London: a world leader in Environmental, Social and Governance

In a major vote of confidence in London’s overall attractiveness as a top investment destination, a poll of global institutional investors shows that the city is leading the world in acceleration and adoption of the ESG agenda.

With ESG at the forefront of investors’ and corporates’ minds in the lead-up to COP 26 in Glasgow in November, 66% of investors said London is `world-leading’ or `one of the best’ cities in the world in tackling sustainability, social and governance issues.

Among global institutional investors based in the United States, perceptions of London’s ESG record is even stronger, with 71% ranking London as `world-leading’ or `one of the best’ cities in the world on this agenda.

The investors polled on March 30 had an average of £40 billion of assets under management, with 39% from North America, 34% from Europe, 16% from Asia and Asia Pacific, 6% from the Middle East and Africa and 5% from Latin America.

The research shows that despite the COVID-19, 64% of global institutional investors currently invest in London, with a further 30% considering doing so.

London was a close second to New York in terms of `COVID resilience’, with 41% selecting it as the most resilient since the start of the pandemic, compared with 44% selecting New York City has been resilient, significantly ahead of the 31% backing Paris and 15% for Frankfurt.

Policy Chair of the City of London Corporation, Catherine McGuinness, said:

London must build back better from the pandemic and taking a leadership role in ESG is vital in order to address the challenges that we face across the globe.

London’s companies, from the financial services sector to the tech, property and construction industries as well as our SMEs, are setting themselves testing net zero targets ahead of COP 26.

Firms have also made efforts during the pandemic to support key workers, including our NHS, as well as supporting communities particularly challenged by COVID-19.

This poll is a welcome vote of confidence in the capital’s future and its ability to adapt. Continuing investment in the capital will ultimately benefit the UK as a whole by creating jobs, boosting productivity and spreading prosperity.

The City of London Corporation is also leading the way on sustainability, with its radical Climate Action Strategy committing to:

  • Achieving net zero carbon emissions from its own operations by 2027
  • Achieve net zero carbon emissions across the City of London’s investments and supply chain by 2040
  • Support the achievement of net zero in the Square Mile by 2040

The global investor poll, conducted by FTI Consulting also showed that 90% of investors polled agree that `London’s special quality is the ability to mix work and social life’, with the capital now restoring its appeal as it re-opens after lockdown restrictions.

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