Ethical scepticism rises

Scepticism surrounding greenwash and the validity of ESG and ethical investments is on the rise, according to new research from Triodos Bank.

In the latest annual Triodos Impact Investing Survey, over a quarter of consumers who would not currently invest in an ethical fund (26 per cent) question whether many investments claiming to consider environmental and social impact are truly ethical – a figure that has risen from 17 per cent in 2020.

While consumers are keenly interested in the potential power of their investments to drive positive change, many are cautious about a lack of clarity from banks and financial institutions about how their money is being used. Seven in 10 of those with investments (71 per cent) want more knowledge and transparency about where their money is invested, while eight in 10 (79 per cent) think all banks and financial providers should be more transparent about where people’s money goes.

Perhaps most worrying for financial companies is that a majority (54 per cent) of consumers now believe that providers aren’t helpful when it comes to revealing what their money is invested in.

This increased scepticism comes at a time when many consumers are looking to use their money to invest in a more sustainable future. Six in 10 consumers with investments (58 per cent) say choosing carefully where you invest your money is one of the best ways to protect the planet, while four in 10 (39 per cent) say the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is inspiring them to want to use their money in a more sustainable way.

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