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Majority of British Columbians interested, but not yet participating, in socially responsible investing

Only 19% of B.C. residents say they have invested before in an SRI

April 10, 2017, Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – More than half (59%) of British Columbians say they are interested in socially responsible investing (SRI) but have yet to participate in the growing market, according to a new report from Vancity credit union. The number is even higher among younger B.C. residents, with 75 per cent of millennials saying they are interested in SRI, but have yet to invest.

The report, Untapped Values: socially responsible investing in British Columbia found that almost half (45%) of B.C. residents report “not having enough money” as the single biggest barrier to investment in SRI, while the next largest barriers are a lack of knowledge about socially responsible investments (37%) and not knowing enough about how holdings in an SRI fund are chosen (37%).

If barriers to SRI participation can be addressed by investors, financial advisors and financial institutions, the report estimates that British Columbians could contribute as much as an additional $15 billion in socially responsible investments in the next three to five years.

The report also found:

  • 58 per cent of British Columbians believe that companies with good social and environmental policies represent better long-term investments
  • 61 per cent of B.C. women believe that companies with good social and environmental policies and practices are better long-term investments. A comparable poll found that this number was 42 per cent nationally
  • When considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, 29 per cent of B.C. residents rated a company’s impact on the environment as “very important” in their choice of investments

Recommendations in this report are directed not only to investors to gain more understanding about their portfolios and SRI funds in general, but also to financial advisors and financial institutions to educate clients regarding SRI as an investment option.

SRI is defined as choosing and managing investments based in part on how companies impact people and the planet, and how ethically they manage their businesses and operations. SRI products now make up over one-fifth of assets under management in the United States, and over one-third of all Canadian assets under management.


“Addressing the barriers to SRI participation can help British Columbia emerge as a global leader in socially responsible investing. These investments generate comparable returns to the traditional market while also having a positive impact on our communities and our environment. And there’s nothing wrong with starting small, to get into the habit of saving and investing.” Christine Bergeron, Vancity’s vice-president of impact investing, wealth management and community real estate

Additional information


The survey of 827 British Columbians was commissioned by Vancity and conducted by Insights West from January 20 to 25, 2017. All data is weighted to be representative of B.C. residents on gender and age, and a margin of error for a probability sample of this size of +/-3.4, 19 times out of 20.

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About Vancity

Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 523,000 member-owners and their communities in the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw territories, with 59 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria, Squamish and Alert Bay. With $25.6 billion in assets and assets under administration, Vancity is Canada’s largest community credit union. Vancity uses its assets to help improve the financial well-being of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

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For more information:

Brent Shearer | Vancity
T: 778-837-0394


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