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August 15, 2019

Socially responsible investing explodes: How are you responding?

Written by Luke Bishop

Welcome to the new normal for investing. According to the US SIF Foundation’s “Report on US Sustainable, Responsible and Impact Investing Trends,” socially responsible investing is exploding and shows no signs of slowing down.

Assets invested in businesses that place a priority in sustainability/environmental and social governance (ESG) have jumped 40% year-over-year since 2016. There is more than $12 trillion invested in socially responsible businesses, or a quarter of the total assets managed in the United States.

At Investis Digital, we’re not surprised at the report’s findings.

Socially Responsible Investing Is on the Rise

Earlier this year, we wrote about the marked rise in socially responsible investing, especially among millennials. Businesses should expect this trend to continue as Gen Z comes of age and influences investment decisions. As a result, investment relations professionals are increasingly challenged to improve the way their businesses make sustainability/ESG an important part of their communications strategies.

Doing so results in a strong payoff for businesses. When businesses show their sustainability/ESG credentials on their websites and beyond, they not only connect with socially conscious investors, they also build goodwill with job seekers. That’s because millennials and Gen Z place a bigger premium on purpose-driven brands when considering companies to work for.  

Why Sustainability/ESG Branding Is a Challenge

But IR and communications professionals are running into challenges telling their stories about sustainability/ESG. One of the biggest challenges is sharing a strong narrative about their brand values across digital channels.

According to a survey of communications professionals commissioned by Investis Digital and conducted by Forrester Research:

  • Only 25% of businesses rate themselves as very effective at consistently managing their brand values across digital channels.
  • Nearly 40% of businesses said they fail to actively manage their corporate brands through digital channels.

Here again, I’m not surprised. Communications executives are trying to manage two conflicting needs:

  • They need to share compelling content about their commitment to sustainability/ESG across a rapidly expanding universe of touchpoints, ranging from their websites to their socials.
  • At the same time, they need to be more responsive to investors across more communications channels. 

Contact Investis Digital

At Investis Digital, we help businesses tell effective stories about their ESG/CSR commitments across the digital world. We combine strategic insight with original ideas to create a sustainability narrative that’s relevant and compelling for each of the audiences your work affects — a story that goes beyond policies and performance, unlocking awareness, affinity, and action across every stakeholder group.

We can assess your corporate brand to better understand gaps and opportunities around leveraging your story to drive business impact. Contact us to learn more.

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