ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing statistics

How ethical are investment portfolios in the UK?

There is growing emphasis for companies to clean up their operations, with ESG (environment, social and governance) investing being a key factor for investor analysis. We conducted a survey into how many people in the UK invest, how ethical their portfolios are and if current non-investors would be swayed to invest into ethically run companies.

Quick overview

  • Almost half (49%) of the UK population has at least 1 investment.
  • Over half (57%) of UK investors hold an ethical investment.
  • 35% of male investors have ethical investments, slightly higher than female investors (32%).
  • Half of men (51%) would consider ethical investing, while 31% of women do the same.
  • 28% of total investors have at least 1 ethical investment in the UK.
  • Generation Z are the most likely to invest ethically (66%), with 45% of generation Z investors having ethical investments.
  • London (44%) has the highest level of ethical investors in the UK, with the East Midlands (20%) having the lowest amount of ethical investors.

Does the UK ethically invest?

Our survey found over three-quarters (77%) of Brits who intend to invest, are likely to consider investing ethically. This equates to just over 23 million adults in the UK.

Almost half (49%) of those in our survey say they have an investment. Within this group, 57% of investors hold an ethical investment.

Have an investment Current investor & would consider ethical investing
Yes 49.00% 77.27%
No 51.00% 22.47%

Planning to invest by gender

Our survey found that more than half of men (51%) would consider investing ethically, 13 points higher than women (38%).

Almost 51% of women said they do not plan to invest, which is the same amount of men who would consider ethical investments.

Male Female
Don't plan on investing 34.37% 50.73%
Would consider ethical investing 50.88% 37.92%
Wouldn't consider ethical investing 14.45% 11.35%
Other 0.31% 0.00%

How ethical are current investors by gender?

More men (35%) have ethical investments compared to women (21%). This significant difference is because a lot more women (60%) do not invest compared to men (40%). However, looking at just those who invest, the men are slightly higher in investing ethically, with 35% of men having ethical investments to 32% of women.

In total, just over 28% of investors have an ethical investment.

Don't have investments 40.87% 60.52%
Have ethical investments (deliberate) 20.95% 12.61%
Have ethical investments (coincidence) 13.93% 8.54%
Don't have ethical investments 24.15% 18.23%
Other 0.10% 0.10%
Total ethical investments 34.88% 21.14%

Planning to invest by generation

Generation Z (66%) are the most likely group to invest ethically, which is considerably more than all the other generation groups. Millennials are the second most likely age group to invest ethically (15%), slightly higher than the silent generation (15%). Generation X follow (12%), with baby boomers the least likely to invest ethically at (11%).

Generation Z Millennials Generation X Baby Boomers Silent Generation
Don't plan on investing 19.90% 29.64% 42.41% 58.23% 54.65%
Would consider ethical investing 66.17% 15.38% 12.47% 10.59% 15.12%
Wouldn't consider ethical investing 13.93% 15.38 12.47% 10.59% 15.12%
Other 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.43% 0.00%

How ethical are current investors by generation?

From those who have investments, generation Z (45%) have the most ethical investments, with generation X close behind with just under (40%). Generation X (25%) and silent generation (22%) follow, with baby boomers (16%) being the lowest ethical investor generation.

Generation Z Millennials Generation X Baby boomers Silent generation
Don't have investments 24.88% 41.28% 51.77% 63.66% 65.12%
Have ethical investments (deliberate) 21.89% 18.76% 8.94% 4.72% 3.49%
Have ethical investments (coincidence) 23.38% 21.01% 16.01% 11.59% 18.60%
Don't have ethical investments 29.85% 18.95% 23.28% 19.74% 12.79%
Other 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 0.29% 0.00%
Total ethical investments 45.27% 39.77% 24.95% 16.31% 22.09%

Would consider investing: By region

London is the most likely region to ethically invest, with almost two-thirds (64%) of the population saying they would consider investing ethically. Other than London, all other regions have similar levels of those who would consider ethical investments, with the second highest, the South West (45%) and the lowest regions, East Midlands and East of England (both 37%) within 8 percentage points.

Region Would consider ethical investing
Yorkshire and the Humber 38.18%
London 64.02%
South West 44.77%
South East 40.36%
Wales 41.67%
Scotland 39.88%
West Midlands 41.48%
North West 41.36%
North East 41.46%
East of England 36.99%
Northern Ireland 44.00%
East Midlands 36.99%

How ethical are current investors by region?

Following the intentions to invest ethically, London is the most prominent region in the UK with almost 44% having some form of ethical investment. A third (34%) of investors in Northern Ireland have invested ethically, followed by West Midlands (31%), East of England (29%), South West (28%), Wales (27%), North East (27%), Scotland (25%), Yorkshire and the Humber (24%), North West (23%) and South East (21%).

At the other end of the scale, the East Midlands is the region with the lowest ethical investors, with just a fifth (20%) having an ethical investment in their portfolio.

Region Current investors with ethical investments
Yorkshire and the Humber 24.24%
London 43.94%
South West 27.91%
South East 20.73%
Wales 27.08%
Scotland 25.00%
West Midlands 31.25%
North West 22.73%
North East 26.83%
East of England 29.03%
Northern Ireland 34.00%
East Midlands 19.86%

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

Methodology

  • Finder commissioned Onepoll on 7–11 November 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

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