Key facts & statistics

How much public money is invested ethically in the UK?

EIRIS estimates that as at end of July 2015 there was over £15 billion invested in the UK’s green and ethical retail funds. This estimate is based on around 83 UK domiciled green or ethical retail funds and it seeks to not include UK money invested in ethical funds domiciled outside of the UK.

Historic ethical investment data*:

Year Pooled SRI fund size(£m)
1989 (July) 199
1990 not available
1991 (July) 318
1992 (May) 372
1993 (May) 448
1994 (July) 672
1995 (June) 792
1996 (June) 1,088
1997 (June) 1,465
1998 (June) 2,198
1999 (June) 2,447
2000 (June) 3,296
2001 (June) 4,025
2002 (Mar) 3,800
2003 (June) 3,570
2004 (June) 4,555
2004 (Dec) 5.532
2005 (Dec) 6,078
2006 (Dec) 7,490
2007 (Dec) 8,881
2008 (Dec) 6,794
2009 (Dec) 9,521
2010 (Dec) 10,925
2011 (June) 11,293
2011 (Dec) 10,643
2012 (June) 10,950
2013 (June) c.12,200
2014 (June) over 13,500
2015 (July) over 15,000


*These figures are estimates based on funds under management figures of UK domiciled green or ethical retail funds. This seeks to avoid money in ethical funds domiciled outside of the UK. This is based on information available to EIRIS, provided by fund providers or available through research each year.

Responsible Investment Timeline

  • Responsible investment has a long history dating back to the 19th century. Its roots can be found amongst religious investors such as the Methodists and the Quakers, whose concerns included issues such as temperance and fair employment conditions
  • Ethical business practices can be traced to back to the industrial revolution when factory owners attempted to improve working and living conditions for employees
  • First ‘modern’ ethical mutual fund – the PAX fund – was launched in 1971 to avoid investments linked to the Vietnam war
  • 1983 – EIRIS was established as the UK’s first independent research service for ethical investors
  • 1984 – Friends Provident Stewardship Fund launched, the UK’s first ethical unit trust
  • Early 1980s – the international campaign against apartheid in South Africa became a significant catalyst for the emergence of other ethical funds
  • Period also sees growing concern over environmental issues – brought to the fore by disasters such as Exxon Valdez and Chernobyl
  • 1990s – the universe of ethical funds expands considerably. By the decade’s end around £3.3 billion is invested in over 50 ethical funds
  • 2000 – change in UK law means occupational pension schemes have to say if they take account of any social, environmental or ethical factors when deciding what stocks to invest in. Several other countries have since followed suit such as Australia, Sweden and Germany
  • 2001 – launch of FTSE4Good Indices, supported by EIRIS research
  • 2007 – £9 billion invested in Britain’s green and ethical retail funds – up from £1.5billion ten years ago – this growth has also been reflected globally
  • Growing consumer interest in issues climate change, poverty, fair trade, globalisation, human rights and environment continues to boost the number of people investing ethically in the UK
  • Credit crunch and ensuing financial crisis focus attention on how and where financial institutions lend and invest money
  • 2009 – launch of – the UK’s first independent, non-profit, one-stop-shop consumer website on ethical money launched

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