Canadian industry association the Responsible Investment Association surveyed 1,002 investors in the country about their views on single-use plastic

(Flickr, KMR Photography)

The survey found 70% of investors believed companies that reduce plastic waste make better long-term investments (Credit: Flickr, KMR Photography,

A large majority of Canadian investors are worried about the amount of single-use plastic in their portfolios, according to the Responsible Investment Association’s 2019 Investor Opinion Survey.

The poll of 1,004 individual investors — conducted on behalf of the Responsible Investment Association (RIA) by pollster Ipsos — revealed 82% of respondents believe it’s important for companies to invest in cutting plastic waste.

It also found 70% believed companies that reduce plastic waste from products and packaging will make better long-term investments.

RIA CEO Dustyn Lanz said: “The market has spoken. Canadian investors want companies to step-up their efforts on plastic waste, and they want their advisers to help them with responsible investing.

“We’ve reached a point where having knowledge of responsible investing is simply table stakes for investment professionals seeking to earn clients’ business.”


Investors concern around single-use plastic waste in line with the majority of Canadians

A June 2019 study, conducted by market researcher Nanos, found 81% of Canadians supported a total ban of single-use plastic items.

The research, which consisted of a random survey of 1,000 Canadians over the age of 18, also found 71% would be willing to pay at least 1% more if a products such as coffee cups were more environmentally sustainable, with 31% willing to pay 5% more.

These views were shared by the investors involved in the RIA’s research, which found 89% were either very or somewhat concerned about the environmental impact of single-use plastic waste, with 2% respondents saying they were not concerned at all.

canadian investors plastic
The RIA’s research found 89% of investors were concerned about the environmental impact of single-use plastic waste (Credit: Pixabay)

The desire to align investments with commitments to reduce plastic was highest among 18-34 age group, with 87% ranking it as important.

More than 50% of respondents predicted a reputational decline for companies which continue to rely on single-use plastics, with this opinion strongest among people aged 55+.

Asset management company AGF vice-president and portfolio manager Martin Grosskopf said: “As a leader in the development of responsible investing initiatives, we are pleased to learn that Canadian investors want to know more about options for investing in companies committed to improving returns for shareholders and society at large.

“As the linkage between specific environmental issues such as plastic waste and business risks becomes better understood, investors are looking for real opportunities to connect their interest in improving environmental outcomes with returns.”