Russell survey shows continued growth of ESG

The Russell Investments 2021 ESG Manager Survey report shows that 90% of respondents now cover ESG in their investments.

The survey also shows that asset managers are placing greater emphasis on active ownership and increasingly engaging on ESG issues with the companies in their portfolios. 90% of respondents said they cover ESG in meetings with the senior management of companies that they invest in, up from 80% in the 2018 survey. Overall, 35% of respondents report they always cover ESG in their meetings, up from 21% in 2018.

The survey of 369 global asset managers, represents US$79.6 trillion in assets under management.

Survey respondents said they hear from clients (asset owners) more on climate risk/environmental issues (60%) than any other issue, followed by diversity & inclusion/social issues (20%). Managers continue to rank “governance” (80%) as the most important ESG factor that impacts their investment decisions and “environmental” has increased over the past four years from 5% in 2018 to 14%.

Over 80% of managers surveyed explicitly incorporate qualitative or quantitative ESG factor assessments into their investment processes. 29% of managers highlighted the influence of ESG considerations in driving positive returns, a rise of 9% since 2018.

Every UK manager surveyed said they now integrate ESG into their investment processes, a 13% jump from 2020, and 97% of managers in Continental Europe said likewise.