Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have long since made the jump from trend to global cultural shift. There are new strategies, new funds and new financing instruments for sustainability emerging all the time and the pace is accelerating. Where once, considering ESG principles when investing or issuing debt was a niche endeavour, today it’s a core element of capital markets.
This year’s global survey of 2,000 market participants was commissioned by HSBC to better understand how sustainability is viewed and impact the decisions of issuers and investors today, especially in the context of the global pandemic. The report found that over 90 per cent regard environmental and social issues as important. This surety of the importance of ESG was present for both issuers and investors across varied regions: from Asia to the Americas and Europe to the Middle East.
The report also found that obstacles to broader ESG investing seem to be shrinking. In 2019, 61 per cent of investors globally reported obstacles to sustainable investing; now less than half (46 per cent) do. Covid-19 has also brought a reckoning and reassessment in the thinking of issuers and investors. Nearly 30 per cent of all investors (and 40 per cent in Asia) say that the pandemic has strengthened their commitment to considering ESG factors. Of issuers, 41 per cent now believe even more strongly that becoming sustainable is important.