Affluent investors tend to be skeptical of companies that proclaim they have a socially responsible strategy, wondering whether this is simply a public relations gimmick.
A new Spectrem Group survey polled investors with net worth between $1 million and $5 million, not including primary residence, and found that 31% considered social responsibility when investing.
Among respondents in that income group who did not consider social responsibility in their investments, 49% said they felt most companies claiming socially responsible corporate behavior did so simply for public relations purposes.
Only 19% of very wealthy respondents with a net worth between $5 million and $25 million, not including primary residence, considered the social responsibility of investments, and were similarly cynical about companies that claimed social responsibility.
Socially responsible investing encompasses an estimated $3 trillion out of $25 trillion in the U.S. investment marketplace, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment.
A separate Spectrem study found that 85% of affluent investors regarded socially responsible investing as investing in environmentally friendly investments or companies, while nearly two-thirds of respondents considered it to be investing in companies that support a specific social cause.
Other respondents focused on the kinds of companies whose products or practices they would not want to encourage.
In the new survey, age made a difference in respondents’ willingness to consider socially responsible behavior of companies in which they invested.
Forty-one percent of investors in the $1 million-to-$5 million group under 45 and 35% of their richer counterparts age 46 and younger considered social responsibility when investing.