The survey of over 500 people with investments found that over half of them (55%) said that the pandemic had had an impact on their likelihood to take ESG factors into consideration when deciding where to invest their money. Amongst those who said they already consider ESG, 81% said the pandemic made this even more important.
"This new awareness of the importance of ESG has been borne out by customers' investing behaviour on Aviva's Direct platform. The value of new investments in ESG funds in the six months since March has more than doubled compared with the preceding six month period. Investing in other types of funds, meanwhile, has remained steady," Aviva explained.
The research also indicates that investing on ESG grounds is new for many investors. Of those who already consider these factors, only a third (32%) have been doing this for over a year. By contrast, nearly half (49%) have only started within the last 6 months - coinciding almost perfectly with the shock of lockdown in March.
The survey found that it is still the more traditional environmental factors that drive investors to seek these types of investments - the 'E' factor - namely, those that relate to pollution (67% say this is an important factor) and climate change (58%), waste and recycling (64%) and promoting animal welfare (58%).
Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva, said:
"Lockdown may have stopped many things, but what it appears to have kick-started is an interest in using money as a force for good. ESG is growing, fast. Aviva's research suggests that many investors are just at the beginning of this exciting journey. Education and information will be key. At Aviva, we've acted on this insight to enhance our ESG offering, on our website and our investment platforms."