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The Green Gap: BMO Survey Finds Canadians' ESG Investing Knowledge Has Room to Grow, With Younger Investors Leading the Way

TORONTO, May 5, 2021 /CNW/ - A survey from BMO Global Asset Management (BMO GAM) discovered that while the majority of Canadians (65 per cent) have heard of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investing, only 34 per cent consider themselves knowledgeable about the topic.

The BMO GAM survey also uncovered the following about Canadians' ESG investing knowledge and habits:

  • Investors aged 18-34 are the most knowledgeable demographic at 38 per cent –seven per cent higher than those aged 35-54 and five per cent higher than those over the age of 55
  • Younger investors are also most likely to currently hold ESG investments in their portfolios at 39 per cent, compared to 31 per cent of investors over 55
  • Across Canada, Ontarians are most knowledgeable about ESG investing at 40 per cent, while those in the Atlantic and Prairie provinces are the least familiar at 25 per cent
  • Women are 19 per cent less likely to be knowledgeable about the topic than men
  • Close to a third (33 per cent) of investors who are aware of ESG investing are unsure of whether they hold these investments in their portfolios
  • 32 per cent of Canadians say ESG investments could make up the majority of their portfolios in the future

"We see these survey results as an immense opportunity for financial professionals to educate clients on ESG investing, and demonstrate how Canadians can invest with their values, while also seeing long-term, positive returns," said Kristi Mitchem, CEO, BMO Global Asset Management. "The past year has shown the importance of each of the letters in the ESG acronym including an increased emphasis on reducing environmental impacts, the need for meaningful moves towards equality, and the importance of effective governance practices. Companies that are successfully integrating ESG practices into their framework are poised to be leaders in the post-pandemic world, making them an important investment opportunity for Canadians."

ESG Investing

In 2020, the value of global assets invested using ESG data reached $40.5 trillion more than triple the 2012 amount.1 In Canada, ESG assets have increased 48 per cent over the past two years to $3.2 trillion.2  BMO GAM launched its first suite of ESG ETFs in January 2020 and continues to expand its ESG offerings in response to investor demand.

BMO offers the following resources and services for investors interested in learning more about ESG investing:

  • Information on ESG investing and BMO GAM's solutions is available at:
  • MyESGTM – an online tool to help advisors and individual investors better understand ESG investing preferences
  • Investment advisors and financial planners are available to help investors integrate ESG solutions into their portfolio, while aligning with investment goals

1 Pensions & Investments, July 2020

2 Responsible Investment Association, November 2020

The BMO GAM survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights via an online survey of 1,500 adult Canadians conducted between November 17-23, 2020. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is ± 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

MyESGTM and the BMO GAM survey are intended for educational purposes only and should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax and investment advice from a licensed professional. The information, analysis and opinions expressed herein are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. Please speak with your investment professional to determine the solution that best meets your individual investment needs and circumstances.

BMO Global Asset Management is a brand name that comprises BMO Asset Management Inc., BMO Investments Inc., BMO Asset Management Corp., BMO Asset Management Limited and BMO's specialized investment management firms. 

®/™Registered trademarks/trademark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence.

About BMO Financial Group 
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $973 billion as of January 31, 2021, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: Media Contact: Colleen Hamilton, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996