Top 5 ESG Investment Trends in 2023

Published on:
by KnowESG
Image of house model on grass with icons representing various ESG technologies
Image by Freepik

ESG investing has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, shifting from a niche strategy to a widely embraced approach in the investment world. As we move through 2023, the ESG landscape continues to rapidly evolve, propelled by an increasing awareness of sustainability challenges, a growing demand for responsible investments from investors, and regulatory changes. 

With the world grappling with critical issues like climate change, social inequality, and corporate ethics, ESG considerations have become an integral part of investment decision-making. Here, we present the top 5 ESG investment trends to keep an eye on in 2023, offering valuable insights for investors.

Featured Article: The Top 3 Visible Benefits Of ESG Investing

Top 5 ESG Investment Trends in 2023

Climate-Centric Investing

Climate change remains a pressing global concern, with an increasing focus on climate-centric strategies by investors, and a significant trend in 2023 is the integration of climate-related data into investment decisions. This includes evaluating a company's carbon emissions, carbon transition plans, and exposure to climate-related risks. 

Furthermore, investors are gravitating towards companies that align with the goals of the Paris Agreement and actively contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy, as opposed to ‘anti-ESG funds’, generally those that invest in ‘sin stocks’, which are faring worse. Green bonds and sustainable infrastructure investments are also gaining momentum as investors seek to support projects that have positive environmental impacts.

Featured Article: Top 8 Best ESG Funds for Responsible Investors in 2023

Social Equality and Inclusion

ESG investing extends beyond environmental considerations; social factors are equally pivotal. In 2023, there is a heightened emphasis on social equality and inclusion. Investors are scrutinising companies' diversity and inclusion policies, gender pay equity, and initiatives to foster a fair and inclusive workplace. 

Investments in businesses that prioritise social well-being, education, and healthcare are gaining traction. Furthermore, companies that exhibit a commitment to addressing social issues, such as income inequality and access to basic necessities, are viewed as appealing investment prospects.

Featured Article: Top 5 Social Sustainability Examples You Need To Know

Tech-Driven ESG Solutions

Technology is playing a crucial role in driving the advancement of ESG investing. Artificial intelligence and big data analytics are being harnessed to comprehensively evaluate ESG performance in real time. Through the utilisation of these tools, investors are able to identify ESG risks and opportunities that may not be readily apparent through traditional analysis methods. 

Furthermore, blockchain technology is being employed to enhance transparency and traceability in supply chains, or to digitally twin urban landscapes and specific structures to reveal huge opportunities for energy effectiveness, empowering investors to verify companies' claims regarding their ESG practices. Follow the below link for a peek at Akila, an innovative company revolutionizing built environment energy use.

ESG Voices: Digitalisation for Decarbonisation!

Regulatory Landscape and Standardisation

In 2023, regulatory developments continue to shape the ESG investment landscape, led by the EU, and soon Australia. As governments worldwide amplify their focus on sustainability, regulations regarding ESG disclosures and reporting are becoming more stringent. This trend is compelling companies to enhance their ESG practices and provide investors with more transparent information. 

The standardisation of ESG reporting frameworks is also gaining momentum, facilitating the comparison of companies' performance based on common metrics. Influential organisations such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) are driving global reporting standards and urging companies to disclose climate-related risks.

Related: Top ESG Investment Strategies For Your Portfolio

Impact Investing and Shareholder Activism

Investors are increasingly prioritising more than just financial returns and are actively seeking investments that have measurable positive impacts. Impact investing, which seeks to generate both financial returns and social or environmental benefits, has emerged as a significant trend in 2023. Whether it involves funding renewable energy projects or supporting community development initiatives, impact investments are gaining momentum. 

Moreover, shareholder activism continues to serve as a powerful tool for driving change within companies. Shareholders are utilising their influence to advocate for greater integration of ESG factors, disclosure, and alignment with sustainable business practices.

Featured Article: ESG Rating and Shareholder Activism: Driving Corporate Responsibility


By 2023, ESG investing has firmly established itself as a mainstream approach. The aforementioned trends reflect the evolving priorities of investors in this realm. Climate-centric strategies, social equality, technology-driven solutions, regulatory changes, and impact investing are shaping the ESG landscape, compelling companies to prioritise sustainability and responsible business practices. 

As ESG considerations become increasingly integral to investment decisions, they not only reshape the financial industry but also contribute to a more sustainable and equitable global economy.

For more of your ESG questions answered, and some helpful links, keep reading below...

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the emerging trends in ESG governance for 2023?

With the intensifying impact of climate change, companies must prioritise mitigating climate risk. This entails setting ambitious emissions reduction targets, investing in renewable energy, and cultivating resilient supply chains.

Additionally, companies must place greater emphasis on social responsibility. This encompasses addressing vital issues like diversity and inclusion, labour practices, and human rights.

