Nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) of Canadian institutional investors don’t believe companies can be trusted to achieve their stated environmental, social and governance commitments, according to a new survey by U.S. public relations firm Edelman.

The survey looked at the opinions of institutional investment professionals from Canada, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the U.K. and the U.S. as well as from across the Middle East. On the issue of trust in companies ability to achieve stated ESG commitments, Canadian investors responses were in line with the global average.

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However, on other issues, Canadian survey respondents were less concerned by the way ESG topics are handled by corporations than respondents from other countries. For instance, 78 per cent of Canadian investors said they’re in favour of mandatory ESG disclosures from corporations compared to 85 per cent of respondents from all regions. And, while 85 per cent of all respondents agreed that corporations weren’t currently disclosing enough information about their ESG performance, 77 per cent of respondents agreed.

A bigger division between Canadian investors and those from other regions were evident in their attitudes around pushing for changes in corporate policy. When asked if they approach reputable activists with ideas for effecting change in companies they invest in or are considering investing in, 77 per cent of Canadian respondents said yes, compared to 88 per cent of all respondents. Among U.S. respondents, 94 per cent said yes, higher than any other region.

In addition, Canadian respondents were most skeptical of claims made by corporations related to diversity and inclusion, with 71 per cent of respondents indicating they don’t have full confidence in the accuracy of corporate disclosures. About 69 per cent reported being skeptical of claims made related to corporate greenhouse gas emissions.

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