, and communications - by better understanding ESG data, assessing where relative value exists in corporate strategies and investments, and better integrating, measuring, and reporting on financial performance driven by ESG strategies.

ROSI Graphic

Resources for Understanding and Implementing ROSI

CSB offers extensive resources on ROSI for current and future business leaders to better understand how sustainability drives financial performance, including:

> An in-depth step-by-step overview of the ROSI process
> Original research publications in top tier academic and corporate journals
> Case studies on implementing ROSI in industries such as automotive, utilities, and agriculture
> Excel tools for testing ROSI focused on risk, talent, and operational efficiency
> A free online course module on building the case for sustainability

Explore the resources

Collaborate with CSB on a ROSI Research Project

CSB partners with companies to deploy ROSI and unlock financial value within organizations. During the ROSI collaboration process, we will:

> Identify strategies and key practices to explore
> Conduct research and interviews to determine benefits and construct monetization frameworks
> Analyze company data and perform monetization analyses and investigations
> Deliver key project findings that can be leveraged in core business strategy moving forward
> Educate and train senior leadership on applying ROSI internally throughout the firm

To learn more, Email the CSB Team

Apparel Industry Sustainable Strategies Framework

With support from HSBC Bank USA, NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business partnered with a set of apparel companies on the ROSI methodology to estimate the value of tangible and intangible benefits that apparel companies can accrue by making strategic investments in more sustainable business practices. We engaged companies including EILEEN FISHER, Reformation, and REI in the project, and conducted both primary and secondary research leveraging industry experts, company contacts, and academic literature to inform our framework.

Explore the Framework

Monetizing Financial Benefits of Sustainability Actions – November 2020

Practitioners and researchers struggle with valuing the return on sustainability investment. Displayed in Sustainable Consumption and Production, Volume II, CSB applies a five-step methodology that systematically monetizes sustainability actions to answer a key question: Do sustainable practices lead to a positive financial return for the business? 

Read the article

CSB Director on Making a Better Business Case for ESG - August 2020

Facing societal issues, companies often indicate that they can't afford to invest in solutions in order to return sufficient shareholder profits. In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, CSB Director Tensie Whelan explains that embedding ESG in business is not only good for making money, but also essential to customer allegiance and risk mitigation.

Read the article

Building the Financial Case for ROSI™

At the 2020 CSB Practice Forum, Director Tensie Whelan presents how companies are using ROSI™ to identify, track, and monetize sustainability returns driven by innovation, operational efficiency, employee engagement, brand enhancement, and risk mitigation.

Watch the video


CSB has collaborated with over 20 corporate and research partners to date on building and implementing ROSI. To learn more about bringing ROSI to your organization, reach out to