This should come as no surprise: sustainable investing has caught on in the Asia Pacific region.
And it seems to be built to last, despite market disruptions with Covid-19, according to Standard Chartered Private Bank’s latest Sustainable Investing Review.
The bank polled 1,080 investors in Singapore, Hong Kong, the UAE and the UK to draw its conclusions. Some 600 of them had at least $25,000 of investible wealth.
The other 480 were affluent and high-net-worth individuals, with at least $1m or $5m of investible wealth respectively.
StanChart found that 42% of them planned to put 5%-15% of their funds in sustainable investments, over the next three years.
The pandemic had also affected how they viewed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) and good health and well-being (SDG 3) were seen to be of ‘higher importance’ this year, the bank said.
In third place was climate action (SDG 13), with 43% of respondents classifying it as important. Quality education (SDG 4) and zero hunger (SDG 2) were tied at 40%.
There were differences across markets. Singapore investors cared more about clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) and life below water (SDG 14). Meanwhile, Hong Kong investors were keener on climate action (SDG 13).
UAE investors were generally more apprehensive about sustainable investing. They needed more knowledge on terminology and were the least familiar with low carbon investing, StanChart said.
However, investors were broadly willing to consider having sustainable investments in their portfolio, even if it was new to them.
Didier von Daeniken, StanChart’s global head of private banking, said: ‘While interest in sustainable investing continues to grow, there remains a significant knowledge gap among investors.
‘As a bank, we have a critical role to play in helping to bridge this gap and facilitate our clients’ sustainable investing journey and ambitions.’
Some SDGs are getting more air time than others. Germany’s Deutsche Bank and Singapore’s DBS Bank, for instance, both favour responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) and climate action (SDG 13).
Swiss giant UBS has honed in on partnerships (SDG 17). It had worked with Hermes Investment Management to develop an SDG-specific engagement equity strategy in 2017.