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Research shows country with the most SRI interest

Socially responsible investmentItaly has emerged as the country where individual investors show the highest interest in socially responsible investment (SRI). But though appetite is growing across Europe, interest is also slow to translate into action.

Over 60% of European individual investors in a survey said they were willing to invest at least part of their savings in SRI funds. However, despite finding a 5% increase in SRI interest, the survey found only 5% to 7% had actually invested in SRI funds.

The survey - commissioned by BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) – found that in Italy, 80% of individual investors said they wanted to invest in SRI. Italy was followed by Germany (65%), Belgium (63%), France (57%) and the Netherlands (52%).

Despite this, there is also scepticism amongst European investors about the potential performance of SRI. Less than 20% believed that SRI can offer returns equivalent of traditional investments.

Lack of information is thought to be one of the major obstacles. The survey found less than 50% of European investors considered financial advisers to be the best source of information. The majority of their knowledge comes through the media.

“The growth outlook for sustainable investment is considerable and we have seen a significant increase in demand,” said Emmanuel Collinet de la Salle, head of commercial development for wealth management and retail networks at BNPP AM.

“However, there is still a long way to go to re-orient individual investors’ thinking towards a more SRI-focused approach and to explain how they can contribute to a better future through SRI investment.”

The survey polled 5,000 individual investors in Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, and the Netherlands, each with assets of more than €50,000.

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