MINNEAPOLIS – Oct. 20, 2021 – Socially responsible investing has taken its place at the head of the sustainability table according to a new study* released today by Allianz Life. Ninety-seven percent of Americans revealed that the social responsibility practices of companies, including taking a stance on important issues, making substantial investments in communities, and treating employees well, factors into their investment decisions. This is not just talk either, but is backed by intent to act. Of those not currently investing in socially responsible companies, 53% indicated they are interested in starting.
In addition to highlighting strong interest in social responsibly from investors, the study confirmed that Americans have particularly high expectations of financial services and insurance companies. Sixty-eight percent said knowing more about the social responsibility efforts of financial services companies would influence their decision to do business with them, and 63% expressed the same about insurance companies. Both of these responses surpassed interest in the specific environmental practices of these companies such as green practices and investing.
“While it is not completely surprising that socially responsible investing has risen to the forefront, the level of interest is surprising,” said Todd Hedtke, chief investment officer, Allianz Life. “Companies need to know that socially responsible practices are not a “nice to have,” they are table-stakes in the mind of the American investor.”
When it comes to taking action, Americans have very clear intent as well. Seventy-five percent of respondents support investing in companies that have taken positive actions when it comes to social responsibility.
A Closer Look At Insurance And Financial Services Companies
While many look to the retail and consumer-facing organizations that they do regular, ongoing business with, financial services and insurance companies also play an important role when it comes to social responsibility. The study found that:
71% indicated a financial services company can have a significant impact on social responsibility and 64% felt the same way about insurance companies.
71% also indicated that financial services companies that embrace social responsibility are better positioned for long-term success with 67% expressing the same view for insurance companies.
Following these preferences, 79% of consumers said they are more likely to choose an insurance policy based on the company’s commitments to social responsibility.
Millennial Interest Runs Higher Than Expected
While millennial interest in sustainability practices, particularly social responsibility, is well documented, the study found that the next generation of American investors places even more magnitude on social responsibility than previously thought.
99% of millennials say social responsibility practices are important when making investment decisions.
80% of millennials support investing in companies with good social responsibility practices.
80% of millennials believe insurance companies with good social responsibility practices are better positioned for long-term success.
“Companies have an obligation to drive social responsibility and they are in the best position to bring about large-scale change for the better,” added Hedtke. “Americans rightfully expect the companies they invest in to lead the charge and take tangible steps toward making our society a better place for all.”
*Allianz Life conducted an online survey in August 2021 with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 respondents age 18+ with an annual household income of at least $50,000.