Here I am in Bangor, in South Wales to help my daughter settle into her college. A sense of excitement is in the air. My daughter is excited, our family is excited for a new chapter in her life, and every student here seem to be bristling with excitement. It is so fresh, pure and refreshing. There is so much hope and expectancy amongst all in this charming, friendly, warm University town.
Hope is what makes the world go around. Especially hope in the hearts of the next generation. Thank God for that, as I have more belief in the new Millennial generation, than I do with my generation! As if to support my belief, a new investor survey conducted by financial services company Morgan Stanley has revealed how the new Millennial generation, some of who are around me in this University town, are showing hope in their future and are tending towards investments that have sustainability in its core.
This is detailed in the second edition of the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing Investor Survey, Sustainable Signals. It surveyed 1,000 individual active investors and examined the attitudes, perceptions, and behaviours of individual investors towards sustainable investing. The first edition of Sustainable Signals was published in 2015, at which point 71% of those polled and 84% of Millennials were interested — seemingly a small increase. What’s interesting from the 2017 Sustainable Signals survey is that Millennials who were very interested increased from 28% in 2015 up to 38% in 2017 — an increase that is a statistically significant change.
“As widespread attention to sustainability continues to increase, consumers and investors alike are now more than ever factoring sustainability issues into their investment decisions,” said Audrey Choi, Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Morgan Stanley.
The new math of sustainability investing is not about just doing good, and not about just profitability – it is about doing good and long term profitability. Climate change is forcing legacy companies to deal with how existential questions such as automation and the global supply chain are reorganising entire industries. The growing field of research is finding that in the long run, corporate financial performance is tied to a wide array of factors – environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors – that fly under the radar of the tools investors have grown accustomed to using.
The report further highlights the fact that Millennial investors are twice as likely as the overall pool of investors surveyed to invest in companies or funds that specifically target social or environmental outcomes. The increase in Millennial investor interest in sustainability is at least partly responsible for the spike detected in US sustainable, responsible, and impact investing between 2014, which grew at a rate of more than 33%, increasing from $6.57 trillion up to $8.72 trillion. The report also identified that influence and impact are key aspects to the interest in creating sustainable investments. 75% of respondents believe that it is possible for their investment decisions to influence the amount of climate change that is caused by human activities, compared with only 58% of the larger group of investors surveyed. Similarly, 84% of Millennials believe that it is possible for their investment decisions to create economic growth that lifts people out of poverty, compared with a healthier 79% of the total investors surveyed.
As my wife and I leave Bangor, and my daughter walks away into her future, my heart is heavy with trepidation for her. But what lifts my spirit is her sense of hope, and the sense of responsibility for the future of the planet, that these youngsters are showing with their attitude towards something as serious as investments. They are truly putting their money where their heart is, and their heart is bang on in the right place. The investment attitude of the Millennials is the silver lining in the otherwise dark storm clouds of global warming, and increasing extreme climate events. Mother Earth sends you Millennials her blessings and Love!