A pair of reports released in time for Earth Day 2021, show that the global pandemic has contributed to an increased interest in sustainable investing among Canadians and among investors around the world.

The first survey of more than 1,500 investors in Canada, conducted by Mackenzie Investments, shows that the majority of respondents, 55 per cent said they are more likely to consider how their investing decisions can make a positive impact on society, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those surveyed, 69 per cent said they felt it is increasingly important to invest in a sustainable manner.

Of those who currently invest in sustainable products, 69 per cent plan to increase their holdings within two years. One-third who don’t currently hold any sustainable funds, say they plan on adding them to their portfolios within the next few years.

The findings are inline with a much larger survey of global investors, conducted by the IBM Institute of Business Value (IBV), which also found that the pandemic has elevated consumers’ focus on sustainability. Overall, it found that 93 per cent of respondents say the pandemic affected their views on environmental sustainability, with 68 per cent saying it affected their views a lot. It further found that 48 per cent of all personal investors surveyed already take environmental sustainability into account in their investment portfolios. Another 21 per cent said they are likely to do so in the future. All told, 59 per cent of personal investors said they expected to buy or sell holdings in the next year based on environmental sustainability factors.

The IBM study of 14,000 consumers around the world also found that more than two-thirds of workforce respondents were more likely to apply for and accept jobs with environmentally and socially responsible organizations; nearly half said they would even accept a lower salary to work for such organizations.

“Given that one in four employees surveyed in February 2021 plan to switch employers this year, companies could face a risk of losing top talent to more sustainability-conscious competitors,” IBM says. The firm also found that 54 per cent of consumers were willing to pay a premium for brands that are sustainable or environmentally responsible. (Of those surveyed, 55 per cent said sustainability is very important or extremely important to them when choosing a brand.)