US institutions cooler to ESG than investors globally, survey finds

Nearly 26% of US investors express skepticism about ESG’s performance merits.

As the integration of environmental, social and governance principles in portfolio construction continues globally, U.S. institutional investors are becoming more skeptical about how well such investments perform, according to a survey on responsible investing by RBC Global Asset Management.

Compared to 2019, the percentage of institutional investors who believe ESG-integrated portfolios are likely to perform as well as or better than non-ESG integrated portfolios has increased in Canada (97.5%, up from 90% last year), Europe (96% vs. 92%) and Asia (93% vs. 78%), RBC said in a press release.

At the same time, U.S. respondents have become more skeptical. Just 74%, down from 78% in 2019, believe integrated portfolios perform as well or better. And more than a quarter of U.S. respondents believe ESG-integrated portfolios perform worse, up from 22% last year.

[More: ESG assets expected to top $53 trillion by 2022: Celent]

Other key findings from the survey include: closer investor attention to supply chain risk, continued strong support for diversity and inclusion efforts, more interest in impact investing, greater demand for more climate-related investment solutions, and a continuing emphasis on anti-corruption efforts.

[More: Avoiding investments that are green in name only]