Research published ahead of National ­Ethical Investment Week (NEIW), which kicks off tomorrow, reveals that just 22% of Scottish investors are aware of how ethical their investments are.

And the research, from ethical bank Triodos, suggests that as many as 1.2 million investors north of the Border are potentially holding assets that do not meet their ethical expectations.

As consumers, we demonstrate our ethical perspectives in myriad ways. We can choose to buy Fairtrade coffee or chocolate in the supermarkets, or buy produce from local sources to minimise our carbon footprint. We can also recycle just about every material used in the household, thanks to the range of coloured bins on our doorsteps. But when it comes to ethical investing, it seems our behaviour is not quite so progressive.

Data from the Investment Management Association values the amount of ethical funds under management at £8.6 billion at the end of August, putting its share of total funds under management at 1.2% - the same as last year.

Yet a survey from the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, the organiser of NEIW, found that almost two-thirds (65%) of British investors would like to be offered a sustainable and ethical option when choosing investments. And with millions due to be automatically enrolled into workplace pensions in the next few years, two-thirds (66%) said they would like to be able to select a sustainable or ethical pension product.

Raj Singh, programme director for NEIW - now in its sixth year - said there is a "plethora of investment options", from ISAs and retail investment products to banking services that do offer transparency to the investor. But he believes more has to be done to raise awareness of their availability.

He said: "What we are trying to achieve this year is to make the everyday consumer see himself as someone who does invest, primarily through their pension funds.

"It is a very exciting time and we are looking forward to making the general population more aware of their potential participation and ability to influence financial industries as everyday investors."

Jason Hollands of adviser ­Bestinvest said: "Ethical investment is like Marmite - people seem to either love the idea or loathe it - and all too often discussion of the subject seems to revolve solely around the question as to whether investing ethically will result in lower returns.

"However, that misses the point. Some investors have a sincerely held desire not to have their money invested in tobacco or those companies which test their products on animals, irrespective of the returns those areas may offer. Ethical investing exists to provide these savers with a choice."

Asked to specify activities that would cause them not to invest in a company, pension or fund, almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents to the Triodos survey cited human rights abuses. Some 59% highlighted pornography as a business activity that would lead them to divert their money elsewhere, followed by arms at 48%, animal testing at 39%, tobacco at 21% and nuclear energy at 17%.

Other activities cited included genetically modified foods (13%), alcohol (11%), fracking (9%), and fossil fuels, oil or tar sands (5%).

Huw Davies, head of personal banking at Triodos Bank, said: "Many of us will have a pension or some stock market investment and not realise that a proportion of our portfolio may be invested in those sectors we find personally distasteful. It's down to us to look underneath the bonnet of our investments to ensure we are happy with how they are invested."