South African investors prioritise sustainability

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South African investors appear to have a particularly heightened awareness of and interest in sustainability, the 2018 Global Investor Study by global asset management firm Schroders shows.

The study, for which 22 000 wealth investors across 30 countries were interviewed, found that 55% of South African investors prefer investing in sustainable funds than conventional funds. This is 13% more than the global average. Sustainable investments represented close to half (45%) of South Africans’ investment portfolios, 8% more than the global average.

Jessica Ground, Schroders’ Global Head of Stewardship, says the survey underlines the rapid growth of interest in sustainable investing globally, but especially in South Africa. “The study confirmed that 88% of South African investors indicated that sustainable investing is more important to them now than it was five years ago, compared with 76% of investors globally stating that investing sustainably has increased in importance to them over the same timeframe,” she said.

“This increased importance was evident in terms of asset allocation, with over three-quarters (76%) of South African investors having increased their allocation to sustainable investments over the past five years, compared to a global average of 64%.”

Another interesting finding, says Ground, is that investors who consider themselves to have a higher investment knowledge, are more likely to invest sustainably. “Globally, those that considered themselves to have ‘expert’ levels of knowledge said they invest 54% of their investment portfolio sustainably,” she said. “This compares with 33% for investors who class themselves as ‘beginners’, signalling that investor education could be key to creating a more sustainable financial system, a growing focus of policymakers globally.”