Responsible investing has dramatically grown in importance to investors over the last year, according to research by Aon.
The firm's survey - which questioned 229 investment professionals globally - revealed a steep increase to 42% of respondents stating responsible investing was either very important or critical, from just 19% last year.
Respondents from the UK were the most likely to have a responsible investment policy in development, at 32%, and it ranked just second behind continental Europe for the region which respondents felt would lead responsible investing in the future.
Survey participants who noted responsible investing was at least somewhat important to their organisation was up to 87% from 66% last year in the UK - the highest percentage across all countries questioned.
The survey found the most common reasons for pursuing responsible investments was an understanding that incorporating ESG data leads to better investment returns. Many UK investors also had non-financial motivations for this type of investment.
Additionally, of the respondents who had allocated assets to some type of responsible investing strategy, 59% stated they would maintain or increase their allocations over the next year.
Overall, corporate pensions globally made significant improvements in their positivity towards responsible investment, growing from 56% in 2018 to 86% in 2019.
Global head of responsible investing and author of the report Meredith Jones said: "It seems institutional investors are increasingly concerned about risks associated with non-financial factors within their portfolios, and responsible investing offers multiple ways to capture, evaluate and mitigate those risks."
She added: "Responsible investing is officially a going and growing concern… Institutional investors seem to understand that the world will look very different in the coming years and are evolving now to meet the investment challenges that lie ahead."
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