What is driving investor interest in Ethical Investing (Part 1)?

When Sir David Attenborough’s series Blue Planet II was aired in October 2017, it was something of a call to arms to the world’s population.

But Sir David did not need to urge people to help clean up beaches, stop using plastic bags and dispose of their waste, for the images and intrepid filming did that for him.

Watching sea life having to navigate oceans filled with floating plastic bottles and debris, and sometimes being killed by them, plucked at most people’s consciences.

There was an urgency to the series as it showed how quickly ecosystems, such as coral reefs, are being destroyed by a very slight but crucial change in sea temperatures.

For many advisers’ clients, it may have made them think more carefully about where and how their money is invested.

The universe of sustainable investment funds in Europe continued to grow in the first half of 2018, making it easier than ever to invest for sustainability and impact.

“Consumers are moving to more sustainable products and services in every industry – and investments are no exception.

“A growing number of retail investors are looking to make a social and environmental impact,” she says.

What has changed recently?  The BBC’s Blue Planet II series has been in many people’s views a watershed moment and it brought the direct effects of our lifestyle choices into sharp focus.

Counterintuitively perhaps, Donald Trump may also be a factor.  His views on the environment and climate change, in particular, are so at odds with most peoples’ opinions that he has forced many people off the fence, and to confront the reality that if we do nothing, things will get worse.

Many people have started to think more about how they spend their money and the products they buy – how are they sourced and or produced? Is it bad for the environment? Is there a social cost?

This has, in turn, led them to question where their money is invested and look to align their investment choices with their lifestyle choices.

The investment industry has also been working hard to bust some of the myths about sustainable and ESG investing which many believe has prevented these types of funds from entering the mainstream in the past. One of these is the belief that investors would have to sacrifice returns if they wanted to invest with an ethical conscience.

In fact some believe that there’s increasing evidence that investing ethically does not have a negative impact on performance, indeed, it might even contribute positively to it.


Look out for Part 2 in the next few days…