Swedish men and women invest differently in sustainability

Men and women are investing for different reasons in portfolios that adhere to sustainability objectives, according to research published by the Swedish Investment Fund Association.

These differences also lead to different levels of engagement when it comes to selecting funds, the research by TNS Sifo Prospera on behalf of the Association shows.

Overall, some 23% of Swedes are invested in funds selected for their sustainability critiera. But more women (26%) than men (20%) have selected funds on that basis.

Overall, however, there is a trend towards investing in sustainability. When asked to rank sustainability as a factor, those surveyed averaged 4.1 on a scale of 1-5. This is up from an average of 3.9 when the question was put two years ago.

Do you own any funds that you have selected because they have a sustainability focus? (%)
Total Women Men
Yes 23 26 20
No 65 61 70
Don’t know 12 13 10

Of those who have selected funds on the basis of sustainability criteria, some 48% said the main reason for doing so is the belief that it can have a positive impact on the environment, working conditions and human rights.

Some 29% do not want to invest in “unethical” companies and 12% believe that it will result in better returns.

Again, however, the results point to some key differences between men and women in their selection approach. More men than women seek sustainability because of the belief it will result in better returns, but women are significantly more likely to seek sustainability because of the impact on the environment, working conditions, human rights and so on.

What is the main reason for selecting a sustainable fund? (%)
Total Women Men
Believe it will result in higher returns 12 12 13
Believe my investments will have a positive impact on the environment, working conditions, human rights, etc 48 50 44
Do not want to invest in “unethical” companies 29 30 27
Other 7 6 8
Don’t know 5 2 8

The Swedish Investment Fund Association has been working with database provider Morningstar to include sustainability ratings on funds that are available through its Fondkollen service, which allows retail investors in Sweden access to information about funds both for personal savings, but also information about funds available through the Premium Pension platform that is operated by the Swedish Pensions Agency as part of the country’s long term savings regime.


Jonathan Boyd
Editorial Director of Open Door Media Publishing Ltd, and Editor of InvestmentEurope.
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