Investors are interested in going green with their portfolio, but advisers are failing to even suggest investing in it, according to a Roper Center poll.

In the online poll, conducted in December and commissioned by Allianz Global Investors, 71% of respondents chose environmental technology as the most desirable of seven major sectors, 54% said that the environment would be an “important focus” for them in the future, and nearly half said they hoped to make a green investment in the next year.

Over 70% of those polled said that they would need an adviser to guide them, but more than 80% of those already working with advisers said their adviser had yet to recommend a single environmental opportunity.

Money invested worldwide in energy technologies—including venture capital, project finance, public markets (such as initial public offerings), and research and development— rose 60% last year, to $148.4 billion, according to the research firm New Energy Finance Ltd.

Steve Schueth, an adviser who has served this market for 20 years and is now the president of the independent advisory firm First Affirmative Financial Network LLC, says the earliest green investors were part of the granola-crunching, “socially responsible investor folks.”

In the 1990s, when Schueth worked at Calvert Group Ltd., the social investment firm studied high-net-worth investors, comparing those attracted to tax-free funds with those preferring its socially responsible ones. Both groups cared about clean air and good schools, but the tax-free fund investors were concerned only with clean air in their own neighborhoods and good schools in their own towns.

And practically speaking, there were not a lot of financial vehicles to offer back then, Schueth said. “There was just not much green product.”

Today, nearly one of every nine dollars under professional management in the United States is invested in socially responsible ways, according to the Social Investment Forum. Assets in socially responsible investments rose more than 18% from 2005 to 2007, while total assets under management in all funds increased only 3%.

Subscribe Now

Access to premium content including in-depth coverage of mutual funds, hedge funds, 401(K)s, 529 plans, and more.

3-Week Free Trial

Insight and analysis into the management, marketing, operations and technology of the asset management industry.