The number of investment professionals in the US offering fossil fuel-free portfolios to investors jumped by more than 50 percent over the past year — from 22 percent to 36 percent, according to a new survey by First Affirmative Financial Network.
The 2014 Fossil Fuels Divestment Survey found that 76 percent of respondents believe that there are growing risks associated with investing in fossil fuel extractors/manufacturers. Nearly half (49 percent) of survey respondents say institutional investors are interested in fossil fuel-free investing. And 62 percent responded that retail investors want fossil-free investing choices.
Many more survey respondents (56 percent) are concerned about “stranded asset” risks to investors created by climate change than those who are not (14 percent). Fewer than one-in-three (30 percent) either don’t know or are unsure about this “carbon bubble” risk.
The SRI Conference 2014 Fossil Fuels Divestment Survey was conducted between April 14 and May 2, 2014. More than 3,000 SRI industry professionals were asked to weigh-in on 14 questions regarding fossil fuel-free investing and related investor concerns. The survey was completed by 587 industry investment professionals, including advisors, asset managers, institutional investors, and representatives of SRI investment companies, community development financial institutions, and social research/proxy voting organizations.
One area of fossil-free investment that is gaining momentum is energy efficiency. Last year, Ceres and its Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) released a report that said energy efficiency could be a multi-hundred-billion-dollar investment opportunity in the United States, but better policies are required to unlock broad-based financing from institutional investors. In fact, energy-efficiency programs are helping industry achieve higher energy savings, cost savings and productivity improvements, according to a March report by the SEE Action Network and the Institute for Industrial Productivity (IIP).