Policy paper

Investing in a Better World: Results of UK Survey on Financing the SDGs

A study of UK public demand for sustainable investment opportunities, demonstrating high levels of interest and identifying key barriers.



This is the largest and most comprehensive study of the UK public’s demand for sustainable investment opportunities. DFID engaged the UK public to better understand how people want their savings and pensions to be managed, and whether they want the impact on people and planet to be considered, alongside financial factors, in investment decision-making.

This work included a survey of over 6,000 people. To complement the survey, this work included consultation with over 2,000 people through digital feedback forms and events. The investment industry and other stakeholders were engaged through 44 expert interviews and roundtables.

The survey found that 68% of UK savers want their investments to consider impact on people and planet alongside financial performance. It shows that interest is even higher for people with investible assets over £25,000, millennials, and women.

While this type of investing is important to people, the survey suggests that many people aren’t investing this way because the industry still needs to further:

  • improve the availability and accessibility of products
  • raise standards and develop common terminology on sustainability and impact
  • address misconceptions on risk and return, where many people mistakenly think that sustainable investing inherently means that financial returns will be lower
  • share clear and simple information about sustainable investing

The report outlines market trends and how good practice can be furthered against these areas.

The survey included a sample of 5,123 that is nationally representative of the UK population by gender, age and region. The remaining 1,018 respondents formed a booster group of people with at least £25,000 of investable assets. This booster sample was designed in order to capture a large sample of people who are more likely to currently invest, as the nationally representative sample includes people who do not invest.

Published 25 September 2019