Responsible Investment survey results

The Trustee recently sought the views of members with defined contribution (DC) investments on Responsible Investment. These are the highlights.

What is Responsible Investment?

Responsible Investment (RI) is an approach to investing that aims to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns. RI includes considering environmental factors, but it is much more than just that. It also questions how well companies are governed and how companies impact wider society.

Who completed the survey?

Both current and former members with defined contribution benefits responded.

Most responses came from members aged between 41 and 50:

Age group Number of responses
Age group 31-40 Number of responses 391
Age group 41-50 Number of responses 704
Age group 51-60 Number of responses 605
Age group 60+ Number of responses 80


What did they say?

We asked some defined contribution members for their views on RI and whether these RI principles should be incorporated into investment decisions for their retirement savings. The responses showed that those who responded were interested in RI topics and believed they were important.

  • 93% of all respondents agree that businesses have a wider social responsibility than simply making a profit.
  • 70% of respondents say they’re very or somewhat interested in investing their UKRF retirement savings in responsible investments.
  • 78% of respondents believe that sustainable business practices lead to better investment decisions and improved risk-adjusted returns.
  • 76% of respondents feel personally responsible for making a difference.
  • 90% of all respondents believe it is important for them to protect the vulnerable in society.
  • 89% of all respondents are concerned about environmental issues.

How did they rank Responsible Investment topics?

Members were given a list of nine topics and asked to pick three topics that the Trustee should consider in developing its RI strategy. They ranked them as follows:

  1. Climate change

    79% of respondents ranked as important.

  2. Packaging and waste

    59% of respondents ranked as important.

  3. Controversial weapons

    47% of respondents ranked as important to avoid.

  4. Sustainable land use

    40% of respondents ranked as important.

  5. Board diversity

    was ranked lowest importance at 8%.

A higher proportion of men than women ranked Climate change as important (82% vs 73%)

A higher proportion of women than men ranked avoiding Controversial weapons and eliminating Pay inequality as important (57% vs 41% and 24% vs 12%)

How do members behave?

Members were asked to tell us about their own behaviour from recycling to carbon offsetting.

97% of respondents say they recycle waste

83% try to reduce their use of plastic

55% of respondents say they buy from sustainable brands such as Fairtrade

59% of those aged
31-40 say they do so

62% of those aged
60+ say they do so

41% of respondents routinely or frequently donate money to sustainable causes

38% of women and 28% of men would boycott a brand or company because they disagree with the way it treats its workers

What happens now?

The results of the survey are being considered by the Trustee’s dedicated Responsible Investment sub-group as it develops the UKRF’s policy on Responsible Investment.

August 2020