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Believe it or not, UK investors are more worried about reducing plastic waste than they are about Brexit.

The UK’s leading peer-to-peer ethical investment platform, Abundance Investment, today publishes the results of its sixth Great British Money Survey revealing the key ethical and environmental issues people care about and which motivate investors.

‘Reducing plastic waste’ is the issue of greatest concern, with 81% saying they are extremely or somewhat concerned about this, followed by ‘levels of waste’ at 78%. Brexit came fourth (73.5%) after air pollution (74.5%).

Reducing plastic waste is also more likely to provoke people to take political or social action (such as signing a petition) than any other issue in the poll, with over 20% saying they’d taken action on this – compared with only 13.5% for Brexit.

Support for renewable energy investment remains high

Widespread concern about levels of waste, and plastic in particular, translates into support for using waste streams as a source of energy. The Abundance survey also asked respondents about their support for different renewable energy generation technologies.

Results showed that overall levels of support for renewable energy remain high at over 80%, with solar the most popular technology (consistent with the BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker). Notably it also shows very high levels of support for ‘energy from waste’ at 76%, which is not measured in the BEIS tracker.

However, when it comes to choosing which social/ethical sector to support through investment, energy from waste and recycling/repurposing waste technologies achieved the highest scores, at 29% each, beating established green technologies such as wind and solar (25%) by a fair margin.

Bruce Davis, co-founder and joint Managing Director, Abundance Investment, said:

“It’s encouraging to see the Blue Planet effect beating Brexit in the battle for the hearts and minds of the British public. The ranks of green consumers, who seek ideal solutions to their personal impact on climate change, are being swelled by what we are calling the ‘ecopragmatist’. Ecopragmatists recognise that the transition to a more sustainable world is not easy and requires some common sense choices. Together they are helping to accelerate the change we need to see both in our everyday consumption and our long term investment choices.”

The survey was carried out by independent research specialists One Poll who interviewed 2,000 adults across the UK, between 12th and 20th March.

It confirms and underlines the very strong feeling the public have about the impact of plastic since the BBC’s Blue Planet II series aired at the end of 2017.

“Wake up call” for UK business

Davis added: “Our independent survey of the UK public should be a clear wake up call for business. If you aren’t doing something to reduce your use of plastic, or the impact of your waste on the wider environment, then you are out of step with 8 out of 10 people. Businesses that put themselves on the wrong side of this tipping point will find themselves on the economic rubbish heap.”

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Stuart Fieldhouse

Stuart Fieldhouse has spent 25 years in journalism and marketing, including as a wealth management editor for the Financial Times group, covering capital markets and international private banking, and as an investment banking correspondent for Euromoney in Hong Kong. He was the founder editor of The Hedge Fund Journal.

Stuart has worked at CMC Markets, supporting the re-launch of its global financial spread betting and CFD trading platforms. He is also the author of two books on trading, published by Financial Times Pearson. Based in The Armchair Trader’s London office, Stuart continues to advise fund managers, private banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

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