Pension savers in South Africa, Brazil and Australia most concerned about responsible investing – PRI survey

Initiative also unveils guidance for exchanges using corporate sustainability reporting.

A survey released by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) reflects that beneficiaries of pension funds in South Africa, Brazil and Australia overwhelmingly do not want their schemes to be invested in fossil fuel companies and believe that the way an investee company handles ESG (environmental, social and governance) risk influences their pension.
In the survey, unveiled at the PRI in Person conference this week in London, 83% of beneficiaries in Brazil and 77% of them in South Africa said they preferred that their schemes did not invest in fossil fuel companies due to their impact on climate change. Seventy-one per cent of beneficiaries in Australia did not want fossil fuel investment either. On the question of ESG risk, 95% of beneficiaries in Brazil and 91% of them in South Africa felt that the extent to which an investee company handled the risk influenced their pension. For Australia the figure was 85%.
The results supporting the responsible investment case in the three countries contrasted somewhat with those for the rest in the survey, including Japan, France, the US and the UK. For the latter countries, only around half of the beneficiaries queried supported fossil fuel divestment. Regarding ESG risk, 68% of beneficiaries in the US agreed there was a link between its management and their pension. This was followed by 64% in the UK; 61% in France; and 54% in Japan.
To compile the study, UK polling firm YouGov queried roughly 8,300 adults in the seven countries.This included around 2,000 adults in the UK and around 1000 for each of the other six nations. The polling was done entirely online.
Other interesting findings included beneficiaries’ views on tax loopholes, CEO pay and child labour. France, the survey said, was the country where the fewest number of beneficiaries (though still 60%) were concerned about investing in companies that exploit tax loopholes. The concern was highest in South Africa (78%).
Finally, the level of concern among beneficiaries was lowest in Japan (though again still over 50%) when it concerned avoiding companies that relied on child labour or companies that paid their CEOs too much. The highest numbers on this were registered in Australia and South Africa.
This week’s PRI in Person event coincided with the launch of the ‘Model Guidance on Corporate Reporting.’ The Guidance is meant to assist stock exchanges in developing guidelines for corporate reporting on sustainability criteria like pollution, climate change adaption, water use and workplace conditions. The London Stock Exchange (LSE) acted as the Chair of the Advisory Group that created the Guidance, which was unveiled at a ceremony at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) on Monday (September 8).
Link to executive summary of YouGov poll
Link to Model Guidance