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Moral investors make their mark

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By Adam Saville 

The number of consumers willing to invest ethically has risen by 18% in the past year, according to research from Co-operative Insurance.

An annual survey by the company revealed 85% of people planning to invest into an Individual Savings Account (ISA) before this year’s deadline of 5 April would consider putting some of their allowance into an ethical scheme. It also found that eight-in-10 people now believe ethical investments can perform in line with, if not better than, the mainstream market.

Recent data from the Investment Management Association (IMA) has shown that ethical funds under management in the fourth quarter of 2007 reached £5.9 billion, an increase of 18% from 2006. In addition, the annual Ethical Consumerism Report from Co-operative Insurance’s sister organisation, the Co-operative Bank, showed the amount held in ethical personal finance products grew by 15% year-on-year from £11.6 billion to £13.3 billion last year.

Zack Hocking, head of investments at Co-operative Insurance, said: “While ethical investment still represents a small amount of the overall market, evidence strongly suggests that growth is set to continue.”

Mike Fox, fund manager of the Sustainable Leaders Trust, added: “Ethical funds are demonstrating that responsible investing and high performance can go hand-in-hand. The increasing importance of the environment, human welfare and sustainability in society means these funds should be well-positioned to deliver consistent performance in the long term.”

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