What’s in a name? Or in the case of impact investing, what’s in the names?

As the term “impact investing” has gained credence and momentum in recent years as an overall umbrella concept for the growing subset of investors who seek both financial and societal returns on their investments, it shares billing with other terms that pretty much describe the same thing. And that can muddy the waters.

There’s ESG (environmental, social and governance investment), for example. Then there’s SRI (socially responsible investment). Or SRI again (sustainable and responsible investment). And add to the mix green investing, mission-based investing, ethical investing, triple-bottom-line investing, and program-related investing.

You get the point.

“This is just a handful; there are plenty more,” said Phil Kirshman, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Capital Investment Management in Denver. “This is a problem for the sustainable investing community because it creates a lot of confusion.”

Kirshman spoke Sunday at the 4th Annual Impact Investment Conference in Denver, which is hosted by Financial Advisor and Private Wealth magazines.

Among his duties at Cornerstone, he consults with private companies, foundations, family offices, trustees and families to plan, strategize, implement and provide reporting on their sustainable investment strategies and initiatives. He also serves on the board of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, the leading sustainability-focused membership trade organization in the U.S.

“Impact investing came along as a new term about five years ago, and it has resonated very well, especially for millennials and other people who are seeking some sort of purpose in their investment perspective,” Kirshman explained. “And that purpose is the key thing.”

“At the end of the day, all of this terminology isn’t all that important,” he continued. “And trying to specifically differentiate between these terms is sort of a rabbit hole that you can waste a lot of time with the same way you can waste a lot of time with traditional investments talking about whether something is growth or value or other sub-concepts that miss the point about why you’re constructing a portfolio a certain way.”

Boiled down to its essence, the realm of sustainable, responsible and impact investing considers the environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns.