New 2012 Trends Report from US SIF Foundation Finds Increased Investor Interest in Corporate Governance, Environmental Issues and Concerns about Sudan
Submitted by US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment
The new 2012 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States, released today by the US SIF Foundation, finds that sustainable and responsible investing (SRI) accounts for 11.23 percent of all assets under professional management in the United States at year end 2011. According to the report, $3.74 trillion out of $33.3 trillion of investment assets is held by individuals, institutions, investment companies or money managers that practice SRI strategies.
This total, an increase of 22 percent since year end 2009, reflects growing investor interest in considering environmental, community, other societal or corporate governance (ESG) issues to refine how they make decisions as they select and manage their portfolios or raise their voices as shareholders. Additionally, the US SIF Foundation identified many investors that are beginning to develop their in-house capabilities to analyze ESG criteria; these developments speak to the potential for further growth in the US sustainable and responsible investing market.
Research was conducted from late April – July 2012 and discovered the following:
These two segments of assets, after eliminating for double counting for assets involved in both strategies, yields the overall total of $3.74 trillion.
Main Report Findings
The report found that the total net assets of both mutual funds and alternative investment funds that consider ESG criteria increased significantly:
The report also found sizable growth in financial institutions that have a mission of serving low- and middle-income communities:
The report found that concerns about business ties to repressive or terrorist regimes, other country-specific criteria and interest in corporate governance are the top issues for sustainable and responsible institutional asset owners.
Additionally, the report found a significant increase of institutional investor assets involved in the following ESG criteria, since the last Trends report, published in 2010:
"The 2012 Trends report demonstrates that we are moving closer to a sustainable and equitable economy," said Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF. “From the growth in mutual funds that consider ESG criteria and increased investment in community development banks and credit unions to increasingly large votes on shareholder proposals and the availability of sustainable investment options across asset classes, SRI strategies are on the rise in the United States. We are pleased that this report details many important and interrelated trends that indicate that sustainable and responsible investing will continue its impressive growth and impact.”
About the Survey
The US SIF Foundation sent a confidential, personalized survey link to approximately 1,100 investment management firms and institutional asset owners identified in previous surveys as practicing SRI strategies or believed to be new entrants to SRI practice. Survey recipients were asked to detail whether they considered ESG issues in investment analysis and portfolio selection, to list the issues considered and to report the value of the US-domiciled assets affected as of December 31, 2011. They were also asked to report their total US-domiciled assets as of year-end 2011 and whether they filed shareholder resolutions or engaged in other shareholder engagement activities. The research team also collected additional data from public and third-party sources.
US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is the US membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable and responsible investing. US SIF and its members advance investment practices that consider environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. US SIF’s members include investment management and advisory firms, mutual fund companies, research firms, financial planners and advisors, broker-dealers, banks, credit unions, community development organizations, non-profit associations, and pension funds, foundations and other asset owners.
The 2012 Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States is a publication of the US SIF Foundation, a 501c3 organization that undertakes educational, research and programmatic activities to advance the mission of US SIF.
The Social Investment Forum (SIF) is the only national membership association dedicated to advancing the concept, practice, and growth of socially and environmentally responsible investing (SRI). Our members integrate economic, environmental, social and governance factors into their investment decisions and SIF provides programs and resources to advance this work. SIF's membership includes more than 500 social investment practitioners and institutions, including financial professionals, analysts, portfolio managers, banks, mutual funds, researchers, foundations, community development organizations, and public educators.