UK public want their investments to do social and environmental good
The Good Economy was part of the DFID-funded research team which conducted the largest and most comprehensive public opinion survey on sustainable investment to date.
Working alongside PwC for DFID's Impact Programme, the Investing in a Better World project set out to better understand what the UK public wants from their savings and investments. In particular, the team explored the appetite among the UK public for savings and investments to be used to help plug the funding gap in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The research, which surveyed more than 6,000 people, found most people in the UK would prefer their investments to consider impact on people and the planet, alongside financial considerations. Moreover, 57% of people said they were interested in learning about what impact their pension has on the world, and 56% said they would opt for a fully or partially sustainable pension.
The final report Investing in a Better World said: "In the last decade, the rapid growth of the sustainable investment market has underscored the growing awareness of the effect that investing has on people and on the planet.
"Considering ESG factors within an investment process is becoming a mainstream activity. It is possible to invest in companies committed to reducing the harm they create through their activities and in companies that are helping to solve the great challenges of our time."
And yet despite the widespread demand, the report also pointed out relatively few people were investing in a sustainable way. "They are not being linked effectively to the products currently in the market. They also need greater clarity on the risks, expected returns, and impact of their investments," the authors wrote.
They concluded: "The Investing in a Better World initiative demonstrates there is widespread demand for sustainable investing from people in the UK. This demand is expected to grow further, driven particularly by wealthier and younger people. The financial sector should be prepared to respond to and meet this demand."
Writing about the research for LAPF Investments, a magazine for local authority pension specialists, The Good Economy's Sarah Forster, said: "The results of this research is a call to arms for the financial sector. People want to invest in a better world. If the UK public and those who advise them and invest on their behalf make sustainable investments in line with the appetite demonstrated in the survey results, a powerful force for change could be unleashed to achieve the SDGs."