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Ethical investing matters to Canadians

Ethical investing is the new trend for Canadians.

(Photo: Newton Daly)

A new survey by Abacus Data has revealed as that a surprisingly large number of Canadians are, or want to be, ethical investors. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 26% of Canadians consider the whether their investments are socially responsible before investing.
  • 24% monitor their investment portfolio to ensure it is socially responsible, but rarely change it.
  • 7% have changed their portfolio to remove investments that are not socially responsible.
  • When presented with three portfolios with differing characteristics, survey respondents were more likely to prefer a portfolio a with lower return but is more socially responsible.
  • Local investment trumps international investment.  (When asked to distribute $1,000 to organizations that can have a positive impact, respondents were most likely to want to see the impact occur in their local community followed by their municipality.)
  • When asked to rank a number of issues according to which they would like to see their investment impact, respondents ranked affordable housing and education higher than the environment and public transportation.

What does this mean for you? If you work for a public corporation, you need to pay much more attention to investors in this area. This means understanding more about the social priorities of investors and incorporating this learning into CSR program planning decisions. It also means that communicating with investors is more important than ever. Today, these people want to know more than just the financial information/performance of companies that they invest in. 

The findings are based on the responses of 1,000 Canadians who answered the survey in March 11.  The survey is the fourth release in a six-part series on Canadian consumers’ attitudes and behavior on corporate and community social responsibility.