Poll shows many Scots don’t realise the green power of their money, but young people will lead the way.

With Glasgow hosting the vital COP 26 climate summit, a recent YouGov survey commissioned on behalf of the Global Ethical Finance Initiative has found that 66% of Scots think that financial institutions have a vital role to play in tackling the climate emergency. The survey also found that 36% only want their money invested in companies that have a positive impact on the environment, even if it means lower returns.

However, nearly 8 in 10 (78%) of Scots still don’t consider themselves to be financial investors even though the same proportion have a pension that will be invested in global financial markets. The last government figures from 2018 showed that Scots had nearly £600bn invested in their pensions. Indeed only 15% of Scots with pensions actively choose how their money is invested, and 20% don’t even know how their money is allocated to investments. Many of us may not realise the enormous green power of our money.

The poll also revealed a number of Scots are taking control of their finances in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. With Scotland’s proud history as a global centre for ethical finance, it perhaps unsurprising that well over half (66%) of those questioned also believe its important that financial institutions should take the ethical, environment and social issues into account- making sure their investments are on course to protect the planet.

Almost a quarter (24%) of survey participants questioned said the Covid-19 pandemic has increased their interest in responsible investing, and it is a trend that has seen the fastest growth among young people. With over a 10-point increase in the number of young men considering themselves to be investors in financial products since 2019, and 37% of all 18-34s saying they will take more proactive steps to invest their money more responsibly as we transition out of lockdown, young people are leading the charge in a nationwide move towards more responsible investment.

The Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) has been working with over 60 financial organisations who are committed to making COP26 a success and have teamed up with Make My Money Matter, the Richard Curtis inspired campaign, to help us all realise the power to change the world by choosing where we invest our money.

Tony Burdon, CEO of Make My Money Matter remarked: “This survey adds to the growing mountain of evidence showing loud and clear that people want their money to help tackle the climate crisis, rather than fuel the fire. With trillions saved in UK pensions, it’s undoubtedly one of the most powerful weapons we have to help protect our planet and build a future we’d all want to retire into.”

Omar Shaikh, CEO of GEFI said: “Imagine what Scotland’s £600bn pension pot could do for our planet. The green power of the man and woman in the street’s money is not well understood and Global Ethical Finance Initiative is working with banks and investors across the globe to change the financial system to support a sustainable, zero carbon future. This survey shows that we can all take more notice of where our money is invested and make every pound count as part of the solution to the “Code Red” climate emergency.”



Ellen Davis-Walker





Notes to Editors:

1. Representatives from GEFI are available for interview. Please contact Ellen Davis-Walker (ellen@globalethicalfinance.org).

2. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1002 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 12th – 16th August 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). A summary of the findings is available here.

3. Source for Scots’ pension wealth data: https://data.gov.scot/wealth/2020report.html