What are the key trends and new challenges linked to such investment in 2016? What is the level of knowledge and interest of French people in SRI?
The answers are revealed in the latest survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Vigeo Eiris, the international research and ESG agency (Environment, Social and Governance) and the FIR (The Forum for Responsible Investment) for the seventh consecutive year.
The national yearly survey was conducted online between August 26th and 29th 2016 with a sample of 1,101 adults 16-75 in France. After applying a first filter, questions related to SRI were only considered by individuals owning at least one financial product, resulting in 86% of the original sample, around 951 adults aged 16-75
The main results of the survey underline that:
- French adults who own financial products are largely in favour of integrating environmental and social issues in their investment decisions (51%).
- More than 80% of the 1,101 respondents interviewed believe that climate issues and the energy transition challenge should be included in financial institutions’ investment decisions. 49% are in favour of integrating them into their own investment choices.
Despite these encouraging figures:
- The SRI concept remains unknown to the general public: 66% of respondents declared they had never heard of SRI before the survey (compared with 67% in 2015). This figure is however reduced to 58% for the holders of life insurance (418 respondents), to 53% for the holders of employee savings (161 respondents), and to 48% for those investing in the stock market (418 respondents).
- The SRI product offering is not really promoted by financial institutions: only 4% of respondents who own a financial product have been offered SRI products by their financial institution (compared with 3% last year). This figure is slightly higher for employee savings: 9% have been offered SRI products in 2016.
- While nearly one French financial product holder out of three does not trust his or her financial service provider (32%), SRI could represent a lever for increasing trust in banks and insurance providers. This figures increases at 64% for individual investors declaring that they know precisely what’s meant by the concept of SRI precisely and at 52% for those who have only a general knowledge.
- 40% of French people consider their financial advisor to be the most appropriate person to inform them about responsible investment, followed by NGOs and consumer groups (16%), public authorities (15% of the respondents’ choice), the media (14%), family and friends (13%) and companies (2%).
- Almost one third of the people surveyed consider that the existence of a label about savings products, accredited by the state, could be a determining factor in choosing SRI products.
Florence Bihour-Frezal, Southern Europe & Africa Regional Sales Director of Vigeo Eiris stated:
“Despite an undeniable increase in the consideration of ESG factors in investment decisions by institutional investors, the weak link remains an offer insufficiently promoted to individual investors.”
Grégoire Cousté, Delegate-General – FIR adds:
“This year, the launch of the SRI and TEEC labels (Energy and Ecological Transition for climate) sheds a new light on some of the key issues disclosed by the 2016 survey, including the promotion of SRI towards individual savers.”
A presentation providing more details on the main results of the survey is available here