More money managers are considering environmental, social and governance factors when selecting investments, but the largest ones are not providing enough disclosure on how they apply the standards, says US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.

The amount of assets being invested using environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards grew eightfold between 2012 and 2014 to $4.7 trillion in assets domiciled in the United States, according to the US SIF Foundation’s "Unlocking ESG Integration" report released Wednesday.

Disclosures of the type of standards used were not made for 62 percent of the assets being invested using ESG criteria, the SIF Foundation says. ESG integration is defined as the systematic inclusion by investment managers of environmental, social and governance factors into financial analysis and is one of several sustainable, responsible and impact investing (SRI) strategies, according to the organization.

The study looked at 16 of the nation's largest ESG money managers, and only eight of them at least partially disclosed the criteria they consider, according to the report.

US SIF, which was previously the Social Investment Forum, is a nonprofit organization representing U.S. organizations, institutions and individuals involved in socially responsible investing. The foundation promotes the educational programs of the organization.

“While we are heartened by the growth of ESG integration, we believe money managers must provide greater disclosure about how they implement these strategies,” says Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF and the US SIF Foundation. “Obtaining information about the ESG criteria money managers consider in investment analysis is critical for investors to understand the impacts of ESG integration on their portfolios, as well as on the companies assessed and on society at large.”

In many cases, managers’ descriptions of their ESG integration strategies and criteria provided clear evidence that ESG integration was in fact being applied across an entire asset class, the report says. However, in some cases, it was unclear whether ESG integration was taking place systematically.

“For example, one money manager described its ESG integration program as entailing sharing key ESG information with all its investment teams but without explaining to what extent the recipients actually use, or are expected to use, this information,” the report says.

The SIF Foundation says money managers should apply specific ESG criteria and disclose what that criteria is to investors. Money managers also should clearly say whether their ESG integration practice is systematic and consistent across all assets or whether it is applied only sometimes or only upon request.