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

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."

 

Ends.

Ellen Davis-Walker

ellen@globalethicalfinance.org

07794422631

www.pathtocop26.com

www.globalethicalfinance.org

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


YouGov poll shows an increase in appetite for responsible investment, and young people are leading the charge

With COP26 in Glasgow approaching in just a few months’ time, and our Net Zero Pensions work stream in full swing, the team at GEFI wanted to get a sense of how the last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have impacted investment habits across the country. 

In a recent survey conducted in collaboration with YouGov, we questioned 1,002 adults between the 12th - 16th August 2021 to understand whether the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on where members of the public want to invest their money and the trust they place in financial institutions in the aftermath of the IPPC’s declaration of a code red for  humanity. The results painted an interesting picture and showed signs that young people are leading the charge when it comes to responsible investing in a post-pandemic world. 

With Scotland’s proud history as a global centre for ethical finance- a legacy GEFI has consistently championed through our events and advocacy work- a clear public commitment to ethical finance was to be expected. Unsurprisingly, 66% of our respondents thought that financial institutions have a vital role to play in tackling the climate emergency and 36% only want their money invested in companies that have a positive impact on the environment even if it means lower returns- a consensus that broadly mirrored the results of GEFI’s 2019 survey. 

One of the most striking takeaways from this year’s assessment is the emergence of young people wanting to know where their money is going, and what impact it will have on the planet. Almost a quarter (24%) of survey participants said the Covid-19 pandemic has increased their interest in where their money is being invested. Moreover, 37% of all 18-34s said they will take more proactive steps to invest their money more responsibly going forward.  

But while the appetite for responsible investment is increasing, the results also indicate that there is still work to be done on educating the public about the impact of their individual pension pot. As our survey results indicated, a staggering 78% of Scots don’t consider themselves to be financial investors even though the same proportion of Scots have a pension that will be invested in global financial markets. Similarly, the last government figures from a 2019 survey showed that Scots had nearly £600bn invested in their pensions (Source: https://data.gov.scot/wealth/2020report.html), yet only 15% of Scots with pensions actively choose how their money is invested and 20% don't know how their money is invested. So how can financial institutions act more responsibly, and what can members of the public do to see their pension pot help to deliver positive change for people and planet? 

Tony Burdon, CEO of Make My Money Matter suggests an answer may lie in both public awareness and renewed commitments from financial service institutions to deliver Net Zero. 

“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”, he commented. “With trillions saved in UK pensions, it’s undoubtably one of the most powerful weapons we have to help protect our planet and build a future we’d all want to retire into.”  

Through a series of papers, workshops and events to support pension providers in our Net Zero Pensions work stream, GEFI is committed to assisting pension providers in overcoming challenges and increasing emissions transparency and developing tangible plans to make and deliver on net zero commitments. With public appetite for using finance to act on climate change peaking in the run up to COP26, and with young people leading the charge, the need to provide a clear path towards responsible investment choices is arguably more urgent than ever.  

If you require advice on your sustainable finance journey, the Global Ethical Finance Institute’s dedicated advisory team can help guide you. To find out more about how your pension can benefit the planet - or want to know more about GEFI’s Path to COP campaign and events series - you can visit www.pathtocop.org  

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+).

 

You can read GEFI's full press release here


Youth Voices at COP26: GEFI parners with Global Youth Climate Action Fund

At the end of October 2021, member states and observer organizations will gather in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of Parties. Top of the agenda will be finding ways to mobilize US$ 100 billion every year in climate finance. This ambitious target requires the involvement of all stakeholders both in the public and private sector, to play their part towards resource mobilization.

The Global Youth Climate Action Fund, an initiative of BLI Global and Drop Access, has set an ambitious target to raise and invest US$100,000,000 into youth-led climate action projects by 2030. As part of the readiness program of the fund, a capacity building session is planned to take place between August and October 2021. The session picks up as season II of the climate finance and carbon pricing webinar series that took place last year. The virtual sessions are scheduled to stream through zoom and will include practitioners in the field of climate finance and carbon pricing, organizations that are already leading the way towards ambition, and young people who are already finding climate solutions through innovation.

