Socially Responsible Investing has never been easier

Socially Responsible Investing has never been easier

More investors are looking for ways to grow their money, while also making a positive impact on the world around them.

Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) means putting money into companies with strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, which includes everything from reducing energy and waste to supporting workplace diversity and human rights.

SRI interest is growing

In Canada, more than $1.5 trillion was managed using one or more SRI strategies in 2015, according to newly released data from the Responsible Investment Association (RIA). That’s a 50-per-cent increase from 20131. Globally, the number is about US$60 trillion2.

Interest in SRI is also broadening. A recent Ipsos Reid survey, produced by the RIA and commissioned by OceanRock Investments Inc., found that half of all Canadian investors believe it’s important to consider ESG factors within investment decisions, while 60 per cent feel RI will become even more important in the next five years. (The number jumps to 82 per cent among Millennials)3.

SRI is widely accepted as a smart approach to investing. A growing body of research shows companies with strong ESG policies and practices also deliver competitive returns.4 Research commissioned in 2015 by OceanRock revealed that SRI mutual funds not only provide better returns, but also reduced volatility, lower risk, and more downside protection compared to non-SRI funds.5

More investments choices

Growing interest in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) has led to more investment options. There is a range of products on the market today, from individual stocks with solid ESG performance to SRI-focused mutual funds and ETFs, as well as so-called “green bonds” created to fund projects with positive environmental benefits.

Kindred provides members access to a broad array of high quality mutual funds representing the full range of types and asset classes through Qtrade Asset Management Inc. (QAM). More information is available on our website and members can speak to one of our expert SRI advisors.

Investors can also do their own homework on a particular company’s ESG practices by looking through its financial documents. These can often be found on the investor section of a company’s website, or on Many companies also publish a separate corporate sustainability report that outlines their ESG performance and targets.

SRI comes down to personal choice

For investors, the appropriate SRI stocks or funds to buy often comes down to personal perspective and outlook. For some investors, that might mean excluding oil and gas companies, for example, because of their higher environmental footprint. Others may choose instead to invest in an energy company that is considered “best in class” in the industry based on its ESG performance.

Regardless of the approach, SRI overall continues to gain momentum among investors who want their money to work for them, and others.

Sustainability Ratings on mutual funds and ETFs

Self-directed investors with a Qtrade Investor account can evaluate ETFs and mutual funds in their portfolios, based on the ESG sustainability profile of their underlying holdings. These profiles are based on company-level ESG evaluations from Sustainalytics, a leading independent ESG research firm. Investors see the sustainability ratings in the Analyst View of their portfolio. Morningstar’s sustainability ratings are provided not only for dedicated socially responsible investment funds, but also for thousands of conventional funds, along with a growing list of ETFs.

SRI is on the rise in Canada:

  • $1.5 trillion in SRI assets under management, up nearly 50% in two years
  • SRI represents 38% of Canadian investment industry
  • Pension fund assets make up 75% of SRI industry’s growth
  • 80% of respondents expect moderate to high levels of growth in SRI over next two years

Notes and Disclaimers

The ETFs named are provided for illustration purposes only and are not intended as investment advice or a solicitation to buy or sell.

1 “2016 Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report,” Responsible Investment Association.

2 UN Principles for Responsible Investment.

3 “Millennials, Women, and the Future of Responsible Investing,” Responsible Investment Association (April, 2106).

4 “From the Stockholder to the Stakeholder: How Sustainability Can Drive Financial Outperformance,” Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford University and Arabesque Partners, March 2015.

5 “Canadian Responsible Investment Mutual Funds: Risk /Return Characteristics,” Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, May 1, 2015.

6 “Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World Ranking,” Corporate Knights.

7 “Industry Group Leaders,” Dow Jones Sustainability Index.


Securities and securities related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Advisor, a division of Credential Qtrade Securities Inc., Member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Mutual funds and securities related financial planning services are offered through Qtrade Asset Management Inc., Member MFDA.

Information contained in this article is provided with permission of Aviso Wealth for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon as providing, legal, accounting, tax, financial, investment or other advice, or a solicitation to buy or sell any securities. Economic and market conditions are subject to change.

OceanRock Investments Inc. (“OceanRock”) is the trustee, manager, portfolio adviser and promoter of the Meritas® SRI Funds and the OceanRock® Mutual Funds. OceanRock, Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. and Qtrade Asset Management Inc. are all wholly owned subsidiaries of Aviso Wealth Inc. Meritas® and OceanRock® are registered trademarks of Aviso Wealth Inc., used with permission.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.


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