An overwhelming 87 per cent of DC savers believe businesses have a wider social responsibility than making a profit, up from 81 per cent in 2018, research from the DC Investment Forum (DCIF) has found.
The research has found a higher proportion of people now worry about the state of the world and feel responsible for making a difference, with 66 per cent now feeling this way, compared to 59 per cent in 2018.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also shifted the dial, the research has found, with 82 per cent believing the crisis will change society forever. Three quarters of scheme members feel that there is more of a community spirit now than before the crisis.
Seven out of 10 DC savers say responsible investment is of interest to them. Older people are just as interested as younger people, despite it often being reported that younger people care more about these sorts of issues, the research finds.
The report also includes a guide to help trustees embrace environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, and a plain English guide to ESG.
DCIF chair Hilary Inglis says: “This research demonstrates that once people understand the implications of ESG, they are keen that their pension savings are invested in this way. At present, there is still a disconnect between the great work being done across the industry and people’s understanding and awareness of ESG issues. We hope this report will help to bridge the gap. As a group of investment managers, we look forward to engaging with pension schemes on these issues, answering their questions and helping them to better reflect their members’ principles and priorities.”
Ignition House co-founder Janette Weir says: “In 2018, we surveyed members on ESG for the first time and questioned whether it could be the key to unlocking member engagement. While members still don’t always make the link between their pension savings and the wider world, they now care even more about ESG than they did two years ago. It seems inevitable that we will reach a tipping point where they make the connection and their feelings spill over into action. We hope this report will provide pension schemes with the evidence they need to act now to become more responsible investors.”
Gordian Advice founder Nick Spencer says: “Time-pressed pension schemes can get overwhelmed by the day to day matters and immediate priorities, but this research reinforces how important it is that they find time to debate ESG issues thoughtfully. Putting it simply, responsible investment is financially material, a regulatory requirement and something members have increasingly strong views upon. Good trustees are not satisfied by scraping by on the bare minimum and are seeking ways that they can become better stewards of the trust bestowed with them. I hope this report will give trustees a practical toolkit to use in their own conversations as boards and to challenge their advisers and investment managers.”