Breakthrough in the sustainable financial market: ERSIS study shows that in 2021, more than half of Belgian investments were sustainable.
"We are halfway there. For the first time in this study, 51% of Belgian investment funds are sustainable."
This is how Kenny Frederickx, General Director of Forum Ethibel, presents the brand new ERSIS study on 2021. ERSIS stands for Ethibel Research on Sustainable Investments and Savings. Every year it presents the state of play and the developments in terms of sustainability on the Belgian financial market. The latest ERSIS study is now available here.
Sustainable investments continued to grow in 2021, with an increase of 45% of the assets under management with a sustainable character. Overall, this represents an increase of €44 billion compared to 2020. This is in line with the upward trend that is making significant jumps each year, as shown in the graph below. Among the different product categories, this growth is mainly observed in investment funds (UCIs), which account for more than 80% of sustainable financial products on the Belgian market.
2021 was an important year for socially responsible investment, with the entry into force of the new European regulation on financial products (SFDR). This regulation requires financial products to make public a series of sustainability-related data. All of these directives will be implemented gradually, but it is already possible to observe how financial actors are positioning themselves. For example, we see that the vast majority (81%) of products are classified as Article 8: these are products that take into account sustainability factors. Article 9 products go a step further by defining a clear sustainable objective in addition to the financial objective.
The study highlights several trends in the sustainable finance market in 2021 with a 6% increase in sustainable savings in Belgium, a 36% increase in the number of sustainable pension savings opportunities and a 23% increase in volume in private banking. The study also focuses on impact strategy and engagement, which are becoming increasingly important among fund managers.
The second part of the report takes a more global approach and focuses on recent developments in sustainable finance in Belgium and abroad. The study deals with the impact of European regulation and taxonomy, the role and challenges of data providers on the sustainability of issuers (companies or countries), sustainable savings in our neighbouring countries and offers a guide for any individual who wants to start investing sustainably. In this way, the study aims to give the general public a better idea of the sustainable financial market in Belgium.