Why we invest responsibly

Our role is to deliver good investment outcomes to help our customer build their future financial security.

Global challenges facing society today, like climate change, make our role even more important. So we’re fully embracing responsible investment practices to allow us to manage risks and returns in a more effective way, in the funds we offer to safeguard our customers’ long-term savings.

This means we aim to invest, where we can, in companies that are working hard on things like reducing their impact on the environment and people. And excluding those that are causing severe harm to the planet or society.

By investing in this way, it doesn’t have to mean you’re sacrificing investment growth. Research* shows that companies that are run in a sustainable way also tend to do well in the longer run. They’re typically better positioned to adapt to long-term challenges, such as climate change. And they’re less likely to suffer falls in their value from scandals or fines, or because they have fallen out of favour with their customers or investors.

* ESG and Financial Performance, by NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business and Rockefeller Asset Management.


We’ve set out our Responsible Investment and Stewardship Framework, supported by Stewardship and Exclusions polices. They guide our decisions on how we invest, how we select fund managers, and how we challenge the managers of companies we invest in on behalf of our customers, to improve the way they operate.


Responsible Investment and Stewardship Framework (PDF, 2MB)

What is esg?

It’s important to understand how companies behave in relation to the planet and people, and the way they’re managed. These are known as environmental, social and governance factors – or ESG for short. They are used to inform decisions about the companies we invest in.



Environmental issues have a measurable impact on the world we live in today and in the future. They include climate change, conserving natural resources, fossil fuel extraction, waste management and pollution. They also include activities aimed at helping nations transition to a low-carbon economy such as renewable energy production.



Social issues involve people – from a company’s workforce to its customers and suppliers and the people living and working near its operations. They include things like workers’ rights and equality, diversity, health and safety, working conditions, slavery and child labour. They also concern the wider impact a company may have on communities at home or overseas.



Governance relates to the rules, practices and codes of behaviour that influence how a company is run. It can have a big impact on a business’ ability to succeed and prosper. It involves people issues as well as strategic, financial and risk management issues, such as diversity on boards and executive pay; and financial reporting, anti-fraud, bribery and corruption measures, and data privacy and security.



We’ve carried out research to better understand our customers’ views on responsible investment and their priorities and needs so we’re best able to support them.

ESG - what resonates with pension investors (PDF, 1MB)

Investing responsibly for the future (PDF, 2MB)

Our pilot polls on the Scottish Widows App offer a glimpse into workplace pension savers’ views on ESG issues.

Read our report (PDF, 4MB)

mobile phone showing how Find Your Impact Tool works


Our Find Your Impact tool is available to people whose workplace pension is with Scottish Widows and who have access to the Scottish Widows App. It aims to help people understand how their pension savings impact the world around them.