Director of Research, Policy & Collaboration, Responsible Investment Association
Mary Robinson is the Director of Research, Policy, and Collaboration at the Responsible Investment Association. Mediaplanet spoke with her about what it means to invest with purpose and why it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
What common misconceptions do people often have about responsible investing?
The most common misconception is that responsible investments (RI) underperform. Research has shown that RIs perform just as well as, if not better than, traditional investments. It makes sense when you think about it: if a company is well-governed and managing its exposure to environmental and social risks and opportunities, it’s more likely to be a better-performing company overall.
How has the perception surrounding responsible investing changed in recent years?
Perceptions have changed significantly in recent years and the numbers show that investors are more interested in RIs than ever. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are increasingly viewed as financially material. The evidence shows that incorporating ESG issues into investment decisions can strengthen risk management and lead to financial outperformance. As a result, we’ve seen considerable growth in responsible investment, which represents 51 percent* of all professionally-managed assets in Canada and $30.7 trillion globally.
What’s one thing people should know before getting into responsible investing?
Responsible investing isn’t one size fits all and it can be done in different ways. The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert on ESG issues, RI strategies, or products. Discuss RI with your investment advisor and share your values and preferences so they can recommend a suitable RI strategy for you.
The RI Marketplace, our directory of advisor members and RI funds, can be helpful for those who are new to responsible investing.
Why is it important to put your money where your mouth is?
ESG issues are some of the biggest drivers of change in the world economy today. Ignoring these issues means ignoring major trends that are affecting businesses and in turn your investments.
Investing responsibly provides the opportunity to align your investments with your values while improving risk management and enhancing long-term returns. It’s a win-win for investors and society.