Money invested in Britain’s green and ethical retails funds has reached a record high of £11.3bn, according to figures released by EIRIS, a sustainable investment research firm.
It represents a near three-fold increase in sustainable investment since 2001, when £4bn was invested ethically in the UK by around 250,000 investors. Today, there are over three-quarters of a million investors in green and ethical funds.
Further, statistics from the Investment Management Association show that gross retail sales into UK ethical funds were up by 25 per cent in quarter two of 2011 compared with the same quarter in 2010.
Increased interest in ethical finance is backed up by the findings of EIRIS' latest Ipsos MORI national consumer survey which explores consumer attitudes to ethical finance in Great Britain. The poll surveyed 1,030 adults and found that 38 per cent of the British public with a financial product or service are interested in green or ethical financial products and services.
Of those interested, 90 per cent said they would be likely to switch to a different provider if it offered green or ethical investment products.
Last week, EIRIS also ran a national opinion poll survey with Ipsos MORI to mark National Ethical Investment Week in France. The survey found that 60 per cent of the French public said they attach either 'great importance' or 'some importance' to incorporating environmental, social and ethical issues when selecting financial products.
The UK’s third National Ethical Investment Week is being held next week from 16-22 October 2011.
"We've seen a huge increase in the amount of money being invested ethically and this has gone hand-in-hand with the interest in ethical consumerism in general," said Mark Robertson, head of communications at EIRS. "Our survey shows that expectations around ethical finance are evolving. The public now agree that big issues like climate change, dwindling natural resources and population growth will have a negative impact on the global economy.
"Since the credit crunch, people are better informed about the impacts that their spending and investments can have, both positive and negative, and more of us are turning to ethical investment which takes a longer-term approach."