ESG Not A Priority For Majority Of UK Investors, Despite COP26 Efforts  

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ESG Not A Priority For Majority Of UK Investors, Despite COP26 Efforts  
sergeitokmakov / Pixabay
  • A new survey of 857 UK-based investors has revealed their sentiments towards sustainable and ESG investing, as well as the Government’s climate policy. It found:
  • Less than half (45%) of UK investors say that sustainable investing is important to them
  • This figure increases to 60% among investors aged 18-34, compared to 30% of those aged 55 and over
  • Just 28% say that COP26 and the UK Government’s stance on climate change have accelerated their plans for ESG investment
  • Even fewer (19%) consider ESG investments to be a savvy financial strategy at present

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Prioritiszing Sustainable And ESG Investments

UK investors are failing to prioritise sustainable and ESG investments, despite COP26 and Government action to tackle climate change, new research from HYCM has found.

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The trading broker commissioned an independent survey of 857 UK-based investors, all of whom have investments worth in excess of £10,000, excluding their property, savings and pensions. It found that less than half (45%) consider sustainable investing to be a priority in their portfolio management.

A significantly higher proportion (60%) of younger investors (18-34) said that sustainable investing is important to them, compared to just 30% of those in the over-55 demographic. Likewise, when asked about their investment strategies for the coming year, 52% of younger investors stated they plan to invest in more sustainable assets under management, in contrast to only 12% of over-55s.

Meanwhile, less than a third (28%) of investors said that the Government’s stance on climate change and COP26 discussions have accelerated their plans to invest in more sustainable assets. A similar number (31%) believe the UK Government is doing enough to encourage green and ESG investment.

Elsewhere, HYCM’s study revealed that the recent energy crisis has made 38% UK investors wary of making sustainable, green, or ESG investments. This figure rose to 58% for those with investment portfolios in excess of £500,000.

While just 19% of investors consider ESG investments to be a savvy financial strategy at present, 33% do plan to invest, or increase their investment, in green energy, such as wind power, water stocks and solar energy in the next 12 months.

We Are In The Midst Of A Climate Crisis

Giles Coghlan, Chief Currency Analyst, HYCM, said: “If recent COP26 discussions and Government efforts to curb climate change have made anything clear, it is that we are in the midst of a climate crisis. However, our research shows that investors are in no rush to hop on the ESG bandwagon, potentially due to concerns surrounding greenwashing or the performance of sustainable investments.

“At the moment, investors remain broadly sceptical about ESG, and a least in the short-term, all bets are off that we will see any immediate investor activity off the back of the summit. But that said, it is important not to make any sweeping statements about the ESG landscape: younger investors and those with larger portfolios are comparatively optimistic about prospects for green investment and are considering this as a keen focus in their strategies.

“Expect this sunnier outlook to feed into the corporate mentality, as titans like Microsoft and Nike will likely be keen to establish their ESG credentials. In the pivot towards a greener future, renewable energy looks set to increase demand for copper, which usually enjoys a strong springtime, so this is something investors should monitor closely.”


About HYCM

HYCM is an online provider of forex and Contracts for Difference (CFDs) trading services for both retail and institutional traders. HYCM is regulated by the internationally recognized financial regulator FCA. HYCM is backed by the Henyep Capital Markets Group established in 1977 with investments in property, financial services, charity, and education. The Group via its relevant subsidiaries have representations in Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Dubai, and Cyprus.

High Risk Investment Warning: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 76% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money. For more information, please refer to HYCM’s Risk Disclosure.

About the research

The market research was carried out between 5th and 10th November 2021 among 2,000 UK adults via an online survey by independent market research agency Opinium. Opinium is a member of the Market Research Society (MRS) Company Partner Service, whose code of conduct and quality commitment it strictly adheres to. Its MRS membership means that it adheres to strict guidelines regarding all phases of research, including research design and data collection; communicating with respondents; conducting fieldwork; analysis and reporting; data storage. The data sample of 2,000 UK adults is fully nationally representative. This means the sample is weighted to ONS criteria so that the gender, age, social grade, region and city of the respondents corresponds to the UK population as a whole. Within this sample, 857 respondents had investment portfolios worth in excess of £10,000 – this includes all assets from bonds and currencies to commodities and stocks and shares but excludes any savings, pensions or property that is used as their primary residency.

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