Around 70% of investors are focusing on climate change in their investment policy despite growing headwinds, hinting at a shift from “aspiration to implementation,” according to a new survey from international asset manager Robeco.

In a March 23 announcement, Robeco unveiled its 2023 Global Climate Survey, stating that the number of investors for whom climate change is a significant part of their investment policy has remained stable at above seven in 10.

However, investors trying to tackle climate change are experiencing headwinds such as the ongoing backlash to ESG. “It is clear that investors in North America are more affected by the politicization of ESG investing, particularly regarding climate change, with 47% in North America (vs. 30% in Europe and 37% in Asia-Pacific) concerned about political pressure or legal action if they implement ESG investing,” the report highlighted.

The study stated that ESG investing will likely be an election issue in the U.S. and warned that investors may have to find a way “to factor this into their investment approach, particularly if they believe that climate change has financial implications.”

The energy crisis is also cited as a headwind with the sharp rise in energy prices leading to nearly half of investors reviewing their approach to ESG investing and sustainability, by “permitting higher allocations to oil and gas companies in order to avoid short-term losses.”

Another key finding revealed that almost half of investors have made, or are in the process of making, a public commitment to the net-zero goal by 2050.

The latest annual survey from Robeco is the third of its kind, incorporating the views of 300 investors.

“This year’s survey highlights the challenging journey that investors are undertaking as they advance from aspiration towards implementation of their net-zero commitments,” said Robeco Climate and Biodiversity Strategist Lucian Peppelenbos. “Climate action continues to mature, but the road to net-zero is not linear. All in all, I believe we are close to reaching a tipping point for the mainstreaming of climate change and biodiversity into investment strategy.”