A majority of investors said they expect to pay a price for investing responsibly but are willing to do so, according to a survey by NN Investment Partners survey in May.
More than half (52%) of the 290 "professional investors" polled — predominantly in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium — continue to believe "an approach that incorporates environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions will cost them returns," NN Investment Partners said in a news release about the survey results.
Still, the same survey showed respondents willing to forgo an annualized 2.4 percentage points of investment returns over the coming five years to invest responsibly.
That pessimistic view on the costs of taking ESG factors into account leaves room for positive upside, NN Investment Partners executives say.
"While it is great to see that investors are prepared to give up a proportion of their returns to contribute to a more sustainable world, research actually shows that ESG integration does not automatically lead to lower returns," said Jeroen Bos, head of specialized equities and responsible investing with the firm.
He called claims that investors must surrender returns to invest responsibly "flawed."