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Homepersonal financeAs new signs of climate change emerge, here’s how you can invest...

As new signs of climate change emerge, here’s how you can invest in companies and funds that keep the environment safe

  • Individual investors are expressing increased interest in environmental, social and corporate governance, or ESG, investments.
  • ESG assets held by individual investors increased by 50% from 2018 to 2020.
  • Evaluating those potential investments is key. Here's where to get started.

A member of a rescue team walks a flooded street in Laplace, Louisiana, after Hurricane Ida made landfall on Aug. 30, 2021.Marco Bello | Reuters

From Hurricane Ida to California wildfires, experts are pointing to signs of climate change.

Research shows individual investors are taking notice.

A recent survey conducted by professional services company Accenture found that 59% of investors who are working with financial advisors have asked them about ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) or socially responsible investments.

Moreover, 84% of investors who made those inquiries planned to put their money in those kinds of investments in the next year.

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Most U.S. investing that takes ESG into account is done by institutional investors, such as pensions, insurance funds and educational institutions. But individual investing in ESG-type investments is growing, according to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, or US SIF, a non-profit company that tracks the sustainable and impact sector.

ESG assets held by individual investors increased by 50% from 2018 to 2020, to $4.6 trillion from $3 trillion.

"Climate, for most people, is something they more easily see a link to in the investment process," said Lisa Woll, CEO at US SIF.

Other issues — particularly increased interest in racial justice — are also drawing more interest from investors, she said.

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