Eight in 10 charities believe they have a responsibility to consider climate change, finds poll

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12th October 2021 14:13 - Voluntary

Eight in 10 charities believe they have a responsibility to consider climate change: A survey of charities has found that 82% believe that it is their duty to think about climate change specifically. This figure has increased by 18% over the course of two years, suggesting it is becoming more of an important issue for charitable organisations.

In 2021, 85% of survey participants said that their organisation sees environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment factors as either 'very' or 'quite' important in the management of their portfolio - a considerable rise since 2015 when it was 61%.

Climate change has also been an area in which charities are seeing a shift from engagement to divestment. In 2021 the number of charities seeing engagement as the best approach is 54%, while in 2019 it was 70%. The percentage that sees divestment as the best approach has increased to 35% from 24% in 2019.

The research also revealed that following a period of disruption due to Covid-19, charities are feeling much more optimistic about the future and more positive about their medium and long-term investments.

The survey by Newton Investment Management polled 82 UK charities with combined assets of £8.8billion, finding that in 2021 many have seen their investments bounce back (last year's survey recorded low investment returns). The new data reveals the most significant gain in portfolio value since 2017, from 5% in 2020 to 11% in 2021. More than half the charities polled said they had seen gains of 9% or higher in 2021 - which is a 35% increase on 2020.

Commenting on the findings, Alan Goodwin, head of investment relationship management at Newton Investment Management said: 

“Following the unprecedented impact of the pandemic on UK charities in 2020, this year has been a story of resilience and recovery. The impact of the pandemic drastically reduced compared to last year, and the vast majority of charities remained steadfast in their investment strategies, with an increased lens on their obligations to invest responsibly.”


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