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Understanding consumer preferences and behaviours

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership’s Investment Leadership Group (ILG) is supporting an innovative research project on investment choice. The research will provide investors with a greater understanding of how the investing public reacts to environmental and social impact data in their decision-making.


The Virtual Investment Experiment (VIE)

Sutainable Development Goals

The study involves a Virtual Investment Experiment (VIE) designed to simulate real investment choices of pension plan beneficiaries and retail clients.

This is an innovative experimental study that fills a large research gap; all other such studies to date have been based on self-reported investment intentions, not how people behave when they are actually investing with their own money.

The long-term vision of this work is to enable a shift in investment choice, wherein social and environmental impact is transparent to investment beneficiaries in the same way that it is apparent to food and energy consumers today.

The research is being undertaken in cooperation with Cambridge academics from the University’s Psychometrics Centre and the Department of Psychology.

The research questions are as follows:

  • Does the investing public change their decisions if provided with information on the social and environmental impact of funds?
  • Which of the impact themes are of most interest to the investing public? 


Further details

The research is anticipated to be completed by mid-2019, with publication and wide dissemination to follow.

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Investment Leaders Group members. Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

 *HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Scheme


Faty Dembele letterbox

Faty Dembele, Senior Programme Manager, Investment Leaders Initiative