Retail Investors Show Strong and Growing Interest in ESG

Findings from GlobeScan’s latest public opinion research show that thirty-nine percent of retail investors around the world say they have invested with ESG in mind and another 39 percent say they have considered it. Shareholders in Asian markets (especially China, Thailand, and Vietnam) are most likely to have already bought or sold shares because of the company’s social and environmental responsibility approach. 

Investment based on ESG considerations has increased over the past two decades in the G7 markets, where 37 percent now say they have bought or sold shares based on ESG – up from 24 percent in 2003. Half of American retail investors (51%) now say ESG has influenced their investments, up 25 points compared to 2003. Forty-seven percent of French investors have invested with ESG in mind (up from 28% in 2003), as well as 44 percent of Italian investors (up from 34% in 2003).

Eight in ten retail investors globally (82%) say that they are interested in investing in companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, and 72 percent want to avoid any industry that contributes to climate change. Seventy percent of investors also agree that the more socially and environmentally responsible investments are, the higher the financial returns are for investors.

However, despite 74 percent of investors claiming to have heard a lot about ESG investment options, nearly one in three say that they lack the information required to guide and evaluate their investments in socially and environmentally responsible companies. Compared to younger generations, Baby Boomers are less informed about investments in companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, are less likely to believe such companies could deliver higher financial returns and are less interested in investing in responsible companies than others.