What is responsible investing?
When you invest responsibly, you can help try and change the world for the better - while also potentially making a profit so a positive return on your investments.
Investing responsibly essentially means investing in companies that are aware of the environment and so the climate, their employees and their customers - in simple terms - the world around them no matter what industry they are in. That could mean companies that have a positive work culture and treat their employees well, or those creating clean, sustainable energy using wind farms or solar panels. Or if you want to, you could also actively avoid investing in companies that harm people – for example, tobacco or alcohol companies.
At Aviva, we define responsible investing as ‘an approach to investing that incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns’.
Remember, as with other funds, the value of your investment can go down as well as up and you could get back less than invested.
The three 'ESG' measures of responsible investing
Responsible investing looks at business credentials across three measures: the environment, societal issues and how businesses are run (their governance) are all taken into consideration. We describe these factors in detail in the section below.
This includes things like:
A company’s carbon footprint
Using renewable energy
A firm's waste management policies
This includes things like:
Labour standards among the businesses in a company's supply chain
Secure data protection
Health and safety of employees
This includes things like:
Conflicts of interest and who's on a company's board of directors
Bribery and corruption
We detail our fund offering below so you can see which take ESG into account
Universal Retirement Fund
Our Universal Retirement Fund is designed to give you a simple way to save for retirement, with pension investments you don’t have to manage.
- Your mix of investments will be based on the time until you retire
- We’ll change them for you so they’re typically less risky as retirement approaches
- How you take your pension benefits is up to you
- We think about ESG ratings as part of the way we choose your investments
Ready-made funds are a good option if you're new to investing because they do the hard work for you. All you have to do is choose how risky you want your investments to be.
- Select a portfolio of funds managed by Aviva Investors, our dedicated asset manager
- While ready-made funds don't necessarily target specific ESG outcomes, looking at how the investments in the funds might impact the climate and society is certainly something we take into consideration when selecting funds for our ready-made list.
You can pick your funds from our experts' shortlist, which is a list of hand-picked funds that our team think could perform well.
- A list of funds that stand out from the crowd, according to our experts at Aviva Investors
- Built using a tried and tested process with ESG considerations at every step
- There’s also other criteria (not just ESG) that we think about when we choose investments
Select your own funds
You can build your own customised portfolio by choosing your own funds from the range we have to offer. This is for confident investors.
- Research and pick your own investments
- Use filters to fine-tune the ethical credentials of the funds you’ve chosen
- Choose funds that our experts have rated the best for managing the biggest ESG risks and opportunities
You can find out more about ethical investing here.
Review your investments and the funds you are invested in regularly.
Do you know if your money is invested sustainably?
As an investor you have the power to influence how and where you invest your money. Our short video summarises how your pension contributions can become sustainable investments.
If you’re in a pension where your money will be invested in funds, do you know where your money goes?
When you invest, how much do you really know about what happens next?
Let’s pretend for a moment you could follow your money on its journey and see what happens.
Basically, your money goes into the funds you choose. It’s the managers of these funds who decide how it should be invested.
In order to try and make your fund grow they invest in a range of assets which will often include shares of large companies traded on the stock exchanges around the world and these companies can play a major role in shaping the world we live in.
The performance of funds is normally available for everyone to see at any time.
This sounds like a good thing, but it could actually lead to short-term decision-making. Let’s look at why…
Imagine the pressure you would face from being constantly monitored. Fund managers need to show the investments they make are growing in the short term.
As a result, companies are also pressured to act in the short term to show immediate returns.
Long term benefits such as investing in innovation, workforce skills, or the efficient use of natural resources can slide down the priority list – as can the societal and environmental impacts of things like carbon emissions and air pollution.
In the long-term this can actually lead to weaker companies and lower profits…
Because in reality it’s good companies that treat their customers, employees, the local community and the environment well that make sustainable investments…
When planning for retirement, you invest in your pension to improve your prospects for the future.
Your goal was to create a better future for yourself, and your family, but the result could well be a future you’d never have chosen.
There’s no one quick fix, but these are the steps we can take.
Remember those funds that your pension money goes into? A large number of people invest in them – so together you have huge power.
If you insisted that your money was invested responsibly, it could really help to change the world unleashing trillions of pounds of sustainable investments.
But not many people ask how their money is being spent.
As an investor, you have the power to influence where your money gets invested.
Investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than invested.
When deciding where to invest please consider all investment options available to make the right choice for you.
Different ways to invest responsibly
We’ll talk you through some of the most common strategies for responsible investing. You can pick as many as you want, so a few could apply to any one fund.
Investing that's driven by your ethics, and aims to drive good social and environmental outcomes, and avoid controversial industries, like alcohol or tobacco.
Investing in companies that want to deliver positive social or environmental impact.
Investing in companies that support a particular theme, like cleaner oceans, gender equality or diversity in the workplace.
ESG fund managers consider and integrate environmental, social and governance issues as part of their wider research, as they think ESG factors are key to the long-term performance of a company.
Focused on conserving natural resources and producing alternative energy.
Open an account
Invest directly through our three investment products.
Aviva Stocks & Shares ISA
Keep your investments tax-efficient with our ISA. Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.
Aviva Investment Account
Used up your ISA allowance? Keep investing with our general investment account.
Enjoy your retirement knowing your pension money could help build a better world for generations to come.
Learn more about savings and investments
Not sure if you should save or invest? Our educational articles and videos will help you learn more.
Top up your knowledge
Keen to open your first savings account, understand investment risk or learn all about ISAs and ethical funds? Our saving and investment articles can help beginners and keen investors understand how to manage their money.
Frequently asked questions
Do responsible investments have a lower return on investment?
What’s the difference between ethical investing and ESG investing?
Feel free to give us a call
Monday to Friday: 8:00am - 5:30pm
Telephone calls may be monitored and will be recorded and saved for at least five years. Calls to 0800 numbers from UK landlines and mobiles are free. Our opening hours may be different depending on which team you need to speak to.
We recommend you regularly review your fund choices, to ensure your needs are being met.
Nothing on this site is personalised advice or a recommendation. If you need a personalised recommendation based on your personal circumstances, you should seek financial advice. If you don't have an adviser you could find one at www.unbiased.co.uk.
For important information on the service we will be providing you with, read key facts about our services and costs.
Platform provider, ISA Manager and Investment Account Manager: Aviva Wrap UK Limited. Registered in England No. 4470008. Aviva, Wellington Row, York, YO90 1WR. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 231530.
Pension product provided by: Aviva Pension Trustees UK Limited. Registered in England No. 2407799. Aviva, Wellington Row, York, YO90 1WR. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 465132.