• Nearly half (47%) of people said they wanted their money invested in firms that positively impact society and environment.
  • Seven in ten (72%) say risk and charges remain the most critical factors for making investment decisions. 
  • ESG awareness greater amongst men as almost half (43%) of women say they have never heard of ESG, however women are more likely to want to invest ethically.  
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a key consideration for many when it comes to investment decisions, according to research from Standard Life Aberdeen.

Nearly half (47%) of people surveyed said they want their money invested in firms that positively impact society, while half (50%) want their money invested in firms that behave ethically.

Seven in ten (72%) see risk as a critical factor when making investment decisions and a similar number (70%) said charges were also a key concern when making investment decisions. 

Stephen Owen, solution delivery director at Standard Life Aberdeen commented: “It is understandable that risk is the most important factor for many, especially after a year of such market volatility. However, it’s clear that ESG considerations are growing to become an important consideration for investors.”

Standard Life Aberdeen’s research also found that overall, more than a third (35%) of investors are still not familiar with ESG, with a greater proportion of women (43%) admitting they have never heard of ESG, compared with just a quarter of men (27%). 

When asked how much they knew about ESG, less than a third (29%) of women told Standard Life Aberdeen they understood the term, while almost half of men (46%) said they did. 

Despite this disparity in understanding and awareness of ESG, a similar proportion of women and men said they took ESG factors into consideration before making investment decisions. 

Just under half (49%) of women and just over two-fifths (44%) of men said they wanted their money to be invested in firms that positively impact society or the environment. 
Meanwhile, around half (53%) of women and men (47%) said they wanted their money invested in firms that behave ethically. 

Stephen Owen continued: “People increasingly want to make investments that align with their personal beliefs, including factors such as environmental, sustainable and ethical behaviour. 

“For some, ESG is an unfamiliar term, but the principles that underpin it certainly won’t be and we know there is more work to be done to address this. Advisers can play a key role in helping investors understand terminology around investing and make investment decisions that match their convictions, and as ESG gains momentum, advice around the topic will become vital in the near future.”


Media enquiries 

For further information, contact:
Calum Anderson
T: +44 (0)131 460 7922
M: +44 (0)7464444660


Standard Life polled more than 2,100 UK adults via an online survey in November and December 2020.

About Standard Life Aberdeen 
  • In April 2021, we announced our intention to rebrand to abrdn. The new name will be used for our publicly listed company and all client and customer facing businesses. The rebranding roll-out process for the new name and associated visual identity will begin in the summer and progress through 2021, alongside implementation of a full stakeholder engagement plan to manage the transition.
  • We are futurists, enabling our clients to be better investors. 
  • Standard Life Aberdeen operates across three vectors that reflect how our clients interact with us:
    • Investments: Our global asset management business serving institutional and wholesale clients
    • Adviser: Our UK financial adviser business, providing services to wealth managers and advisers through our Wrap and Elevate platforms
    • Personal: Our UK wealth and savings business, combining our financial planning business, digital direct-to-consumer services and discretionary fund management services.
  • Headquartered in Scotland, we have offices in over 50 locations worldwide and employ around 6,000 people.

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