Fifty shades of green: the world of sustainable investment

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“Socially responsible investing has been a real success story”

If investing in a sustainable way was once the philanthropic preserve of the super wealthy, it sure isn’t now. Ordinary people weighing up where to put their personal life savings can choose to do so in a way that will have a positive impact on the world they live in and will eventually bequeath to future generations. Where once they might have been put off by the higher cost and risk associated with environmentally-ethical investments, they can now be free of such considerations when going ‘green’, making it a much easier decision.

Socially responsible investing has been a real success story in recent years, with ethical funds assets skyrocketing from around $50 billion in 2005 to more than $220 billion in 2016, according to Bloomberg figures. Millennial investors are the most concerned about the social and environmental impact of their investments and the increasing influence of these demographics is driving more corporate focus on sustainability.

There can, however, be significant barriers which prevent many investors from arriving at this point: inertia, the hectic pace of modern life, even cynicism about the good that investing money in a sustainable company will actually do, or whether its sustainable credentials bear scrutiny. Green investing can be a decidedly grey area, with certain countries keen to clean up their reputations as sustainability soars up the agenda. In 2017, China was the largest emitter of greenhouse gas and the largest investor in renewable energy – nearly half of the world’s new renewable energy investment. Saudi Arabia is reportedly starting up $7 billion of renewable energy projects this year, with solar plants leading the way.

My proposal would be for a sustainable investment project based here at UEA. The University has a very strong behavioural economics department which has access to a wealth of data. And, as students are going to be the generation which will have the most impact on the sustainability over the next 10 or 20 years, such an initiative would present the perfect opportunity to find out what drives and would change their behaviour.

Younger investors are more conscious of sustainability than previous generations. They are used to having to research things online and make comparisons before they spend their money. This is also a generation that has grown up with climate change. But for most of our clients, how they decide whether or not to invest in sustainable investments is similar to how people decide whether to buy sustainable products from the supermarket or just adopt more sustainable behaviour in general, i.e. by considering convenience and cost.

One of the reasons many of us don’t move towards more sustainable investing is we think it will involve hours of research into the available options. What we need to do is make sure that when people come to make investment decisions, the information they need is available up front. This means we have to promote where that information can be obtained and then present it in a way that takes all the hard work away from the investor and makes it easy to understand the benefits, using social media, apps, websites and events, whatever it takes.

As financial advisors, we also need to inject this attitude shift into our client relationships. If they are investing for their children and the future, it is about asking them, ‘What do you want the future to look like?’ and reassuring them there is a tangible benefit and that they can play their part.

Stories about people and things that we enjoyed...

1 October 2019

Fifty shades of green: the world of sustainable investment

Investment Analyst Radostina Dencheva contributed an article on the future of socially responsible investments to the recently launched publication, 'Visions of a Sustainable Future.' (2019). This collection of thought pieces form a multidisciplinary perspective on the key challenges and transformations facing us all in ensuring a sustainable future.

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4 September 2019

Libby Toms: My Month at Chadwicks

We enjoy having young people working with us to gain experience of work in the 'real' world. Some are here for a week, some for longer. Libby spent a month with us over the summer and here are her reflections.

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14 May 2019

Norfolk Knights - modern day champions

Chadwicks is proud to sponsor the Norfolk Knights, a fantastic mixed-gender wheelchair rugby club; sponsoring friendships, rivalry, competition, and accessible sport in Norfolk. There are unfortunately few opportunities to access adult disabled sport in our county, and the positive impact sport can have on a person with any form of disability is transformative.

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27 February 2019

A World of Milk

Content Consultants, are committed to developing a full understanding of their target audience as the first step towards building the perfect solutions for their needs. As such, they conducted focus groups with women to learn more about what was preventing Mexican women from breastfeeding. The women told them that advertisements had convinced them that formula milk is better than their breastmilk. What a topsy turvy world!

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5 December 2018

Ormiston Families MPower Project

During 2018 we've been supporting Ormiston Families' MPower project that supports parents who have had a child taken into care. The Mpower project has made a significant impact on the lives of vulnerable women who are largely forgotten in society. The grief and loss they suffer on top of the other challenges they face in their lives is hard to bear.

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5 November 2018

A hut at night? Shepherd's delight!

For those fond of glamping, the answer can be delivered to your doorstep in the shape of an English Shepherd Hut, and you don’t have to tend a herd of sheep to get one. The huts combine the timeless traditional charm of a historic hut with countless modern innovations to make them both beautiful and functional.

Find out more about A hut at night? Shepherd's delight!