Data published by the Norwegian Fund and Asset Management Association (VFF) suggest that 15% of Norwegians using funds to save are selecting funds based on sustainability, although factors such as risk, costs and historic returns continut to weigh more on choices made.
The finding is based on a survey of local investors, published by the Association.
The survey has uncovered gender and age based differences too. Interest in sustainability is higher among women than men; some 19% of women surveyed answers 'yes' when asked if they had selected a fund based on its sustainability, versus 12% of men.
Those aged 40-49 were most likely to have selected a sustainable fund, some 20% of men and women in this age group said they did.
The most common answer to why such a selection would be made is that "I do not want to invest money in a certain type of business that I consider unethical or not sustainable" or because the respondent believes that their "investment choice has a positive impact on the environment, working conditions, human rights and so on".
Some 27% answered that they had selected the fund because they thought it offered higher returns.
According to the findings, Norwegians lag Swedes, VFF concludes. Similar surveys have been done for the past two years in Sweden. This year, some 33% answered that they had selected a fund on the basis of its sustainability profile. That is an increase from 24% the year before.
And in Sweden women are also leading from the front, with some 42% selecting funds on this basis, versus 25% of men.
VFF notes that responsible and sustainable investments are areas that have made significant strides in recent years, with most fund managers including ESG factors in their daily evaluations of risks and investment opportunities.
The Association notes that there is today a large number of funds that address various aspects of ESG, such as carbon emissions and funds that do not invest in weapons, alcohol or gambling. Further information is available through its funds guide (in Norwegian) Den lille fondshåndboken.
Chart 1. Have you ever chosen an equity funds because it has a clear sustainability profile?
Chart 2. What is the most important reason for choosing a sustainable fund?