Green figgy bank with calculator

Many investors say that they believe in the value of sustainable investing, but they aren’t necessarily putting their money where their mouths are, finds a new survey.

According to the latest edition of an annual survey of 25,000 investors by London-based asset manager Schroder Investment Management Ltd., only about 16% say that they invest sustainably, but 32% say they’d like to be investing this way.

The survey found that more sophisticated investors are much more likely to be investing sustainably.

It reported that 23% of self-identified “expert” investors pursue sustainability, compared with 11% of intermediate investors and 8% of beginners.

“There remains a gulf between people’s sustainable investment aspirations and the reality of how they prioritise these factors in their investment decision-making. A significant proportion of investors clearly believe that sustainable investing is important, but this is yet to translate into tangible action for the majority,” Jessica Ground, global head of stewardship at Schroders, said in a statement.

In Canada, just 9% of respondents say that they actually use sustainable investments, the survey found. It also found that 40% of investors in Canada say they consider sustainability when selecting investments.

The relatively low participation in sustainable investing belies the fact that around half of Canadian investors said that choosing sustainable investments can contribute to a more sustainable world, and that about half said that all investment funds should consider sustainability factors.

The survey also indicated that Canadians are somewhat more skeptical than the rest of the world when it comes to climate change.

For instance, it reported that just 66% of Canadian respondents believe in climate change, compared with 71% globally, and 29% don’t believe in it, versus 26% globally.

Additionally, 54% of Canadians believe climate change will have some impact on their investments, compared to 63% of investors overall.

Globally, the survey also found that 60% of investors said that regulatory reforms to encourage more sustainable investing would motivate them to invest more sustainably, as would the availability of independent sustainability ratings for investment funds.

“It is important that asset managers and the broader industry – including the likes of policymakers globally – work with investors to ensure they can better identify the benefits of investing sustainably and, in turn, are able to access funds which will enable them to do so,” Ground said.

The survey was conducted online by Research Plus Ltd. in April with 25,743 investors from 32 countries.