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What is Responsible Investing? Most Ontarians have no idea.

Desjardins Group survey reveals more than half of Ontarians are intrigued by RI even though 75% don't know what it is

Lévis (QC), October 13, 2016 - More than three quarters of Ontarians have never heard of responsible investing (RI) yet 55% are willing to adopt the strategy once they learn the details. Those are some of the results of a recent Desjardins survey that also found 16% of Ontario residents already have RI products in their portfolios. 

Responsible investing is any investment strategy which offers investors both financial return and the opportunity to have a positive impact on their communities and the environment. Desjardins has 27% of the Canadian responsible investment market, and assets that surpassed the
$2 billion mark this year (20% of Desjardins Funds holders have responsible investment products). Desjardins believes this investment approach will maintain its strong growth in the coming years.

The recent online survey of 2,120 Canadians, including 532 Ontarians, commissioned by Desjardins Wealth Management found that for people in Ontario, RI is an expression of their interest in sustainable development and environmental awareness. A significant majority use recycling bins (93%), reusable bags (86%) and composting bins (64%). They prioritize buying locally (83%) and make an effort to reduce their carbon footprint (65%).

"Independent analyses demonstrate that RI products offer comparable returns to more traditional products. And the survey shows that 86% of Ontarians think they match up as well, which is good news," says Rosalie Vendette, a senior advisor in responsible investment at Desjardins Wealth Management.

The survey reveals the following RI principles are important to people in Ontario:

RI principles                                                  
Air quality                                           85%     
Human rights                                      82%     
Nature and forest conservation          78%     
Workers' rights                                   77%     
Waste management                           77%     
Climate change                                  76%     
RI in Canada: 68% growth in three years

RI entails strategically selecting and managing investments based on environmental, social and governance criteria. Many people feel that RI offers more effective risk management; at the very least, it's no more risky than traditional investing.

The 2015 Canadian RI Trends Report, published by the Responsible Investment Association, reveals that RI grew 68% in Canada between 2011 and 2013, passing $1 trillion in assets under management and making up 31% of the Canadian investment industry.

According to the report, the dominant strategy is shareholder engagement, in which shareholders influence companies to improve corporate behavior. In 2013, the top three engagement issues were executive compensation, human rights, and greenhouse gas emissions. 

Desjardins Wealth Management survey methodology

The online RI survey polled 2,120 Canadians, including 532 Ontarians, on behalf of Desjardins Wealth Management between January 7 and 12, 2016. Survey results have been weighted by sex, age, region and first language to reflect the overall makeup of Canada's adult population.

For more information (media inquiries only):
John Bordignon
416-801-6078 or 905-750-5567

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