A majority of European individual investors are willing to invest in social responsible investing (SRI) funds but actual investment remains low according to latest research from BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM).
In particular, some 64% of the respondents expressed to be interested in investing part of their savings in SRI funds. Italy emerged as the country where individual investors had the highest interest in SRI (80%). Italy was followed by Germany (65%), Belgium (63%), France (57%) and the Netherlands (52%).
However, despite the survey indicated a 5% year-on-year increase in SRI appetite, it found that just between 5% to 7% had actually invested in this type of investment products.
The study also found that European investors remain sceptical about the potential performance of SRI investments. Some 19% of the respondents believed that SRI can offer returns equivalent to those of traditional investments (24% in Italy, 21% in France, 20% in Germany, 17% in Belgium and 11% in the Netherlands).
Lack of information seems to be one of the major obstacles. Less than 50% of European investors consider financial advisers to be the most expert source of information, although they receive the majority of the information through the media (57%).
The study, conducted by Kantar on behalf of the French financial group for a second successive year, surveyed 5,000 individual investors from Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands. It was conducted during the COP 24 conference and polled 1,000 individuals of each country, each with assets of more than €50,000.
Emmanuel Collinet de la Salle, head of Commercial Development for Wealth Management and Retail Networks at BNP Paribas Asset Management, says: "The growth outlook for sustainable investment is considerable and we have seen a significant increase in demand.
"However, there is still a long way to go to re-orient individual investors' thinking towards a more SRI-focused approach and to explain how they can contribute to a better future through SRI investment. The need to build a sustainable world is now more urgent than ever before.
"In line with our Global Sustainability Strategy, launched in March, we will continue to promote SRI solutions and to educate our clients and our distribution networks within the BNP Paribas Group, in particular with regard to performance."