September 14, 2023

Sustainable investment in Asia-Pacific still high despite dip, according to FTSE Russell global asset owner survey

  • Nine in 10 (90%) asset owners in the Asia-Pacific region have implemented or evaluated sustainable investment (SI) in their investment strategies, dropping from 97% in 2022.
  • Fixed income remains the top asset class for SI allocations in APAC (66%), higher than the global average (45%).
  • Governance remains a priority focus for asset owners in Asia-Pacific, with 53% citing it as one of their top three sustainability issues of focus, followed by social themes (43%) and climate/carbon (34%).
  • Asset owners in Asia-Pacific find that recent regulatory developments around SI are helpful for investors

FTSE Russell, the leading global index provider, has today published the results of its 2023 global asset owner survey, an annual study analysing how sustainable investment (SI) is perceived, considered, and used by asset owners across the world.

Tony Campos, Head of Sustainable Investment, Index Investments Group at FTSE Russell, says: “While we see that SI in the Asia-Pacific region has dipped in line with global trends, the number of asset owners who continue to focus on SI in their strategies remains high. We are seeing more awareness from asset owners on the importance of including SI, as well as more in-depth feedback around the barriers that they face in adoption. The views expressed by asset owners reflect a need for the industry to clearly define ESG parameters for both asset owners and investors alike to better understand SI.”

Sylvain Château, Global Head of Product, Sustainable Finance & Investment at LSEG, comments: “Our research demonstrates the continual evolution of SI among asset owners and the differing priorities across the globe. While the long-term trend for SI reflects a very positive trajectory, macroeconomic and geopolitical factors have influenced respondents’ short-term sentiment. Additionally, accessing the right data and choosing effective data partners can help to alleviate concerns around gaps in data and poor data quality. But as sustainable investment strategies continue to mature and a focus on governance grows, the quest for the right data is likely to become an even greater priority for asset owners.”

Interest in sustainable investment dips in Asia-Pacific

Nine in 10 (90%) asset owners in the Asia-Pacific region have implemented or evaluated SI in their investment strategies in 2023, dropping slightly from 97% last year. This is in line with a global directional dip to 80% this year, from 88% in 2022.

Globally, client demand continues to drive motivation for implementing or considering SI – a trend defied by the Asia-Pacific region. 52% of asset owners globally cited client demand this year, an increase from 42% last year. In Asia-Pacific, this number slid from 45% last year to 29% this year.

Satisfaction with ability to deliver investment outcomes while implementing SI has also dropped in the Asia-Pacific region from 79% last year to 49% this year. This is in line with a global dip in satisfaction from 63% in 2022 to 58% in 2023.

Fixed income dominates SI allocations in APAC, sovereigns lead sustainability implementation

Fixed income remains the top asset class for SI allocations in APAC (66%), significantly higher than the global average of 45%. This is followed by infrastructure (44%) and private real estate (43%). Among fixed income asset classes, sovereigns topped the asset classes in which sustainability considerations have been implemented for the Asia-Pacific region, in contrast to the global preference for credit/corporate returns.

Similar to last year, separately managed accounts remain the preferred investment vehicle for Asia-Pacific asset owners to accomplish SI goals, but to a lesser extent. Distribution among the four investment vehicles used or planned to reach SI goals this year for Asia-Pacific is relatively even – separately managed accounts remain at the top (45%), followed by listed derivatives (41%), comingled/pooled funds (39%) and exchange traded funds (31%).

Asset owners find regulatory developments helpful for adoption, but challenges remain

In terms of sustainability issues, governance (53%) is the top priority focus for asset owners in Asia-Pacific. This is followed by social themes (43%) and climate/carbon (34%). Both social themes and broader environmental considerations (25%) reflected a significant decline from last year, which were 76% and 72% respectively in 2022.

The biggest challenge faced by Asia-Pacific asset owners when trying to meet regulatory requirements is an inability to align their portfolio with SI, cited by 52% of respondents – which may show a lack of clearly defined parameters around what constitutes SI, exacerbated by fragmented market views. Half of asset owners polled did not trust the quality of their data, and with asset owners operating in multiple jurisdictions, differences in disclosure requirements also posed a challenge to 38% of them.

Despite this, asset owners in Asia-Pacific find that recent regulatory developments around SI to be greatly beneficial for them. Two in three (65%) asset owners found the consolidation of ESG reporting standards bodies would be helpful to investors, as well as development of sustainable finance and green taxonomies (58%), as well as investor disclosures around SI strategies and outcomes (45%).

For more information about the survey, please visit:

Notes to editors:

Since 2018, FTSE Russell has annually interviewed asset owners globally to understand their priorities, frustrations, and opportunities in SI.

FTSE Russell spoke to 350 asset owners with AUM between US$7.9 trillion and US$14.2 trillion between March 27 – April 28, 2023.


