NEW YORK, NY — Heightened support from the Obama Administration and the new Congress on environmental issues, strong green elements in the proposed stimulus and anticipated regulatory changes are fueling optimism for green investment, according to Allianz Global Investors.
That's the assessment of results from the latest survey of American investors for the asset management firm, which says Amercians see a "golden age" coming for green investing.
In addition to expecting broad policy change from Washington, D.C., investors are increasingly perceiving firms that seek to address environmental issues as strong investment opportunities, the company said.
"The need for pollution control, clean water and energy efficiency is not going away," Brian Gaffney, managing director and CEO of Allianz Global Investors Distributors, said in a statement. "Investors perceive there is real opportunity here and they want to capitalize on it."
Gaffney said investors' positive outlook on the environmental technology sector reflects their perception of the area as a long-term opportunity. "Investors understand that robust demand for innovation and solutions will fuel growth, and consequently profits, for years to come," he said.
The survey found:
• 78 percent of investors believe that the Obama Administration in its first year will produce more policy promoting business investment in the environment than the Bush Administration produced during its entire tenure
• 74 percent believe that the new Congress will more strongly support policy promoting business investment in environmental technology
• 97 percent believe that exploring alternative fuel sources remains important despite declining gas prices
• 91 percent believe that resolving environmental problems will be a major issue for years
• 69 percent consider it important to look at investing in companies that capitalize on addressing those problems.
• 78 percent say environmental technology has the potential to be the "next great American industry," and 64 percent considered the sector to be the "most desirable" investment opportunity among 10 categories surveyed
• 72 percent contend that plunging stock prices have had no effect on their inclination to invest in environmental stocks
• 48 percent say they are "at least somewhat likely" to invest in environmental companies this year
• 22 percent in 2008 made investments in firms capitalizing in environmental trends compared to the 17 percent who reported doing so in 2007
The survey also found that 52 percent believe the Dow Jones Industrial Average will be higher a year from now than it is today. And 58 percent of the respondents said they think Europe is ahead of the U.S. in trying to tackle the problems — an aspect that could spur investors' interests in American firms engaged in environmental issues.
The survey polled 1,264 adults from December 12 to 19, 2008. GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, a division of GfK Custom Research North America, conducted the survey over the Internet for Allianz Global Investors.
Participants were required to be at least 25 years old and have primary or shared responsibility for investment decisions in households with financial assets of at least $100,000. The survey conducted December 14-20, 2007 tallied responses from 1,003 completed interviews.