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? (%)
Don’t know121310

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? (%)
Believe it will result in higher returns121213
Believe my investments will have a positive impact on the environment, working conditions, human rights, etc485044
Do not want to invest in “unethical” companies293027
Don’t know528

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. Jonathan has over two decades of media experience in Japan, Australia, Canada and the UK. Over the past 17 years he has been based in London writing about funds and investments. From editing the newsletter of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Japan in the 1990s he now focuses on Nordic markets for InvestmentEurope. Jonathan was awarded Editor of the Year at the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Independent Publisher Awards 2017. Shortlisted for the same in 2016, he was also shortlisted in 2017 and 2015 for the broader PPA Awards category Editor of the Year (Business Media).

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