Socially responsible investing has really blossomed in the past few years. What used to be viewed as a niche investment philosophy is now firmly planted in the mainstream, with everyday consumers using their dollars to support companies that align with their personal values around sustainability and social progressiveness.
But beyond the day-to-day choices, like what stores to frequent and what products to purchase, consumers are turning to environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards to help inform their investment decisions. In a recent study* by Allianz Life, nearly 80% of people said they “love the idea of investing in companies that care about the same issues” they do, and 73% feel it’s a way to reward a company’s good behavior. On the flip side, 71% said they would stop investing in a company if it behaved in ways they consider unethical.
While a lot of the buzz around ESG tends to focus on the environmental aspect (think of all we have heard recently with climate change activism, the move toward renewable energy, eliminating single-use plastics, etc.), the Allianz Life study found that people care just as much about social and governance issues.
When asked about the importance of a variety of ESG topics in making a decision to invest in a company, 73% cited environmental concerns like natural resource conservation or a company’s carbon footprint/impact on climate change as important factors. But the exact same percentage emphasized social issues, such as working conditions or racial or gender equality, and a similar amount (69%) noted governance topics, such as transparency of business practices and finances or level of executive compensation, as influential elements in their decision of whether to invest in a company.