Responsible investing? Never heard of it.

By Andrew Rickard | October 14 2016 01:30PM

Three out of four people in Ontario don't know what responsible investing is.

In a survey of 2,120 Canadians conducted for Desjardins Wealth Management, 75% of the 532 respondents from Ontario had never heard of responsible investing (RI). However, once the concept was explained to them, 55% said they would be willing to adopt the strategy.

Desjardins defines responsible investing as "any investment strategy which offers investors both financial return and the opportunity to have a positive impact on their communities and the environment". It involves selecting and managing investments according to environmental, social, and governance criteria.

Air quality and human rights

The survey asked people about the kind of RI principles that are important to them: in Ontario air quality and human rights topped the list, cited by 85% and 82% of the respondents respectively. Nature and forest conservation (78%), workers' rights (77%), waste management (77%), and climate change (76%) were also widely-expressed concerns. What's more, many Ontarians are applying these principles to their own lives. Many of those surveyed indicated that they use recycling bins (93%), reusable bags (86%) and composting bins (64%). They also prioritize buying locally (83%) and make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint (65%).

Comparable returns to more traditional products

“Independent analyses demonstrate that RI products offer comparable returns to more traditional products.”, says Rosalie Vendette, a senior advisor in responsible investment at Desjardins Wealth Management. “And the survey shows that 86% of Ontarians think they match up as well, which is good news.”

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