- Spurred on by the energy and cost of living crisis, 73% of the UK public believe we need to invest in long-term solutions to the issues facing the world
- Ahead of tax-year ISA deadlines, 65% think individual investors have a responsibility to use their money for good, instead of funding harmful sectors like fossil fuels
- Despite these intentions, 65% say the cost of living crisis has impacted how much they can use their money to support a greener future
Rising energy bills and living costs have accelerated people’s dissatisfaction with the status quo of the financial system, leading them to demand positive long-term change, reveals new research from Triodos Bank UK.
Nearly three quarters of the UK public (73%) believe we need to collectively invest in long-term solutions to the issues the world is facing – such as investing in renewable energy to bring down energy costs and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
This demand is being driven by three quarters of people (75%) saying they are frustrated that big banks continue to make huge profits despite cost of living increases. For those over the age of 55, this rises to 81% - implying that the older generations may be even more concerned.
In light of rising household costs, over half of people (54%) want banks to do more to invest in long-term sustainable change, while 53% say being more careful with their money makes them think more critically about how it is being used by their bank.
Roger Hattam, Director of Retail Banking at Triodos Bank UK: “There is a striking disconnect for UK consumers between the rising cost of living and decisions being made by banks on what they choose to finance. Our biggest high street banks continue to funnel billions into the fossil fuel sector, when it is precisely our dependence on fossil fuels that is driving up our bills, and not to mention causing immeasurable harm to the planet.”
This is particularly stark in the minds of younger people, with 64% of those aged 18-34 saying the wider situation of the past 12 months has made them think more critically about using their own savings and investments to drive positive impact.
Cost of living and sustainable finance
As household bills rise, many people admit to feeling that the agency they have over their money has waned. Two-thirds (65%) say they worry that cost of living increases have had an impact on their ability to use their money for positive change, while more than half (54%) admit that making sustainable choices with their money has taken a back seat to prioritising immediate rising costs.
However, ahead of ISA season, almost two-thirds of people (64%) say those that can afford to invest should choose sustainable investments that help bring about positive change for everyone. Meanwhile, 65% say individual investors have a responsibility to ensure their money is being used for good, instead of funding harmful practices such as fossil fuels.
Richard Curtis, filmmaker, activist and founder of Make My Money Matter, said: “It's easy to feel powerless in the face of the climate crisis, but the reality is that through our pensions, investments and banking choices we all have extraordinary power to build a better world. And as this new research shows, UK citizens increasingly want to use this power to make sure their money is tackling the climate crisis, not making it worse.
“Banks and pension funds must respond to this growing movement to make our money matter by transitioning away from investments which are damaging for both people and planet, as well as being unpopular with their customers. Instead it’s time focus on new investments which build a better future for us all."
For the younger generation, aged 18-34 – that has come of age under the shadow of the climate crisis – this attitude is even more prevalent. Seven in 10 (69%) of this age group say they want their money to help fund projects and companies that only work in sustainable sectors, while more than half (56%) say they have become more interested in ESG over the past year. Six in 10 (60%) say they don’t want their bank to back fossil fuels.
Power of collective individual action
Misconceptions about not being able to save enough to make a positive impact may be holding many people back from making ethical and sustainable choices with their money.
Six in 10 people (61%) believe that they don’t have enough savings or investments for their impact to make a difference, while more than half (56%) think you have to be rich to be able to make a positive impact with your money.
Roger Hattam, Director of Retail Banking at Triodos Bank UK, continued: “The prevalent myth that you have to be very wealthy to make a difference with your money couldn't be further from the truth. Even a small amount in an ISA with a sustainable provider reroutes money from harmful sectors into positive ones, and sends a powerful message to the wider finance industry that enough is enough. It’s through collective action that putting your money into an ISA with a sustainable bank supports a wider ecosystem of green finance that brings about real change.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Capital in any investment product is at risk. The value of an investment may go down as well as up and investors could lose some or all of their money. Currency fluctuations may also affect the value of a Triodos Stocks & Shares ISA. As with all ISAs, the tax benefits depend on individual circumstances, and tax rules may change. The total annual ISA allowance is £20,000, which can be split across different types of ISAs.
None of the information in this press release constitutes financial advice. If potential investors are unsure if these investments are right for them, they should contact an Independent Financial Adviser.
For further information and to arrange interviews please contact:
PR & Communications Manager, Triodos Bank UK
About the research:
Opinium Research was conducted by Opinium Research on behalf of Triodos Bank. 2,000 UK adults were surveyed, weighted to be nationally representative. Polling took place 21 - 24 February 2023.
About Triodos Cash ISAs
In 2022, Triodos Bank UK was awarded the coveted ‘Best Buy’ status by Ethical Consumer magazine –for its savings accounts. Triodos was recognised for its transparency and positive investment strategy, which Ethical Consumer noted were ‘stand-out’ and ‘market leading’.
- Instant access account
- 2.55% tax-free / 2.57% AER
- Open with as little as £10
- Fixed interest rate for two years
- 3.7% tax-free / AER
- Open with as little as £1
About Triodos Impact Investment Funds
Triodos Bank’s Stocks & Shares ISA is recognised as a ‘Best Buy’ by Ethical Consumer magazine. Three award-winning impact investment funds are available through the Stocks & Shares ISA – the Triodos Pioneer Impact Fund, the Triodos Global Equities Impact Fund and the Triodos Sterling Bond Impact Fund. The funds are managed by Triodos Investment Management, part of Triodos Bank.
Triodos Investment Management publishes a list of all companies in each fund's investment portfolio, for total transparency. All the investments in the funds have been hand-picked by impact investing experts using a themed approach, which ensures they have a positive impact on society and the environment.
Stocks & Shares ISAs - A choice of three impact investment funds:
- Invests in large listed sustainable companies
- Portfolio includes: Adidas, Central Japan Railway, Danone, Vestas Wind Systems
- Invests in small and medium sized innovative companies
- Portfolio includes: DS Smith, Shimano, First Solar, FREYR Battery
- Invests in corporate, green and social bonds alongside UK government gilts
- Portfolio includes: United Utilities Water, East Japan Railway
- Launched in 2020, so 5-year figures unavailable
About Triodos Bank
Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank has become a frontrunner in sustainable banking globally. As an independent bank that promotes responsible and transparent banking, it does not see any conflict between a focus on people and the planet and a good financial return. Instead it believes that they reinforce each other in the long-term.
Triodos Bank has banking activities in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain and Germany as well as Investment Management activities based in the Netherlands but active globally. Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of 70 sustainable banks. Together these banks want to grow sustainable banking and its impact on the real economy substantially.
Triodos Bank UK Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank NV. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008. VAT reg no 793493383.
This financial promotion has been issued by Triodos Bank UK Ltd. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales with registered number 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008.