A YouGov poll for Good Money Week, which begins today, revealed that almost half of the public want their money to be put towards an ethical cause.
It found that 39% of UK investors are only concerned about whether their investment makes money, while 47% want to both make money and make a positive difference to the world.
But the survey findings suggested savers have been neglected by the industry with more than three-quarters (76%) of the 2,128 respondents unaware of how much, if any, of their pension is invested ethically.
Almost a third (30%) believe they do not have a say in how their pensions are invested and yet one in four would challenge their employer if the pension was invested in a company that was against their personal values.
A high demand for ethical and sustainable investment is also growing as more than half (57%) of the UK public with a pension believe that it is the responsibility of investment managers to ensure holdings are managed in a way that is positive for society and the environment.
Simon Howard, chief executive of UKSIF, the body coordinating Good Money Week, said the research shows that people want their money run responsibly.
“At the click of a button, consumers can usually discover the standards behind their food, clothes or cars, yet over three quarters are in the dark on whether their pensions have ethical standards.
“There is a real opportunity for forward-looking advisers to respond to this evolving market demand and to offer a service which is aligned with what people want. The steady growth in support for fossil free products, especially among the young, suggests this is a long-term growth story for the financial advice market.”
Additionally, the influence of millennials is becoming more noticeable as demand for fossil fuel-free funds is rising with 57% of investors under 24 wanting them, while only 34% of over 45s do.
Peter Michaelis, head of the sustainable investment team at Liontrust, said: “Sustainability is an increasingly important theme for consumers, which is fundamentally changing businesses, and research consistently suggests demand for sustainable and responsible investments will continue to grow, especially as millennials inherit and generate greater levels of wealth.
“This is reflected in conversations we are having with wealth managers and financial advisers around the UK, with an increasing number of them looking for sustainable investment funds and solutions for a growing number of their clients.”