SA in top 10 for sustainable investor behaviour – survey

Cape Town – South Africa ranks among the top 10 out of 30 countries in terms of investors’ knowledge, attitude and behaviour regarding sustainable behaviours and investing, according to the Schroders Global Investor Study 2017.

The global asset management firm conducted the survey among about 22 000 wealth investors across 30 countries. For the purpose of the survey a wealth investor is define as those who will be investing at least R150 000 in the next 12 months and who have made changes to their investments within the last 10 years.

It was found that SA investors scored particularly well in terms of the adoption of sustainable behaviours such as recycling and reducing energy. This shows they are ahead of the curve in terms of their personal contributions to creating a more sustainable society, according to Jessica Ground, global head of stewardship at Schroders.

Many investors, however, are not yet allocating wealth to sustainable investment funds. When asked how often they personally contribute to a more sustainable society, sustainable investing was near the bottom of the sustainable behaviour list.

Only 52% of respondents said they often invest in sustainable funds rather than those that don’t consider sustainability factors. About 68% said they often reduce or recycle their household waste and 69% often buys products from businesses with good records of social responsibility.

The propensity towards sustainable behaviour among investors does bode well for the future of sustainable investment in SA, according to Ground.
“We know from the global study that there is a clear positive correlation between countries that exhibit more sustainable behaviours and those that are also more likely to invest in sustainable funds,” she said.

“Furthermore, there does appear to be an upward trend occurring in the local sustainable investment space. About 89% of South African investors say sustainable investing is more important to them now than it was five years ago, and over three-quarters (77%) confirming that they have increased their investment in sustainable funds, compared to five years ago.”
This is in line with the global trend of sustainable investing being on the rise. Globally, sustainable investing is growing in importance to investors with 78% of investors stating it is more important to them now than it was five years ago.

Moreover, global investors are increasing the share of money they are allocating to sustainable investments – 64% of investors said that they have increased their investment in sustainable funds over the last five years.
One thing that Ground says is necessary to persuade more South Africans to increase their allocation to sustainable investment funds is education around the subject. South African wealth investors did, however, indicate they would most like to improve their knowledge of sustainable investment.

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