To effectively manage ESG risks, companies should establish robust governance structures. This includes establishing a dedicated ESG committee, implementing comprehensive ESG reporting, and ensuring independent oversight.

What does 2023 hold for ESG and sustainable investing?

ESG investing is poised for continued growth. The global sustainable investment market is projected to reach a staggering $53 trillion by 2025. Several factors are driving this growth, including the rising awareness of ESG risks, the increasing demand for sustainable products and services, and the regulatory pressure on companies to enhance their ESG performance.

Furthermore, ESG integration is gaining mainstream acceptance. This practice involves incorporating ESG factors into investment decisions. Investors now recognise that ESG considerations can have a significant impact on financial performance.

In addition, there is a discernible shift towards standardised ESG disclosures. This development will facilitate easier comparison of companies and enable investors to make well-informed investment choices.

What are current trends in ESG?

Climate change is undeniably one of the most pressing ESG issues confronting businesses today. Companies face mounting pressure to reduce their carbon emissions and mitigate climate risks.

The imperative to establish sustainable supply chains is also growing stronger. Companies must address critical aspects, such as labour practices, human rights, and environmental impact, to ensure the sustainability of their supply chains.

Moreover, fostering diversity and inclusion is another crucial ESG concern. Companies are increasingly expected to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

To achieve good ESG performance, robust corporate governance is indispensable. Companies must establish a sound corporate governance structure to effectively manage ESG risks.

Featured Article: Improving Diversity, Equality and Inclusion In Your Workplace

What are Fitch ESG market trends 2023?

ESG integration is poised to gain mainstream acceptance: Fitch predicts that in 2023, ESG integration will become more widely embraced. This shift is driven by investors' growing recognition of the crucial role ESG factors play in financial performance.

ESG ratings will become more nuanced: Fitch foresees ESG ratings becoming more detailed in 2023. This heightened granularity is in response to investors' escalating demand for comprehensive insights into companies' ESG performance.

ESG data will become more abundant: Fitch anticipates a surge in ESG data availability throughout 2023 from companies increasingly collecting and disclosing ESG information. ESG regulation will become more stringent and governments will have tightened ESG regulations during 2023. This shift reflects the mounting acknowledgment of the pivotal role ESG factors play in the economy.

What are emerging trends in finance 2023?

Sustainable finance is a rapidly expanding field within the financial sector. It encompasses the use of financial instruments to promote and support sustainable development. ESG investing, another rapidly growing area in finance, involves investing in companies that prioritise good ESG practices.

Blockchain, a distributed ledger technology, holds great potential for revolutionising the financial industry by establishing more secure and efficient financial systems.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is yet another groundbreaking technology that has the capacity to transform finance. AI can streamline tasks, enhance investment decision-making, and facilitate fraud detection.

Featured Article: How AI Could Be The Key To ESG Working

What are S&P Global ESG Trends 2023?

ESG integration is set to become more mainstream: According to S&P Global, the integration of ESG factors into investment strategies will gain widespread acceptance by 2023. This shift is driven by the growing recognition among investors of the significance of ESG considerations in determining financial performance.

ESG data will become more readily available: S&P Global predicts a rise in the abundance of ESG data by 2023. This projection stems from the increasing efforts of companies to collect and disclose ESG-related information.

ESG regulation will tighten: S&P Global foresees stricter ESG regulations taking effect in 2023. This trend is driven by governments' growing recognition of the impact of ESG factors on the overall economy.

ESG-related litigation will see a rise: S&P Global anticipates a surge in ESG-related litigation cases in 2023. As investors become more aware of their rights, they are increasingly inclined to take legal action against companies involved in ESG-related misconduct.

For more, here's S&P's 'Big Outlook'.


Featured Article Headlines

Streamline Your Emissions: Top Carbon Accounting Software Solutions for Efficient Sustainability Tracking

Streamline Your Emissions: Top Carbon Accounting Software Solutions for Efficient Sustainability Tracking

The Rise of Impact Investing: Paving the Way for Positive Social and Environmental Change

The Rise of Impact Investing: Paving the Way for Positive Social and Environmental Change

An Interview with Label Collective founder Julian Roberts on diversity, sustainability and innovation

The 0100 Europe 2024 PE & VC Conference

KnowESG Launching the Premier ESG Marketplace: Unique Place to Find Partners in Sustainability Transition

ESG Voice: Skillfulness Delivered - The Importance of ESG Education

Is Water Sustainable? Understanding the Reality and Solutions for Future Generations

Best Practices to Enhance ESG Reporting Processes and Outcomes

Thematic-ESG Mutual Funds: A Comprehensive Guide for Sustainable Investing

How EU’s Digital Markets Act Changes Big Tech