Callan's 2017 Survey of Institutional Investors Reveals ESG Adoption Trends

37% of fund sponsors now incorporate ESG factors into investment decision-making process; largest funds leading the way

San Francisco, Dec. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Callan LLC, a leading institutional investment consulting firm, announced that in 2017, 37% of plan sponsor survey respondents incorporated Environmental, Social, and Governance ("ESG") factors into their investment decision-making process. While the top-line percentage is unchanged compared to 2016, plans with greater than $20 billion in assets have increased incorporation of ESG factors into investment decisions by 136% from 2013 to 2017. These plan respondents now have the highest rate of ESG incorporation at 78%. For those funds, some respondents indicated that stemmed from their greater resources and bigger participant pools with constituents asking for ESG investment options.


ESG adoption across all plan sizes has increased 68% since Callan’s first survey in 2013. By plan type, foundations had the highest adoption rate; that was more closely associated with an alignment to the specific mission and goals of the institution.


Commissioned and conducted by Callan, this was the Company’s fifth annual ESG survey. Other highlights include:

  • Industry standard: 50% of respondents did not attempt to define ESG, implying an acceptance of the standard definition;
  • Rationale: The most frequently-cited reason for incorporating ESG factors into investment decision-making was a fiduciary responsibility to do so;
  • Geography: Respondents located in the Pacific region of the country had the highest rate of ESG factor incorporation (56%) of the five regions; and,
  • Operations: The most frequently cited implementation method for incorporating ESG factors was to add specific language to the investment policy statement.

“Selective investment strategies, as dictated by stricter corporate governance policies, have been picking up steam as investors aim to act more responsibly,” said Anna West, senior vice president, director of the Callan Institute, and co-manager of the Published Research Group. “The latest survey reinforces the importance of these not-purely financial considerations, such as fossil fuel-free investing, in the process. Foundations, which are often mission-driven, continue to be early adopters.”


The survey conducted in August of 2017 polled 105 unique institutional U.S. plans and trusts totaling more than $1.1 trillion in assets. Respondents by fund type include: approximately one-third public funds, one-third corporate funds, and one-third endowments and foundations. “Small” funds with $500 million or less in assets represent 43% of respondents, and are less likely than their larger counterparts to adopt ESG practices. Download the full 2017 survey here.   

The survey is offered on Callan’s Research Library website, titled “Callan’s 2017 ESG Survey.” While the website does request users register, the survey presentation, like all of Callan’s Research Library contents, is offered at no cost.


About The Callan Institute

The Callan Institute, established in 1980, is a source of continuing education for those in the institutional investment community. The Institute conducts conferences and workshops and provides published research, surveys and newsletters. The Institute strives to present the most timely and relevant research and education available so our clients and our associates stay abreast of important trends in the investments industry.


About Callan LLC                                                                

Callan was founded as an employee-owned investment consulting firm in 1973. Ever since, we have empowered institutional clients with creative, customized investment solutions that are backed by proprietary research, exclusive data, and ongoing education. Today, Callan advises on more than $2 trillion in total fund sponsor assets, which makes it among the largest independently owned investment consulting firms in the U.S. Callan uses a client-focused consulting model to serve pension and defined contribution plan sponsors, endowments, foundations, independent investment advisers, investment managers, and other asset owners. Callan has five offices throughout the U.S.


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


Contact Data