Responsible Investing

Demand for responsible investing thrives among employees

graphic of greenery with windmills

Unemployment is already at an all-time low, and some predict it could dip below 4%.1 How can you compete for top talent— and retain your best employees—in this tight labor market? Nuveen’s research suggests it’s critical to build a strong employer brand—and responsible investing can help.

About the survey

The Third Annual Responsible Investing Survey is a trended analysis of key issues facing advisors and investors.

Nuveen commissioned Harris Poll to conduct two surveys of both populations, enabling the study to identify gaps between the perceptions of investors and those of advisors. The advisor survey was conducted online from June 13 - 22, 2017 among 281 currently employed financial advisors in the U.S. (one-third wirehouse, one-third RIAs, one-third broker/dealer affiliated). The affluent investor survey was conducted online from June 1 - 27, 2017 among 1,012 affluent investors: U.S. residents over age 21 with $100,000 in investable assets (excluding workplace defined contribution accounts or real estate), who consider themselves the decision maker for financial decisions and who currently work with a financial advisor.

Responsible investing is surging into the mainstream

In growing numbers, Americans are turning to responsible investing. Over the course of a single year—from 2016 to 2017—the share of investors who say they’re familiar with responsible investments jumped by 16 percentage points, from 41% to 57%. At the same time, they’re turning their idealism into action, pouring a total of $8.7 trillion in AUM into open-end funds that pursue responsible investing strategies.2

Today, it’s natural to care about nature. And sociable to care about society

Concern for environmental and social impacts is becoming an accepted part of daily life in America. Nine out of 10 Americans recycle every day. Eighty percent say they’d like their investments to promote positive social and environmental outcomes in addition to producing competitive returns.


Companies gain a recruiting edge by offering responsible options

A company’s social and environmental impact is becoming an increasingly important factor in attracting job candidates. This year, more Americans want an employer who makes a positive environmental impact—and they’re increasingly scrutinizing retirement plans for responsible investment options.

The rise of the feel-good employer.

The number of Americans who say they’d like to work for an employer that makes a positive impact on the world is large and growing, with a 6 percentage-point increase from 70% in 2016 to 76% in 2017. This is especially true for Millennials, 91% of whom agree with the statement.

Many eyes are watching you

You expect job candidates to research your company before coming in for an interview—but they may be looking more closely than you realize. Half (51%) of Millennials have conducted online research into the social and environmental track record of a company where they are interviewing.

Ties that bind: Responsible investments are increasingly important for retaining talent

In today’s job market, your employees have a lot of other opportunities to choose from—and it’s a challenge to keep them happy at home. Employees say having responsible investment options make them more likely to feel good (79%) about working for their employers, feel more loyal (70%) to their employers, and feel better about contributing (70%) to their retirement plans—with every metric up significantly since 2016.

Responsible Investing The world needs $2 trillion to help solve global warming, but there isn’t $2 trillion in grants
Responsible Investing Up, down, left and right: Higher returns, lower fees, no more exclusion and more inclusion
Responsible Investing The dark side of climate change is shining a bright light on real estate innovation

1 Washington Post, There’s no reason unemployment can’t go under 4 percent, 6 November 2017
2 Source: US SIF, Barron’s 9 Nov 17

Risks and other important considerations 
Investments in Responsible Investment Funds are subject to the risk that because social criteria exclude securities of certain issuers for non-financial reasons, investors may forgo some market opportunities available to those that don't use these criteria. Investment products may be subject to market and other risk factors. See the applicable product literature, or visit for details. 
This information represents the views and opinions of TIAA Investments as of the date of production/writing and may change without notice at any time based on market and/or other conditions and may not come to pass. Investing involves risk: principal loss is possible. There is no assurance that an investment will provide positive performance over any period of time.
This material is not intended to be a recommendation or investment advice, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities, and is not provided in a fiduciary capacity. The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives or circumstances of any particular investor, or suggest any specific course of action. Financial professionals should independently evaluate the risks associated with products or services and exercise independent judgment with respect to their clients. 
The investment advisory services, strategies and expertise of TIAA Investments, a division of Nuveen, are provided by Teachers Advisors, LLC and TIAA-CREF Investment Management, LLC.