Money (3)

Nearly two-thirds of investors in the UK are not aware if they are investing their money into an ethical company, according to a new report.

Sixty-three per cent of investors surveyed by Triodos Bank said they did not know whether or not the activities of the companies they are investing in are ethical.

Only a quarter (25%) said they were actively aware of how ethical their investees are. Investments made through pension funds, stocks and shares ISAs, for example, can lead consumers to inadvertently finance activities they ethically or morally object to.

The vast majority (85%) of investors would act if they felt their investments conflicted with their personal ethical preferences.

Nearly three quarters (70%) said human trafficking would stop them investing, or cause them to remove their investment. Slightly behind was forced/child labour (67%), pornography (49%), animal testing (45%) and arms/munitions (41%).

Huw Davies, head of personal banking at Triodos Bank, said: "The results show that people do care about the activities their pensions and investments are financing, and would be willing to act if these clashed with their principles. But with almost two-thirds oblivious to where their money is being invested, millions run the risk of inadvertently investing in areas which contradict their personal ethical preferences.

"At the same time, investors are willing to support more sustainable activity, but are likely to be missing out unless they've taken active steps to do so such as investing in SRI funds.

"A big part of the problem is the lack of tranparency in financial products - it should be much easier for the average investor to find out which companies and activity their money is financing so they can make informed decisions."