japanja
Fact or fiction: SI a modern-day millennials hype

Fact or fiction: SI a modern-day millennials hype

26-03-2018 | インサイト

Sustainability investing is often seen as something only pursued by millennials who are jumping on a bandwagon with their trendy friends. It is true that this age group seems to have the biggest interest in SI, but it is certainly not a hype. In fact, interest in sustainability is spread across the generations, and its roots go back centuries.

  • Guido Moret
    Guido
    Moret
    Active Ownership Specialist
  • Masja Zandbergen
    Masja
    Zandbergen
    Head of ESG integration

Speed read

  • All age groups show an interest in sustainability
  • UN initiatives have made it a global issue, not a hype
  • Its roots go back to 18th century anti-slavery campaigns

Stereotypes about people who are seeking a more sustainable world tend to focus on those born since the mid-1980s, since research does show that millennials are more interested in the issue. They are more likely for example to buy organic food, demand Fairtrade coffee and be more concerned about human rights than their parents or grandparents.1

They also grew up in the internet age and have enjoyed greater access to information exposing unsustainable activities, becoming more politicized by it. Research in the US showed that millennials were the “most progressive generation in 50 years” and were making the country more liberal.2

サステナビリティ投資に関する9つの新たな考え方

今すぐダウンロード(英文)

Evenly spread

But when it comes to investing, demand for sustainability is fairly evenly spread across all age groups, according to a 2017 questionnaire by Robeco into the tastes of its Dutch retail investors. Some 70% of people aged over 50 stated a clear interest in sustainability compared to 66% of 34 to 50-year-olds and 67% of 18 to 34-year-olds. While not an exhaustive scientific study, it did reveal that sustainability was as popular among middle-aged and older people than it was among the millennials.

Those who went on to invest in sustainable funds were 28% of the over-50s, 29% of the 34 to 50-year-olds and 26% of the 18 to 34-year-olds – again showing that interest is evenly spread across age brackets, with the middle-aged still slightly in the lead. Meanwhile, the average part of a portfolio invested sustainably was 29% for the over-50s, 30% for 34 to 50-year-olds and 33% for 18 to 34-year-olds – so here, the millennials are slightly in the lead, though not significantly, Robeco’s in-house research showed.

A long history

Sustainability is by no means a modern ‘fad’. Its origins go back to the 18th century church, when Quakers launched the first exclusions by refusing to invest in anything involved with the slave trade. In more recent times it picked up speed with the first equal rights legislation in the 1960s and the environmental campaigns of the 1970s. One of the first major uses of exclusions was seen in the 1970s when companies refused to invest in South Africa due to its apartheid regime.

It reached the global stage in 1987 when the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission) released its report, ‘Our Common Future’, tackling uncontrolled use of natural resources, led at the time by extensive deforestation. The document is most notable for coining the term ‘sustainable development’ that particularly aimed to encourage emerging markets to avoid destroying the environment as they pursued economic growth. In defining what its new phrase meant, Commission chair Gro Harlem Brundtland wrote: “Humanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 3

サステナビリティ投資の真実:“事実”か“虚構”か

ビデオを見る

Triple bottom line

Another famous phrase, known as the ‘triple bottom line’, was coined not by a millennial, but a middle-aged British businessman in 1995. John Elkington said any enterprise needed to consider the three Ps of ‘People, Planet, Profit’ (and not just the final word) as each being equally important for the long-term success of society. This concept was adapted to become environmental, social and governance factors, or ESG, which now forms the bedrock of most sustainability investing processes.4

The ‘sustainability investing’ phrase and theme entered common usage in the following decade, when it first started to be taken seriously by investors. It went through various incarnations including ‘ethical investing’, ‘responsible investing’ and latterly ‘socially responsible investing or SRI’, before ‘sustainability investing’ was widely agreed to be the most appropriate moniker to capture the different investment strategies that take into account ESG factors.

As for a ‘hype’, the true globalization of sustainability achieved perhaps its finest hour with the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP21, in Paris in 2015. It produced the Paris Agreement, which challenged the world to limit global warming to below two degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. It was ratified by 174 countries on 22 April 2016 – now designated by the UN as ‘Earth Day’.

So, while sustainability investing has been a fairly niche concept in the past, we are now clearly at an inflection point, and there is no way back.

1 Produce Retailer, ‘Younger consumers buy more organics’, 2017 
2 The Millennial Pendulum: A new generation of voters and the prospects for a political realignment, 2009.
3 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: ‘Our Common Future’ 
4 John Elkington, ‘Enter the triple bottom line’, 2004

Sustainability Investing
Sustainability Investing

Discover all 9 new ideas on sustainability investing online.

Read more

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会