So-called “responsible” investing is gaining cred both with retail investors and institutional investors. But as Cerulli Associates points out in a recent report, the question is whether growing interest in green or responsible investing will translate into more investible opportunities in this space.

Specifically, the Boston-based financial services consultancy framed the question under the rubric of environmental, social, governance (ESG) strategies. ESG investing is one of several approaches within the responsible investing sphere that includes socially responsible investing, mission-related investing, impact investing and program-related investing.

Formerly viewed as a niche corner of the investing universe, ESG investing and its cousins have become almost mainstream as greater numbers of investors rally around the notion that companies tarred by environmental problems, worker and product safety issues, shady business practices, equality concerns and the like present portfolio risks.

And that viewpoint has crept up to the institutional level, where Cerulli says institutional sales teams are seeing more asset holders asking about their firms’ approach to sustainable investing.

All of this awareness about do-good investing sounds great. But even as 87% of asset managers surveyed in the report, The Cerulli Edge: U.S. Monthly Product Trends (August 2014), said they viewed the growing awareness about ESG investing as a secular trend, the vast majority of them said it’s only somewhat important to offer it. Does that mean they’ll be slow to roll out products or invest in the space?

Time will tell, but asset managers surveyed by Cerulli said they expect the highest growth potential for ESG investing to be in U.S. equity (according to 78% of respondents) and international equity (according to 74%). That’s because these two sectors are among the most commoditized asset classes, and investing with an ESG bent in those areas can help managers differentiate themselves.

Elsewhere, says Cerulli, private equity and other alternative investments not bound by the same liquidity constraints as highly regulated investment vehicles can invest directly in unlisted companies and provide more oomph with impact or ESG investing.