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18 Aug 2021

Responsible Investment Survey: what clients told us about sustainability

Investec recently asked our Client Council members to share views on ESG and investment decision-making to help shape our client experience.

In April 2021 we surveyed 197 members of the Investec Client Council, to gain a deeper understanding of their views on sustainability and responsible investment.

While the individuals we surveyed had a strong sense of accountability, they also wanted to see action from businesses. In their view, the financial services industry can – and should – be playing a key role in tackling environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues.

Here are some of our findings in further detail.

Key findings:


of clients avoid companies that treat their employees or suppliers badly


believe they have a responsibility to do everything they can to combat climate change


believe that the financial services industry must act in a way that promotes a more sustainable world

2 in 5

clients have invested in funds, companies or projects that are trying to tackle environmental or social challenges

1. Sustainability is a mainstream concern

Many of our clients feel a clear sense of personal responsibility when it comes to tackling environmental and social challenges. Seventy-three per cent of those surveyed feel they should help combat climate change, and 64% feel they must help address inequalities such as wealth, gender and race.

This inspires their actions. More than half (58%) believe they can have an impact on the environment and 74% believe they know how to live a sustainable lifestyle.

2. Corporates must play their part

Clients also expect a commitment from companies. Eighty-six per cent say businesses should be environmentally and socially responsible and more than half (52%) avoid companies that treat their employees or suppliers badly.

In particular, 86% per cent of clients consider it important that financial services firms support sustainability. Members of our Client Council show great awareness of the industry’s ability to inspire change. Although 80% of Investec clients believe the financial services industry can make a difference, in a representative sample of UK consumers, just 48% said the same.

female accepting a bowl of soup
Responsible Investment Survey

Appetite for responsible investment options looks set to grow. 44% of clients say they’re interested in investing in ESG-related funds within the next three years.

3. Demand for responsible investment approaches is growing

Two out of five clients have invested in funds, companies or projects that are tackling environmental or social challenges, and over a third (36%) are happy to pay higher fees in order to ensure their investment is responsible.

Currently, the most common approach to responsible investing is screening. More than half of respondents (53%) have avoided investing in funds or companies that they consider to be unethical, or in conflict with their values.

Meanwhile, appetite for responsible investment options looks set to grow. Forty-four per cent of clients say they’re interested in investing in ESG-related funds within the next three years.

We know that clients still need to be confident that any ESG approach delivers financial outcomes, with 73% of survey respondents telling us that their priority is to maximise investment performance.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information purposes only and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. It is advisable to contact a professional advisor if you need financial advice.


Sustainability at Investec

At Investec, we strive to contribute meaningfully to our people, our communities, and the planet. Our intention is to live in society, not off it.

We incorporate ESG factors into our investment analysis across all asset classes in order to take an approach that reflects personal values as well as financial goals.

About the Investec Client Council

The Investec Client Council is a unique network of like-minded individuals who are invited to network and share their views alongside senior Investec stakeholders to shape our client experience. If you’re an Investec client and you are interested in joining the Investec Client Council, please contact your Private Banker or Wealth Manager.