Economy & Markets

The heightened interest in these investments from millennials is tied to their belief that they can make a positive difference

By James Langton |

 

Retail investors, particularly millennials, are driving growth in sustainable investing, according to the latest edition of an investor survey by the Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing.

Specifically, the survey finds that 75% of active retail investors and 86% of millennial investors, say that they're "interested in" sustainable investing. Furthermore, it finds that 38% of millennials describe themselves as "very interested," up from 28% when the survey was first carried out in 2015.

The heightened interest from millennials is likely tied to their "strong belief that they can make a positive difference with their own investments," the firm says.

For instance, the survey also found that 84% of millennials believe that it is possible for their investments to "create economic growth that lifts people out of poverty," compared with 79% of investors overall. In addition, 75% of millennials believe that their investment decisions can impact climate change vs 58% of investors generally.

The survey also finds that investor attention to sustainability is now growing faster than consumer concern with sustainability as 71% of investors say that good environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices can potentially lead to higher profitability.

Yet, at the same time, the survey also found a persistent skepticism around sustainable investing among some investors. In particular, it notes that 53% still believe that responsible investing requires making a financial trade-off and that this belief is higher among millennials as well (59%).

Finally, the survey also found that women are still more open to sustainable investing than men, but that gap is closing.

The results are based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. investors carried out in February.

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