Ordinary Singaporeans least aware in Asia of sustainable investing: Survey

SINGAPORE – Singapore may have big plans to go green, but a majority of its people have no idea on how to invest in that emerging economy, a study has found.

Only 26 per cent of the Republic’s adult population on average have heard of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, according to a survey released on Tuesday (June 22) by investment manager Fidelity International.

In terms of awareness, the survey – dubbed as Asia Sustainable Investing – placed Singapore at the bottom of the region. 

Across Asia, 43 per cent of the respondents said they were aware of ESG investing, 57 per cent wanted their money to make a positive change in the world and 63 per cent agreed that it was important to act responsibly and sustainably as investors.

Fidelity said the survey, conducted from April 12 to 19, was aimed at analysing the sentiment of ordinary savers and investors across Mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan towards sustainable investing.

Most respondents across the region showed positive sentiment towards the idea of ESG investing – with 57 per cent saying they want their money to make a positive change in the world and 63 per cent on average agreeing that it is important we act responsibly and sustainably as investors.

In Singapore, 56 per cent felt that they lacked the tools and information to start saving and investing sustainably and 44 per cent did not know how to select ESG funds and investments.

Singapore, however, stood out in the region as having the highest proportion of respondents – three out of four – who agreed that individuals can make a positive change in the world.

Mr Jenn-Hui Tan, Fidelity’s global head of stewardship and sustainable investing, said: “It’s clear that there is a gap between people’s desire to use their money for good and having enough knowledge and confidence to realise that desire through sustainable saving or investing.”

Fidelity said that in Singapore the appetite for sustainable investing is growing, with 49 per cent of the survey respondents who were not originally aware of ESG investment saying that they are now interested in it.

Combined with the 17 per cent who are aware of ESG investing and would consider it in the future, a total of 66 per cent of Singaporean investors are considering sustainable investing.

Earlier this year, the Government launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 that aims to quadruple solar energy deployment by 2025, have at least 20 per cent of schools to be carbon neutral by 2030 and all newly registered cars to be cleaner-energy models from 2030.

Singapore Exchange offers suites of ESG investments in different asset classes, including ESG linked equity index derivatives, sustainable bonds, ESG-related commodity derivatives, ESG indices and ESG stock ratings.

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