Survey: Americans Positive on Environmental Investing

Americans see a golden age for green investing, according to the results of the second-annual survey on environmental investing released by Allianz Global Investors, a leading global investment firm.

Of the investors surveyed, 78 percent say we are likely to see more policies to promote business investment in new environmental technologies in the first year of the Obama Administration than we did under eight years of the Bush Administration. Further, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) believe the new Congress will be more supportive of policies to promote business investment in new environmental technologies than the old Congress, according to the Jan. 26 press release.

"Barack Obama won this election on a platform of change, and the regulatory changes are likely to be very positive for environmental investing," said Bozena Jankowska, lead portfolio manager of the Allianz RCM Global EcoTrends Fund and head of the RCM Sustainability Research Team. "The type of stimulus President Obama is proposing represents a significant opportunity for investors. More broadly, the tone, intensity and content of the debate in Washington is changing, and that's what is really important."

Conducted for the second year in a row, the poll of 1,264 adults examined investors' understanding of and attitudes toward the environment from an investor's point of view. The poll was conducted via the Internet on Dec. 12 -19, 2008 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, a division of GfK Custom Research North America. Participants had to be age 25 or older and have primary or shared responsibility for investment decisions in households with financial assets of at least $100,000. The sample was weighted to match the characteristics of the total online population in terms of gender, age, household asset level and region, according to the U.S. Census. The same methodology was used for the survey conducted December 14-20, 2007, which yielded 1,003 completed interviews.

Even though 2008 was a turbulent year for the broader markets, survey data reveal that investors are still generally optimistic, and they are particularly constructive on the environment.

In fact, 72 percent of survey respondents say the recent decline in stock prices has had no impact on their inclination to invest in environmental stocks and about half (48 percent) of investors say they are at least somewhat likely to invest in these types of companies within the next year.

"The need for pollution control, clean water, and energy efficiency is not going away. Investors perceive there is real opportunity here and they want to capitalize on it," said Brian Gaffney, managing director and chief executive officer of Allianz Global Investors Distributors.

According to the survey, investors continue to view the environmental technology sector as a "buy," with 64 percent classifying the environment as the most desirable investment opportunity of the 10 categories surveyed. Further, there was a 30 percent increase from 2007 to 2008 in the number of investors who say they have already made investments in companies that are capitalizing on environmental trends (17 percent in 2007 versus 22 percent in 2008).

"Investors' bright outlook on the environmental technology sector is telling. This is perceived as a long-term opportunity," said Gaffney. "Investors understand that robust demand for innovation and solutions will fuel growth, and consequently profits, for years to come."