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Green and ethical investment soaring

Investment into the UK's green and ethical funds will have jumped by almost a quarter by the end of 2019 in comparison to last year, estimates by the EIRIS Foundation suggest.

Growing demand for ethical investment ©Shutterstock

The charity forecasts green and ethical investment to reach £23.5bn this year, around 24% higher than the £19bn recorded over 2018.

This is thought to reflect the growth in demand for existing and new investment products that take environmental and social issues into account.

“Growing awareness of the need for action with regards to climate change and other urgent social issues has contributed to this rise,” said EIRIS Foundation CEO, Peter Webster.

“Retail investors are looking to extend their conscious purchasing decisions to their finances and we’ve seen some innovative new product launches aimed at meeting this demand.”

The findings were published ahead of this week’s Good Money Week campaign, which aims to raise awareness of sustainable and responsible finance.

They come as separate research from Hargreaves Lansdown revealed that most people are unaware they can invest in a way that benefits the environment and society.

After surveying 2,000 UK citizens, the researchers also found that climate change is the issue that people would most like to help tackle through investments.

Other key challenges cited were poverty, poor health and wellbeing and lack of access to clean water and sanitation.

And of those that had seen David Attenborough’s Blue Planet documentary on plastic waste, two-thirds said they had changed the way they live because of the programme.

A whopping 68% of female respondents said they had changed their lifestyle as a result of watching the documentary, compared to 57% of men.

Eight out of 10 people said they recycle, and a similar number use their own shopping bags at the supermarket, while five in 10 avoid single-use plastic.

“It is fantastic to see so many people taking action to avoid further damaging our planet, but disappointing to learn that people who want to make an even greater positive impact, through their investments, were not aware they could do so," Hargreaves Lansdown head of investment analysis, Emma Wall, said.

“It is our job as an investment industry to shout louder about the benefits of environmental, social and governance investing, and to educate and enable people to invest in this way.”

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