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UK investors unmoved by climate crisis campaigns

By Marianne Curphey

Environmental worries have not increased appetite for SRI investments, report finds

Only one in 25 UK investors have moved towards socially responsible investing as a result of high-profile campaigns, according to a new report.

Just 5 per cent of UK adults have changed their day-to-day behaviour as a result of the global climate strike campaign led by Greta Thunberg.

A third of advised investors said that SRI/ESG (socially responsible investing/ environment, social justice, corporate governance) has never been raised as a topic by their financial adviser.

The survey by Charles Stanley Direct found that despite recent high-profile environmental and social campaigns only a small proportion of UK adults admit they have changed their behaviour.

Government intervention appears to be the key. The campaign to reduce use of plastic bags led to more than half (56 per cent) say they were aware of it and 15 per cent saying they had changed their behaviour as result.

Part of the limited impact of SRI/ESG may be down to a reluctance of financial advisers and investment managers to spend time talking about the topic, the survey suggests.

A third (34 per cent) of those who currently use or have previously used a financial adviser/investment manager said that SRI/ESG has never been raised as a topic. Similarly, 33 per cent said their adviser has previously raised the topic once. Only 26 per cent indicated that it has been raised on more than one occasion.

However, with the increasing popularity of self-investment platforms, people now have more choice where and how they invest. As a result they may decide to take a more socially responsible approach to their investments.

"The plastic bag tax has prompted some to change their day-to-day behaviour, but it had no more impact on investor behaviour than similar initiatives. Part of this blame lies at the feet of the financial services industry, but the tide is turning.”

Rob Morgan, Investment Analyst at Charles Stanley Direct said: “The amount of coverage that campaigns such as Greta Thunberg’s Climate Strike have received is hiding the brutal fact that it takes a lot to actually impact behaviour.

FURTHER READING: US and Europe in Davos clash over climate crisis

FURTHER READING: WEF: Companies sign up to new environmental disclosure scheme

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