Two-thirds of investors could be unwittingly supporting unethical industries, according to figures from ethical bank Triodos.
Its latest survey released for Good Money Week reveals 63 per cent of investors don’t know whether the activities of the companies or industries they are investing in are ethical, meaning that many are potentially funding practices which go against their personal views.
And yet the majority (85 per cent) of investors polled would act if they felt their investments conflicted with their personal ethical preferences.
In fact, 71 per cent investors said they would like to have a greater proportion of their pensions and investments in environmental and social sectors, with 46 per cent favouring greater investment in renewable energy, 43 per cent in healthcare and 37 per cent in other sustainable businesses.
As part of the research,Triodos Bank asked respondents to highlight practices which would put them off investing in (or encourage them to divest from) a particular company, fund or pension. The top five were:
1. Human trafficking – 70%
2. Forced / child labour – 67%
3. Pornography – 49%
4. Animal testing – 45%
5. Arms – 41%
Huw Davies, head of personal banking at Triodos Bank, said: “The results show that people do care about the activities their pensions and investments are financing, and would be willing to act if these clashed with their principles.
“At the same time investors are willing to support more sustainable activity, but are likely to be missing out unless they’ve taken active steps to do so such as investing in SRI funds. A big part of the problem is the lack of transparency in financial products – it should be much easier for the average investor to find out which companies and activities their money is financing so they can make informed decisions.
“Individual investors can make a difference by taking a look under the bonnet of their pensions and investments, and doing something about it if they’re not happy with what they discover.”