With support from the Global Ethical Finance Initiative (GEFI) and Citizen’s Climate International, the GYCAF is stepping up momentum in the race to COP26 in Glasgow. Our sessions will begin with a global outlook on climate finance and carbon pricing in relation to COP26 and today’s economy. Regional breakout sessions will follow suit to provide context from stakeholders on the ground. Providing a platform for young people and key stakeholders to explain and discuss their positions and priorities will promote inclusive thought sharing and a shared appreciation of the true needs of communities at a grassroot-level.

Some key sessions we would like to highlight are:

  1. Supporting youth in implementation of the NDCs. This first session is focused on mostly developing countries most of which have been urged to update their NDCs before COP 26. This hopes to Foster meaning engagement between youth and their government.
  2. Financing Youth towards a net zero world. The second session is focused on developed nations with high emissions, ensuring they take responsibility for their actions.
  3. Lesson learnt from climate finance modules. The third session is focused on best practices learnt and what young people can borrow going into the future,  as well as what not to do and what to do when it comes to climate finance.

We invite you to sign up for the event on eventbrite or zoom registration and to share the event within your networks.

Together we can achieve the ambitious targets spelled out in the Paris Agreement, forging a path that leads us towards COP26 and beyond.

Lady Maria Horne, BLI Global and Dolphine Magero, Global Youth Climate Action Fund


This Youth Day, don’t forget about your pension. It might just save the world.

The UN’s International Youth Day may be over for this year, but the hopes and fears of 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 to 24 — the largest generation of youth in history- are very much still here. As a generation, we are ready to change the world for the better. Yet, with mounting fears about climate change and the mental toll of the coronavirus pandemic disproportionately impacting young people, it can be hard to plan ahead ,or  even have the mental space to envisage what that change might look like. This pattern is reflected in young people’s financial habits. A recent survey for Unbiased.co.uk reported that 24% of under 35s said they had no pension savings at all. But what if our pensions were a key to help deliver the change our generation so desperately wants to see?

With less than 100 days until COP26, asset owners across the globe are coming under increasing pressure to commit to Net Zero. Whilst a number of financial institutions have taken a leap of faith and made Net Zero commitments, others are less comfortable to do so. This is a problem GEFI's Net Zero Pension workstream hopes to address as part of our broader Path to COP campaign, over the next 100 days and beyond.

The race to Net Zero pensions is one young people need to be paying close attention to. Greening your pension is 21x more effective at reducing your carbon footprint than the impact of giving up flying, going veggie and switching energy provider combined. Whilst looking ahead to our pension savings might not always feel like the most obvious step to make at the start of your career, it is one of the strongest suits we have to offset environmental damage and to in  safeguard a genuinely sustainable future.

Approximately £2.6 trillion are invested in UK pensions every year. As we learned across Day 2 of Ethical Finance 2021, much of this is invested in tobacco, arms, deforestation, fossil fuels and gambling. Yet, many people are completely unaware that this where their pension funds are invested, and are ignorant of the damage this is doing to the planet. Each year, the average UK pension member, unknowingly finances 23 tonnes of CO2 emissions through the businesses in which their pension invests. This is the equivalent of running nine family cars each year, or burning 1,100 coal fires annually.

Climate change and the environment is a key concern for the youth of today, with a survey  from Research Gate finding that 48.5% of climate protesters were under 35.  According to Raconteur, 62% of under-35s said they would engage more with their pension if they knew it was making a positive impact on climate change. Making the decision to invest in an ethical or Net Zero pension fund therefore presents a win-win opportunity where young people can save for their future, whilst simultaneously helping to save the planet.

At the Global Ethical Finance Initiative, we believe that financial sector must do more to engage with young people. Our Youth Voices at COP stream aims to facilitate this opportunity in the countdown to COP26 in Glasgow, opening up avenues for dialogue for young people who feel pushed out of conversations around the world’s biggest climate summit.  By turning our attention to Net Zero Pensions this Youth Day, we want to tackle the age old challenge of youth and pensions head on. Chartering a route away from irreversible environmental impact might seem like an overwhelming task but we are determined to get there, one (Net Zero) pension plan at a time.

Katie McKenzie