Sustainable investments has “lost” niche image, researchers claim

Growth1Just over half of UK investors want their investments to have a positive impact on corporate governance issues like bribery and corruption, beyond just making money, research has found.

The figure – 54% – is the highest since the annual research started in 2009 and is seen as a sign that sustainable investment has lost its niche image.

The research, released earlier this week, comes from the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), which promotes sustainable investment, and forms part of its Good Money Week (October 18-24).

The top three issues for investors are corporate governance matters rather than the traditional environmental causes usually associated with ethical investment. As well as bribery and corruption, the issues are tax avoidance and data protection.

Almost a third of all adults want a “fossil-free” option for their savings or investments, rising to 46% among under-35s.

Nearly 40% think large pension funds should be required to measure and if necessary, reduce the carbon footprint of their investments.

Nearly half of those with investments would be interested in annual updates from their investors on their environmental/social impact, rising to 58% of under-35s.

Good Money Week aims to raise awareness among individuals, financial advisers, pension funds and charities of all types of sustainable investing and finance in the UK. Close to 50 activities are being held across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of the event.

Simon Howard, chief executive of UKSIF, says: “This rising demand for sustainable investment lays down a real challenge to the industry. So far it has responded well with a diverse range of sustainable options from energy efficiency and blue bonds to sustainable investment funds and community crowdfunding – but more needs to be done.”

Just over 2,000 adults were surveyed by YouGov. In 2012, the percentage of adults wanting their money to do good was at 42%, having fallen from 50% in 2009.

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