Investors “willing” to sacrifice performance for ESG

According to a survey, more than half of US investors are willing to sacrifice investment returns for ESG goals.

Online financial advisory firm Betterment surveyed 1,000 US investors about their understanding of and interest in ESG investing, and found that 58% were “willingness”, “rather willing” Where “very voluntary” to sacrifice the performance of their investments to achieve ESG objectives.

Another 26% said they were “not very willing”, while 16% were “not at all want” sacrifice performance.

Quoted in the report, Betterment’s senior vice president for product strategy and sustainable investing, Boris Khentov, said: “It is fascinating to see so many respondents express beliefs strong enough to be taken into account in their investment choices. These results also point to a lag in awareness, as recent research continues to indicate that investors may not have to sacrifice performance when investing sustainably.

Meanwhile, research from Betterment has also highlighted the sustainability profile of cryptocurrencies as more and more individual investors take an interest in this new asset class.

The report said that ‘mining’ Bitcoin-related activity uses around 136 terawatt hours of electricity each year, which means it has a direct impact on energy consumption and carbon emissions.

However, while 62% of respondents said they were aware of these concerns, Betterment found that ESG-aware investors were “much more aware” sustainability issues related to cryptocurrencies. At the same time, 80% of those who already held ESG-themed investments also held a cryptocurrency or other crypto-asset.

“While this strong correlation may seem counterintuitive, it could also follow that an ESG investor is more likely to engage in a relatively new trend in investing, whatever it may be,” Betterment’s report said so.

Despite record fund flows into ESG and impact investing, Betterment said ESG-themed investing was “still short of mass adoption”.