Although the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the global economy, interest in sustainable investment products has not declined. In fact, according to the second part of Schroders’ Global Investment Study 2020, which surveyed 23,000 investors in 32 locations around the world, the level of commitment has increased globally. Up to 47% of global investors acknowledge that they invest in sustainable products, compared to 42% two years ago.
This upward trend has also been seen in Spain, where 45% of those surveyed were encouraged to invest sustainably, an increase of 7% compared to the results for 2018 (38%). The reason that most motivates Spaniards to opt for sustainable funds is their greater environmental impact (45%), followed by potential higher returns (34%) and the fact that they are aligned with their social principles (28%).
Investment knowledge and personal conviction
The report also states that 76% of Spaniards would not invest against their principles. For those who would, the average return on their investment would have to be 20% to adequately compensate for any feelings of guilt. Surprisingly, by levels of knowledge, almost a third (32%) of Spaniards who describe themselves as “experts” in investment matters are significantly more inclined to change their personal beliefs for a higher return. This compares with 15% of those surveyed with basic investment knowledge.
Globally, people in China (90%), Italy (82%) and Portugal (82%) are most likely to remain true to their personal principles. In contrast, the USS (67%) or Singapore (67%) are the most likely to give priority to profitability.
The role of investment professionals in ESG
When asked about the most important attitudes of the companies in which they invest their funds, Spaniards prioritize social commitment, attention to environmental issues and correct and professional treatment of employees.
In this respect, 43% of Spanish investors believe that fund managers and majority shareholders of companies should be responsible for carrying out initiatives aimed at mitigating climate change. However, the belief prevails that this role should be led by players such as governments (73%) and intergovernmental bodies (67%).
On how asset managers should address the challenges arising from the fossil fuel industry, 40% of Spanish people interviewed believe they should undo their positions in companies in this industry to limit its growth. In contrast, 30% believe they should maintain investment to drive their transformation. However, only 18% consider it feasible to withdraw investments from these companies for moral reasons.
As for the level of information on sustainable investments that Spaniards demand from their financial advisors, only 19% of respondents say they frequently ask for information on these strategies. In contrast, it is striking that 24% never ask about it.