Money matters. It always has and probably always will. But when it comes to investing, environmental and social impact now matter more.
The times are changing. Because today, contrary to years gone by, building your personal wealth and doing good are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact you can do better when thinking about them together.
Traditionally, decisions concerning where to invest your hard earned money have been based purely on financial return. However, this method doesn’t align with the way most of us think and it isn’t the only criteria by which you can measure success.
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) is a three-pronged model gaining momentum worldwide. These measurable values centred on sustainability and ethics aren’t a new phenomenon, but the rise of the Internet has brought it to the fore. As a result we are now seeing a surge in its popularity among a more ethically minded generation.
Overwhelmingly, 86% of respondents in Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2017 believe that the success of a firm should not be judged purely with regards to financial performance. A survey by Standard Life Investments shows that nearly 70% of 25–34-year-olds were concerned less about financial returns than social and environmental issues when investing.
Importantly, the Deloitte survey also revealed that Millennials consider conglomerates to be just as powerful in shaping the global positive impacts as that of countries, or global institutions (such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund). With the increasingly global reach of corporations, investing in the ones that take their environmental and social responsibilities seriously is a strong lever to shape a more sustainable future. As of course, is disinvesting from those that don’t. There is also mounting evidence that sustainably minded companies actually perform better, meaning you can make money and do good.
Clearly, citizens think organisations big and small are to be held accountable for issues of worldwide concern. Businesses should pay attention not only for the sake of consumer loyalty, but also for the economic benefits. The upshots of preventing land degradation, becoming more energy efficient and producing less waste are reducing costs and increasing profits. Furthermore, according to one UCLA study, employees of companies that implement environmentally friendly practices are 16% more productive than the average worker, adding another benefit to the bottom line.
Considering the complete picture, by adding sustainability considerations, is proving to have an upside for all: the planet and the corporations that exist within it. Which is good news, at a time when we could really use some.