hand painting symbols of alternative energy sources in green

The vast majority of Canadian investors are concerned about climate change, according to survey results published Thursday from the Toronto-based Responsible Investment Association (RIA).

The 2018 RIA Investor Opinion Survey, which is based on an Ipsos poll of 800 individual investors in Canada, finds that 80% of respondents are concerned about climate change and the environment.

The survey also finds most investors view climate change as a financial issue: 70% of respondents said they believe climate change will have negative financial impacts on companies in some industries within the next five years, and 79% believe this to be true within 20 years.

Most investors recognize climate change also presents opportunities. Specifically, 66% of respondents said they would like a portion of their portfolio to be invested in companies that are providing solutions to climate change and other environmental challenges.

The survey, sponsored by Toronto-based AGF Management Limited (AGF), reveals Canadians want their financial services providers to practice responsible investing. A solid 86% of respondents agree that financial advisors and institutions should be knowledgeable about how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) risks could affect their investments, and 81% would like their financial services provider to inform them about responsible investments that are aligned with their values.

“This research shows Canadian investors are serious about climate change and societal issues, and they want their financial services providers to take these things seriously as well,” says Dustyn Lanz, CEO of the RIA, in a statement. “Canadian investors understand climate change presents financial risks, and they want to invest in responsible solutions. This highlights a very compelling opportunity for investment professionals.”

“As a leader in the development of sustainable investing initiatives, AGF is pleased to hear that Canadians are committed to investing in solutions that contribute to building a sustainable future,” says Kevin McCreadie, CEO and chief investment officer, AGF, in a statement.“We believe that integrating consideration of ESG factors into our investment decision-making and ownership practices will contribute to better investment outcomes for our clients — and this is true across all of our investment management teams.”