Despite the heightened public and political focus on climate change in the last 12 months, a new survey by Skandia has revealed that sustainability does not rank among the four most commonly cited reasons for choosing funds in the country’s premium pension system.

The Swedish pension provider reported that, according to the results of a poll carried out on its behalf, the top consideration for Swedes when picking funds for their premium pension savings – the defined contribution (DC) part of the state or general pension – is the level of fees charged.

This factor was chosen by 18% of respondents as the main basis for their decision, followed by a fund’s risk level, which was selected by 14.9%. Historical return and tips or advice from a friend or adviser were the third and fourth most-selected main factors – picked by 13.3% and 10.1% of respondents, respectively.

Only 8% of participants in the poll said that whether a fund was environmentally and socially sustainable in its investments was the main factor guiding their decision.

Mattias Munter, pension economist at Skandia, said: “Given that 2019 has been a year that really put climate and sustainability at the centre of things, it is surprising that savers do not put more emphasis on the issue.”

However, the poll did show that those choosing sustainability as the main factor for decisions had risen from 5.3% in 2019.

“We do see an upturn, but it is from low levels and I expected that we would see a clearer impression. At the same time, many savers probably expect that all funds have a basic sustainability focus and that this is not something you should actively look for,” said Munter.

The poll also showed that there had been a decrease in those making no active fund choice for their premium pension savings to 21% in 2020 from 29.2% the year before.

The survey, which Skandia commissioned Swedish market researcher Novus to undertake, was conducted focused on Swedes aged between 18 and 65, who had not yet started drawing a pension, with 1,070 interviews carried out between 14 and 20 January 2020.