Apac appetite for sustainable investing creeps up

Fidelity survey finds more than half of investors in the region show interest but doubts remain

Sustainable investing “is becoming a mainstream investment theme across the Apac region” but concerns about performance and terminology remain, a Fidelity survey has found.

Fidelity’s annual survey found investors in Apac are becoming more positive towards the sustainable investing, with 56% of respondents believing investors have the power to change corporate behaviours through their own investing actions, up from 52% last year.

More than half (54%) also said they would use their money to make a positive change in the world.

“Sustainable investing is becoming a mainstream investment theme across the Apac region and we are encouraged to see retail investors’ interest in sustainability continue to grow,” says Jenn-Hui Tan, global head of stewardship and sustainable investing at Fidelity International.

More than 12,000 respondents across six Apac markets were surveyed, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and Australia.

From the six markets surveyed, mainland China and Singapore are the two markets where investors are most interested in realising positive change through investing.

Among the range of ESG issues, the survey found Apac investors are most keen to invest in climate change, followed by sustainable consumption and broader social issues. But it also found a marked increase in interactions on social topics like employee welfare and supply chain-related environmental and labour issues.

Doubts remain

Despite most investors recognising the importance of sustainable investing, the survey also highlighted concerns around performance when it comes to ESG investing, with more than a third (36%) feeling there is a trade-off between investing sustainably and achieving a good return.

“Clearly, there are concerns about how ESG-related financial products are living up to their promises, which the financial services industry needs to address,” said Tan.

Almost half of the respondents (46%) think the definition of sustainable investing seems subjective and there is a lack of clear definitions for investment managers to follow.

See also: – Conflating terminology is doing a massive disservice

Moreover, 49% of the surveyed investors feel sustainable investments and their providers lack regulatory oversight in relation to the promises they make.