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Environment key for ethical investors

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Environmental issues top the list of concerns for ethical investors, according to Standard Life Investments.


On surveying its customers the company found that 8 out of 10 of the top issues about the development of ethical fund criteria relate to the environment. The two top concerns were companies clearing tropical forests (unless the company has a policy on reforestation and mitigation) and using high volumes of timber (without complying with internationally recognised standards). Operating in countries with a poor human rights record (without having policies in place to address human rights) appeared as the third key concern for investors.

Investors were also asked to indicate how strong a concern climate change is, with 53% of respondents viewing it as one of their top three concerns. Interestingly, 91% of those surveyed would prefer to invest in companies that are doing their best to reduce their climate change impacts, whereas only 9% of investors felt that it was better to completely avoid investing in companies that are significant contributors to climate change.

Julie McDowell, head of SRI at Standard Life Investments, said: “This is our 11th ethical investor survey, which we believe provides a strong indication of ethical investor sentiment and which we use to confirm our ethical criteria continue to reflect investor concerns. The fact that the environment is at the top of investor concerns seems entirely appropriate given the growing awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity and the need for waste reduction.”

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