Sustainable Business News (SBIZ)
c/o Squall Inc.
P.O. Box 1484, Stn. B
Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5P6
Canada: 1-855-569-6300

Sustainable investments lagging interest: Mackenzie Investments survey

Earth Day poll by Mackenzie Investments finds gap between Canadians' climate beliefs and investment habits

While over two-thirds of Canadians have positive views about sustainable investing less than one-quarter have investments matching that belief, exposing a gap between words and deeds, according to a survey by Mackenzie Investments.

The Toronto-based investment manager found a slight increase in the number of Canadians taking part in sustainable investing, from 20 per cent in 2023 to 23 per cent in 2024. But that contrasts with 69 per cent of respondents saying they believe “investing in the energy transition will create a better world for future generations” across the environment (67 per cent) and health (65 per cent) sectors.

Uncertainty about sustainable investing was noticeable. Over six-in-10 (61 per cent) said they have concerns about greenwashing and transparency, while 43 per cent expressed worries sustainable investing tends to deliver lower returns than traditional avenues.

"It's encouraging to see growing interest in and adoption of sustainable investing, reflecting a shift towards aligning financial goals with environmental and social considerations," Fate Saghir, senior vice-president of sustainability at Mackenzie Investments, said in a release for its fifth Earth Day study.

Yet more has to be done to address greenwashing, transparency and performance, she added.

Mackenzie Investments holds over $200 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2024, with over one million clients, according to the release.

The online survey held from March 19 to 25 polled 1,500 Canadian adults. Pollara Strategic Insights, a Toronto-based market research firm, contributed to the study.

Dollars not matching interest in sustainable investing

While there are mixed signals from the survey, Mackenzie Investments found signs of consumer interest in sustainable investing.

Under half (45 per cent) of respondents said they are likely to add sustainable investments to their portfolios during the next two years. A similar amount at 48 per cent said they are likely to invest in companies focused on the energy transition to address global warming in the next two years.

Seventy-seven per cent of those that have already invested sustainably plan to increase their stakes in energy transition opportunities.

But gaps are also identified. Only one-third have spoken to their advisor about sustainable investing, and 38 per cent expressed confidence in understanding the investing opportunities resulting from the energy transition.

Saghir said the financial industry has a role to play in making knowledge and education available about opportunities in the energy transition.

“We need to get to a place where Canadians can be confident that their investment dollars will provide both returns, and a real, positive impact on our local and global world."

The results of the Mackenzie Investments survey align with similar findings from The Co-operators Group Ltd., which found almost three-quarters of Canadians believe sustainability is important but only 23 per cent would pay a premium for sustainable investment products.

What Mackenzie offers in sustainable investing

As for Mackenzie Investments, its sustainable investment funds crossed $6 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2023, according to its 2023 Sustainable Investing Report.

A goal of verifying 50 per cent of its committed $49 billion in assets under management by 2030 under the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is underway, standing at 30 per cent as of 2023. By 2050, Mackenzie Investments aspires to align all of its initial commitment of assets under management under the SBTi.

Examples of its sustainable investing include the Greenchip and Betterworld teams that manage energy transition and ESG investments, respectively. Greenchip exceeded $3 billion in assets under management by the end of 2023.

Engagement with 172 companies in 2023 largely gravitated around environmental topics, such as net-zero strategy, greenhouse gas reduction targets and climate governance. Mackenzie Investments says its engagement helped push Cenovus Energy to a 2050 net-zero target for its operations and align Metro Inc. to Paris Agreement-aligned climate goals.

To educate advisors, investors and clients, the investment manager hosts webinars, seminars and due diligence events on sustainable investing. Discussed opportunities include the energy transition and ESG-labelled debt.

It is a member of Climate Engagement Canada, Climate Action 100+ and the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative.

Industry Events