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Cambridge Associates Survey Reveals Significant Increase In Institutional Sustainable Investments

Cambridge Associates has released the results of its biannual sustainable and impacting investing client survey. Since the inaugural survey in 2016, there has been a 146% increase in the number of institutional investors who report making sustainable and impact related investments; more than half (61%) of 2020 respondents are actively engaged in sustainable, impact or ESG investing, a 25 percentage-point uptick from the 36% reported just two years ago.

“The rapid adoption of strategies that include environmental, social, and governance considerations reflects a growing consensus in line with our belief that these factors are material to long-term investment outcomes,” said Liqian Ma, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing Research. “Cambridge Associates partners with our clients to build resilient portfolios that seek to integrate all material risks and opportunities in the investment process. At the same time, we customize and align each portfolio to each institution’s financial and impact objectives,” Ma continued.

While all regions have seen an increase in sustainable and impact investing engagement, the UK and Europe have led the industry. Nearly a third of non-US respondents engaged in impact investing have over 50% of long-term portfolios allocated to sustainable investments, while half of US respondents have less than 5% allocated. 

“Many of our clients see the integration of sustainability as a source of competitive advantage. We are particularly proud to be working with some real thought leaders in endowments and foundations who are setting ambitious objectives like the achievement of net carbon zero.” said Annachiara Marcandalli, Head of Sustainable Investing for Europe. “We also see private wealth owners and family offices at the forefront of this trend, driven by a long-term time horizon that is a natural match to sustainable investments, personal values, and interests expressed by next-generation family members.”


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