Canadian retail investors seek biodiversity protection in their portfolios, want advisors to offer responsible investments

January 24th, 2023

Majority of investors surveyed believe companies in their portfolios need to commit to preventing the loss of biodiversity in the way they conduct their business.

TORONTO – January 24, 2023 – The vast majority of Canadian retail investors are concerned about biodiversity loss and want to see biodiversity protection reflected in their portfolios, according to a new survey from the Responsible Investment Association (RIA).

The 2022 RIA Investor Opinion Survey, which is based on an Ipsos poll of 1,005 individual investors in Canada, found that 74% of respondents are concerned about biodiversity loss, with 68% agreeing that it was important for companies in their portfolios to commit to preventing biodiversity loss.

Investors’ concern about greenwashing remained steady at 75%, similar to what was expressed in 2021. In a year characterized by greenwashing headlines, 78% of respondents agreed that there needs to be increased scrutiny in the investment industry around greenwashing. Despite these concerns, 76% of respondents agreed that RI can have a real impact on the economy and contribute to positive change for society.

The survey, sponsored by AGF Investments Inc. and Desjardins Group, also shows that 73% of respondents want their financial services provider to inform them about responsible investments (RI) that are aligned with their values, while only 31% said they had ever been asked if they were interested. About one-third of respondents said they currently own responsible investments, similar to the last 3 years.

“It’s clear that investors are thinking about social and environmental issues and want their portfolios to reflect their concerns,” said Patricia Fletcher, CEO of the RIA. “This is an opportunity for financial advisors that are knowledgeable about responsible investing to meet investor demand and provide investment opportunities that align with their clients’ ESG preferences and personal values.”

“We are pleased to support the 2022 RIA Investor Opinion Survey,” said Eric Landry, Vice-President, Investment Solutions at Desjardins Investments. “It’s a valuable tool that confirms the importance of focusing our efforts on advisor education and greenwashing prevention.”

“We are proud to once again sponsor a survey that inspires dialogue about RI, while covering timely topics like biodiversity and greenwashing,” said Judy Goldring, President and Head of Global Distribution at AGF Management Limited. “We are encouraged by the ongoing interest in responsible investing and are committed to ensuring the advisors we work with have the resources they need to engage in informed discussions with their clients.”

Additional Highlights:

  • Most respondents are interested in RI, with 64% expressing interest. Younger respondents generally are more interested than those aged 55+, while female respondents are more interested than their male counterparts.
  • 70% of respondents know little or nothing about RI, including one-quarter that have never heard of it. Levels of RI knowledge have flattened off in the past 2 years.
  • Looking ahead, 40% of respondents said they were now more likely to choose RI than one year ago, while 44% said they were neither more nor less likely than one year ago.
  • The topic of biodiversity loss resonated with respondents. The majority of respondents were concerned about biodiversity loss, with 74% saying they were either very or somewhat concerned. Additionally, 68% of respondents agreed that it was either very or somewhat important that companies are committed to preventing biodiversity loss.
  • Investors are concerned about greenwashing in the investment industry. 75% of respondents said they were either very or somewhat concerned about greenwashing, similar to the level expressed in 2021. Meanwhile, 78% of respondents either strongly or somewhat agreed that there needs to be increased regulation and scrutiny in the investment industry to combat greenwashing.

View the full report here.

About the RIA Investor Opinion Survey
The RIA publishes the RIA Investor Opinion Survey annually to track individual investors’ perspectives on responsible investment and various environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. The 2022 Survey is based on data collected by Ipsos from 1,005 Canadian individual investors between November 2nd and November 8th, 2022. Investors are defined as individuals who currently own investments such as mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, stocks, bonds, or other securities. The poll has a Bayesian credibility interval of ±3.5%.

About the Responsible Investment Association (RIA)
The RIA is Canada’s industry association for responsible investment. The RIA’s membership includes asset managers, asset owners, advisors, and service providers who support its mandate of promoting responsible investment in Canada’s retail and institutional markets. RIA institutional members collectively manage more than $42 trillion in assets. Learn more at

Media Contacts
Nick Buccheri
Director, Operations
Responsible Investment Association
+1(416) 461-6042 x5