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Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance - UK - February 2019

“For ethical and socially responsible financial services products to continue to grow, providers need to keep a firm eye on traditional competitive pressures. Consumers are generally keen to make a positive social impact with their money, but most are unwilling to do so if it comes at a personal cost.”
– Rich Shepherd, Senior Financial Services Research Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Consumers need to be educated about social responsibility
  • Consideration of social issues can boost providers’ reputations
  • Ethical brands need to highlight the real cost of banking

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • Executive Summary

        • The market
          • Divestments from fossil fuels and support for sustainability
            • The consumer
              • Ethical current accounts are still niche propositions
                • Figure 1: Current account providers, November 2018
              • Consumers focus on personal, rather than corporate activities
                • Figure 2: Green, ethical and socially responsible activities, November 2018
              • Half say that investment firms are not socially responsible
                • Figure 3: Ranking of how socially responsible different sectors are, November 2018
              • Focus on price means ethics are always a secondary consideration
                • Figure 4: Important factors affecting choice of financial services provider, November 2018
              • Consumers want their money to have a positive social impact
                • Figure 5: Attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible finance, November 2018
              • Consumers are split in their reasons for not using ethical brands
                • Figure 6: Barriers to using a socially responsible financial services provider, November 2018
              • What we think
              • Issues and Insights

                • Consumers need to be educated about social responsibility
                  • The facts
                    • The implications
                      • Consideration of social issues can boost providers’ reputations
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                            • Ethical brands need to highlight the real cost of banking
                              • The facts
                                • The implications
                                • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                  • Divestments from fossil fuels and support for sustainability
                                    • Growth in ethical investments and green lending
                                    • Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Issues in Financial Services

                                      • Divestment and funding
                                        • Investments
                                          • Funding
                                            • Growth of ethical investing
                                              • Green lending
                                                • Ethical banking and lending
                                                  • Regulatory activity
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Ethical current accounts are still niche propositions
                                                      • Consumers focus on personal, rather than corporate activities
                                                        • Half say that investment firms are not socially responsible
                                                          • Focus on price means ethics are always a secondary consideration
                                                            • Consumers want their money to have a positive social impact
                                                              • Consumers are split in their reasons for not using ethical brands
                                                              • Current Account Providers

                                                                • Ethical current accounts are still niche propositions
                                                                  • Figure 7: Current account providers, November 2018
                                                                • Building societies pose the biggest challenge to ethical banks
                                                                • Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Activities

                                                                  • Company ethics remain minority considerations
                                                                      • Figure 8: Green, ethical and socially responsible activities, November 2018
                                                                    • Under-35s lag behind older consumers
                                                                      • Figure 9: Selected green, ethical and socially responsible activities, by age, November 2018
                                                                    • A payments revolution in charitable giving is yet to come
                                                                      • Most people limit ethical activities to three things
                                                                        • Figure 10: Number of green, ethical and socially responsible activities carried out, excluding “Own an electric/hybrid car”, November 2018
                                                                        • Figure 11: Green, ethical and socially responsible activities, by number of green, ethical and socially responsible activities carried out, excluding “Own an electric/hybrid car”, November 2018
                                                                    • Social Responsibility in Context

                                                                      • Financial services providers’ reputations leave room for improvement
                                                                        • Figure 12: Ranking of how socially responsible different sectors are, November 2018
                                                                      • Building societies retain a favourable reputation, for now
                                                                          • Figure 13: Agreement that banks and building societies are “Very” or “Somewhat” socially responsible, by age, November 2018
                                                                        • Investing has a long way to go
                                                                          • Figure 14: Agreement that investment firms are socially responsible or not socially responsible, by value of savings and investments, November 2018
                                                                      • Factors Affecting Choice of Financial Services Provider

                                                                        • Practical considerations are the most influential factors
                                                                          • A quarter consider staff treatment when choosing a finance provider
                                                                            • Figure 15: Important factors affecting choice of financial services provider, November 2018
                                                                          • Environmental stances and ownership structures are key to standing out
                                                                            • Figure 16: Choice of green, ethical and socially responsible factors as important when choosing a financial provider, by users of ethical and non-ethical current account providers, November 2018
                                                                        • Attitudes towards Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance

                                                                          • People tend to want to make investments with positive impacts…
                                                                              • Figure 17: Attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible finance, November 2018
                                                                            • …but don’t think they have funds to do so
                                                                              • Figure 18: Response to the statement “I have enough money to invest in socially responsible organisations”, by value of savings and investments, November 2018
                                                                            • Under-35s claim greater knowledge of ethical current accounts
                                                                              • Figure 19: Response to the statement “I understand how using a socially responsible current account provider can have a social impact”, by age, November 2018
                                                                            • Comfortable consumers have more faith in brands to act responsibly
                                                                              • Figure 20: Agreement with selected attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible finance, by current financial situation, November 2018
                                                                          • Barriers to Using a Socially Responsible Provider

                                                                            • Consumers are split in their reasons for not using ethical brands
                                                                              • Figure 21: Barriers to using a socially responsible financial services provider, November 2018
                                                                            • Men are less engaged than women
                                                                              • Figure 22: Barriers to using a socially responsible financial services provider, by gender, November 2018
                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                • Consumer research methodology

                                                                                Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance - UK - February 2019

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