An increasing number of Canadian investors are interested in sustainable investing (SI), but a majority still have concerns about greenwashing and transparency in the sector, according to a new study.

Mackenzie Investments’ fifth annual Earth Day Study, released Thursday, found that interest in SI is up from last year, but 61 per cent of Canadians still have concerns about this investment category – unchanged from last year’s study.

The study, conducted in partnership with Pollara Strategic Insights, found that 23 per cent of respondents are currently engaged in SI, up from 20 per cent in 2023.

Mackenzie defines SI as investments that “seek to generate both financial returns and a positive impact on one or more environmental, social or governance factors.”

The study found that among those who were not currently engaged in SI, 45 per cent said they are likely to add sustainable investments to their portfolio in the next two years.

“However, six-in-ten Canadians continue to have concerns about greenwashing and transparency in corporate governance within the SI space,” Mackenzie said in a Thursday release.

“Four-in-10 (43 per cent) believe that SI lacks clear guidelines or standards and an equal number feel that sustainable investments tend to deliver lower returns than traditional ones.”

The study found that only 33 per cent of investors who work with a financial adviser reported having discussions with them about SI.

"It's encouraging to see growing interest in and adoption of sustainable investing, reflecting a shift towards aligning financial goals with environmental and social considerations," said Fate Saghir, Mackenzie’s SVP of sustainability, in the release.

"However, what's also clear is that our industry still has work to do to address concerns and misconceptions around greenwashing, transparency and performance.”

Investing in the energy transition

The study also found that within the SI space, Canadians are becoming more familiar with and interested in investment opportunities in the clean energy transition.

Nearly half of respondents said they are likely to consider investing in companies that are focused on the energy transition in the next two years, while 77 per cent of those who already engage in SI said they plan to increase their exposure to the sector.

Around two-thirds of respondents said they believe that investing in the energy transition will “create a better world for future generations” and have a positive impact on human health and the environment in the long-term, according to the study.

But the study found that less than 40 per cent of respondents believe they “adequately understand” the size and scope of the energy transition and the resulting investment options.

"Opportunities within the energy transition will continue to grow as the world shifts toward a low-carbon future," Saghir said in the release.

"The financial industry, including investment managers and advisors, have an important role in making knowledge and education accessible.”


This study was conducted with an online sample of 1,500 adult Canadians from March 19-25, 2024.  Results from a random sample of this size can be considered accurate to within ±2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Results have been weighted by gender, age, and region, using the latest census data, to be representative of the Canadian population. Results have been compared to similar studies conducted in 2023, where applicable.