More than two-thirds (67%) of financial services firms invest more than half a million pounds into sustainability initiatives each year, according to a global poll conducted by the data-driven thought leadership agency, iResearch Services.
The poll received responses from 550 professionals working within financial services enterprises, banks, hedge funds, insurance and pensions firms.
More than half (57%) of financial service professionals also believe that governments need to do a better job of supporting the implementation of sustainability initiatives, and 42% suggest that policymakers must get involved to accelerate the necessary changes and to bring in regulation that enforces sustainability.
These organisations spend the highest portion of their total annual budget on digital transformation and IT (39%), while 25% goes on staff training and skills development. But most significantly, more than a quarter (28%) of this budget goes on initiatives and technology that will help to make their business operate sustainably.
More than half (56%) consider their sustainable physical presence a major focus for the organisation, with 39% suggesting initiatives have lost pace due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the findings, Yogesh Shah, CEO at thought leadership agency iResearch Services, said: “These responses clearly demonstrate that financial services firms are willing to put their money where their mouth is.”
“It is clear that sustainability initiatives are demanded by customers, partners and prospects. Moving forwards, it won’t be enough to simply show good intentions, but to demonstrate tangible outcomes as well.”
Almost one in five (15%) of the firms polled are investing in excess of £2 million per year into sustainability strategies, 22% are spending between £1 million and £2 million, while a third (30%) spend between £500,000 and £1 million. Only 15% of firms polled spend less than £250,000 annually on sustainable initiatives.
Institutions in China lead the way with investment of more than £2million (40%), Germany (24%) leads the way in Europe spending over £2 million, with only 12% in the US spending this amount, and it drops further to only 8% in the UK.
According to 48% of respondents, the biggest driver for firms to put in place sustainability strategies is to demonstrate alignment with their core vision and values. Despite this, one-in-ten (11%) are doing it to keep up with competitors, and only 5% suggest it would lead to commercial growth.
Of those surveyed, 48% believe that their business is ‘very sustainable’ right now and feel they have a strategy in place to go even further. Only 5% believe their organisation is not sustainable enough.
Shah added: “Employees and employers are in sync on the issue of sustainability, both sides perceive the need for sustainable initiatives as paramount to the future of their business. What is perhaps surprising is that only a small portion of financial services professionals feel the bottom line will be impacted.”