LSEG Press Office

Hayley Fewster
+44 (0)20 7797 1222


About FTSE Russell

FTSE Russell is a global index leader that provides innovative benchmarking, analytics and data solutions for investors worldwide. FTSE Russell calculates thousands of indexes that measure and benchmark markets and asset classes in more than 70 countries, covering 98% of the investable market globally. 

FTSE Russell index expertise and products are used extensively by institutional and retail investors globally. Approximately $16 trillion is currently benchmarked to FTSE Russell indexes. For over 30 years, leading asset owners, asset managers, ETF providers and investment banks have chosen FTSE Russell indexes to benchmark their investment performance and create ETFs, structured products and index-based derivatives. 

A core set of universal principles guides FTSE Russell index design and management: a transparent rules-based methodology is informed by independent committees of leading market participants. FTSE Russell is focused on applying the highest industry standards in index design and governance and embraces the IOSCO Principles. FTSE Russell is also focused on index innovation and customer partnerships as it seeks to enhance the breadth, depth and reach of its offering. 

FTSE Russell is wholly owned by London Stock Exchange Group. 

For more information, visit

© 2023 London Stock Exchange Group plc and its applicable group undertakings (the “LSE Group”). The LSE Group includes (1) FTSE International Limited (“FTSE”), (2) Frank Russell Company (“Russell”), (3) FTSE Global Debt Capital Markets Inc. and FTSE Global Debt Capital Markets Limited (together, “FTSE Canada”), (4) FTSE Fixed Income Europe Limited (“FTSE FI Europe”), (5) FTSE Fixed Income LLC (“FTSE FI”), (6) The Yield Book Inc (“YB”) and (7) Beyond Ratings S.A.S. (“BR”). All rights reserved.

FTSE Russell® is a trading name of FTSE, Russell, FTSE Canada, FTSE FI, FTSE FI Europe, YB and BR. “FTSE®”, “Russell®”, “FTSE Russell®”, “FTSE4Good®”, “ICB®”, “The Yield Book®”, “Beyond Ratings®” and all other trademarks and service marks used herein (whether registered or unregistered) are trademarks and/or service marks owned or licensed by the applicable member of the LSE Group or their respective licensors and are owned, or used under licence, by FTSE, Russell, FTSE Canada, FTSE FI, FTSE FI Europe, YB or BR. FTSE International Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a benchmark administrator.

All information is provided for information purposes only. All information and data contained in this publication is obtained by the LSE Group, from sources believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Because of the possibility of human and mechanical error as well as other factors, however, such information and data is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. No member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors make any claim, prediction, warranty or representation whatsoever, expressly or impliedly, either as to the accuracy, timeliness, completeness, merchantability of any information or of results to be obtained from the use of FTSE Russell products, including but not limited to indexes, data and analytics, or the fitness or suitability of the FTSE Russell products for any particular purpose to which they might be put. Any representation of historical data accessible through FTSE Russell products is provided for information purposes only and is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

No responsibility or liability can be accepted by any member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors for (a) any loss or damage in whole or in part caused by, resulting from, or relating to any error (negligent or otherwise) or other circumstance involved in procuring, collecting, compiling, interpreting, analysing, editing, transcribing, transmitting, communicating or delivering any such information or data or from use of this document or links to this document or (b) any direct, indirect, special, consequential or incidental damages whatsoever, even if any member of the LSE Group is advised in advance of the possibility of such damages, resulting from the use of, or inability to use, such information.

No member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors provide investment advice and nothing in this document should be taken as constituting financial or investment advice. No member of the LSE Group nor their respective directors, officers, employees, partners or licensors make any representation regarding the advisability of investing in any asset or whether such investment creates any legal or compliance risks for the investor. A decision to invest in any such asset should not be made in reliance on any information herein. Indexes cannot be invested in directly. Inclusion of an asset in an index is not a recommendation to buy, sell or hold that asset nor confirmation that any particular investor may lawfully buy, sell or hold the asset or an index containing the asset. The general information contained in this publication should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from a licensed professional.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Charts and graphs are provided for illustrative purposes only. Index returns shown may not represent the results of the actual trading of investable assets. Certain returns shown may reflect back-tested performance. All performance presented prior to the index inception date is back-tested performance. Back-tested performance is not actual performance, but is hypothetical. The back-test calculations are based on the same methodology that was in effect when the index was officially launched. However, back-tested data may reflect the application of the index methodology with the benefit of hindsight, and the historic calculations of an index may change from month to month based on revisions to the underlying economic data used in the calculation of the index.

This document may contain forward-looking assessments. These are based upon a number of assumptions concerning future conditions that ultimately may prove to be inaccurate. Such forward-looking assessments are subject to risks and uncertainties and may be affected by various factors that may cause actual results to differ materially. No member of the LSE Group nor their licensors assume any duty to and do not undertake to update forward-looking assessments.

No part of this information may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the applicable member of the LSE Group. Use and distribution of the LSE Group data requires a licence from FTSE, Russell, FTSE Canada, FTSE FI, FTSE FI Europe, YB, BR and/or their respective licensors.