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Women ESG and Investing Supporting Good Money Week 2018

01 Oct 2018

  • 1 in 4 women like the idea that their investment choices could make a positive difference in the world
  • Awareness of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is greatest among 18-24 year olds
  • Only 9% of women are not interested in where or how their money is invested

Aberdeen Standard Investments, the global asset manager, has today released findings into attitudes to incorporating environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues into investments from extensive YouGov research into people’s approaches to saving and investing. At the start of Good Money Week the research highlights that the majority of investors, particularly women, do care about where their money is invested.

There is genuine interest in doing good: 24% of women compared to 20% of men like the idea that their investment choices could make a positive difference in the world. Only 9% of women are not interested in where or how their money is invested. When asked about where their money is currently invested, 36% of women (compared to 30% of men) assumed that their financial product provider is not investing their money in companies which are not appropriate but they simply do not know if this is actually the case. Almost half of all women surveyed (48%) hold some form of investment, via their pension or standalone product, and of this 14% have chosen to hold investments that look at environmental and social issues - 7% of all women surveyed.

The nine categories of issues introduced to respondents: human rights, preserving the environment, good corporate governance, sustainability, avoidance of unethical products, ethical sourcing, innovation, community and social impact all attracted a groundswell of support but human rights was regarded as most important overall.

Data from the quantitative survey reflects insights from the qualitative research in which women expressed genuine interest and concern for a wide variety of ESG issues, were keen to know more and enthusiastic about the idea that their investment choices could have a positive impact on the world.

Commenting on the findings, Amanda Young, Head of Global ESG Research at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said:

“In our research, discussions around how integrating issues such as the environment or human rights into the investment process can lead to better outcomes for people and our planet were met with positivity and enthusiasm. In particular women care about these matters and want to invest responsibly. As women are often the lead decision makers and money managers in household matters, they are uniquely positioned to help facilitate positive change and also influence the next generation to invest in ways which benefit society and the environment.”

Of the terms used to describe investments that look at sustainability factors “ethical”, “socially responsible” and “sustainable” were selected overall as the most appropriate. Only 20% of respondents overall had heard of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals before taking the survey, but once these had been introduced to the qualitative respondents, talking about ESG issues and UN SDGs prompted women in the groups to want to know more about how and where money is invested. The data showed that awareness of the UN SDGs is greatest among 18-24 year olds.

In conclusion, Amanda said:

“We know that there is more work to be done to make investing sustainably more widely understood and accessible in the UK. Our research shows that women have a vital role to play in contributing to and driving forward this agenda. Our report adds to the growing body of evidence that shows that retail investors want their investments to have a positive impact on society and the environment, and recognise that how we decide to invest today shapes tomorrow’s world.”

The report provides a summary of the findings from qualitative research undertaken among women, and quantitative research among a nationally representative sample of almost 9,000 men and women in the UK. It is the first report from a much larger study and other findings will be published over the next few months.


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Research Methodology

The research was undertaken by Gabriel Research & Management Ltd on behalf of Aberdeen Standard Investments. The research programme comprised qualitative focus groups followed by a quantitative survey. Fieldwork took place from 6 – 22 August 2018.


 Focus groups

Groups were held in London (6 August), Manchester (7 August) and Edinburgh (10 August) among 18 women aged 25 – 67 years, working full time or part time, covering social grades B, C1 and C2. All held one or more of the following: company pension; personal pension; bank or building society savings account; cash ISA; stocks and shares ISA; other investment account. All verbatims quoted in the research report are drawn from these three focus groups undertaken as the first phase of the research.


YouGov Omnibus survey

YouGov ran four waves of the Omnibus survey among a nationally representative sample of 2,000 UK adults from 16 – 22 August. The survey was carried out online; figures have been weighted and are representative of UK adults aged 18+. The actual sample comprised: 8,958 UK adults. Of these, 4,126 were men and 4,832 were women. The basic analysis illustrates gender differences; deeper analysis by other variables (age, working status, investments held) is based on women. These bases are clearly indicated under each chart in the report.

Notes to editors

  • Aberdeen Standard Investments is a leading global asset manager dedicated to creating long-term value for our clients, and is a brand of the investment businesses of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life Investments.
  • With over 1,000 investment professionals we manage $735.5 billion (£557.1 billion)* of assets worldwide. We have clients in 80 countries supported by 46 relationship offices. This ensures we are close to our clients and the markets in which they invest.
  • We are high-conviction; long-term investors who believe teamwork and collaboration are the key to delivering repeatable, superior investment performance. We are resolute in our commitment to active asset management.
  • Aberdeen Standard Investments is the asset management business of Standard Life Aberdeen plc, one of the world’s largest investment companies.
  • Standard Life Aberdeen plc is headquartered in Scotland. It has around 1.2 million shareholders and is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The Standard Life Aberdeen group was formed by the merger of Standard Life plc and Aberdeen Asset Management PLC on 14 August 2017.

*as at 30 June 2018

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