There are an increasingly large number of wealthy Britons, and they are placing greater emphasis on ethical investments than ever before.

That is according to a new report by market analysts Datamonitor, who investigated the number and attitude of the UK's "high net worth population".

The study reveals that last year the number of Brits with at least £200,000 in liquid assets (i.e. savings accounts, ordinary shares, unit trusts and bonds) grew by around 100,000 people, and that they are increasingly concerned about ethical investments.

"The issues of the environment and 'responsible investing’ are rising up the political and financial agenda and play an increasingly important part in what many private individuals wish to do with their money,"

Datamonitor said. And ethical concerns have moved beyond the 'avoid guns, cigarettes, and firms paying low wages' brief that the sector was once defined by, to include positive investments as well as avoiding negative ones, the Datamonitor report finds. This, coupled with the growth in ethical investment, means these funds now control significant amounts of equity in key firms - making their ability to influence decisions internal to companies greater than ever. Last year more than £10 billion was invested in ethical funds, 18 per cent up on the previous year's figures. And an ethical investment need not sacrifice earnings potential. F&C Asset Management points to data showing money invested ethically can produce returns at least equal to less scrupulous investments.