Britons think pension funds that invest in clean energy deliver as good a return as investments in conventional sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, according to a new ComRes poll.
The survey, commissioned by Low Carbon and the Whitehouse Consultancy, found that a third of respondents believed that solar and wind would provide the greatest investment return. Another third expected greater return in oil, gas and coal.
When asked which industry they believe would provide the highest long-term investment return, 18% of respondents said solar, another 18% oil and gas, and 7% said wind and hydro. Only 1% said coal.
Helen Munro, managing director of the Whitehouse Consultancy, said, “This poll shows that the public are aware of some of the benefits of investing in renewable technologies. However, we would argue that the pensions industry can do more to educate the public on what their pensions are being invested in, and the likely returns on that investment. Otherwise, the opportunities of investment in renewables might be lost – which is disappointing for investors and will negatively impact on the development of renewables.”
In Scotland, however, around 44% of respondents said pension investment in clean energy would deliver higher return.
Nigel Labram, of Low Carbon, added, “There is a growing public mandate for pension funds to divest their unsustainable holdings in fossil fuels, and this poll is an important addition to that evidence base. But it is critical that divested funds are matched by a similar increase in investment in clean alternatives.
“With the Paris climate conference taking place in December, this year represents a unique opportunity for managers to build innovative investment models that embrace the proven returns available in the green economy.”
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