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The Future of Sustainable Investments for Gen Z

SGAnalytics_Blog_The Future of Sustainable Investments for Gen Z
Published on Dec 27, 2022

The most successful companies are those that anticipate and adapt quickly to changing market conditions. When should you start marketing to investors of the future? 

Gen Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, are quickly becoming a major voting bloc, and it has been shown time and time again that impact and sustainability are major factors in their investment decisions. In the United States, members of Generation Z make up approximately 21% of the population. However, on a global scale, this demographic makes up 26% of the population, which is equivalent to approximately 2 billion (Nasdaq) people.  

The members of Generation Z are more likely to show a preference for and be prepared to spend more money on environmentally friendly brands. This outlook is reflected in the way they choose to invest. Almost all Millennials and Gen Zers consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations while making financial decisions. 

Gen Z is always on TikTok, Millennials can't get enough avocados, and some Baby Boomers haven't left Facebook yet, to name a few misconceptions. This may not always be the case, but one thing is certain: people of different ages have distinct points of view when it comes to sustainable finance. Gen Z investments can help the world as we are moving towards the future.  

Sustainable investing, a catch-all word for investment strategies that prioritize environmental, social, and economic well-being, is gaining popularity among investors of all ages. Let's examine the extent to which the disparities in investment approaches among the generations contribute to the lack of progress towards a sustainable financial future. 

SGAnalytics_Blog_The Future of Sustainable Investments

Who are Millennials and Gen Zers? 

While they are often discussed, it is not always clear who exactly constitutes the new generations. 

The millennial generation, defined as those born between 1981 and 1995, now accounts for the bulk of the working age population. They are noted for their computer savvy and their desire for rapid gratification, a well-balanced existence, exciting events, and group work. 

Gen Zers, who are generally considered to be people born between 1996 and 2010, are known for their open-mindedness, creativity, pragmatism, and proficiency with modern technologies. 

Our findings disprove the stereotype that members of these generations are all about themselves. The younger generation is more likely to engage in environmentally responsible practices, such as reducing their meat consumption, learning more about concerns like ocean garbage and deforestation, and prioritizing the purchase of organic and free-range options. 

The question is whether or not this has any bearing on and whether or not young people will engage in ethical investing in light of the positive implications of all this. 

Yes, obviously! 

What is Sustainable Investing?  

Let's go deeper into the meaning of “sustainable investing” now. 

There are many methods available to investors for creating and diversifying portfolios that will increase the likelihood of a positive return on investment. Sustainable investing is a not-so-new concept that is altering the way corporations and individuals view financial investments. 


Investing in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible has changed the world for the better. It has also been demonstrated that people and organizations can gain financially by investing in more sustainable practices. Leaders and businesses with a higher purpose can succeed in their efforts to address global problems if they adopt and implement sustainable practices. Gen Z investments will play a vital role if they invest sustainably.  

Importantly, several studies have demonstrated that impact investors can achieve returns that are on par with or even above the market rate. Additionally, impact investing is significant because it serves as a link between charity (funds donated without the expectation of a financial return) and conventional investing (money invested with little thought for the impact these companies have on the world).  

Importance of Sustainable Investing 

Making investments that benefit the environment and the world at large is crucial. In order to create a more sustainable future, investors might put their money to work in ways that benefit society. 

Clearly, climate change has social and economic impacts, as well as the magnitude of these challenges. Governments and businesses will need to make significant changes to their practices in order to address these challenges effectively, and investors can shape these reforms. Any investor, from the greatest asset management to the tiniest individual, has the option to back up environmentally responsible businesses. 

Investing in a sustainable manner means considering more than just the bottom line. More and more people aren't picking assets exclusively on their potential for profit. They seek long-term options that are in line with their beliefs, which benefit the causes they care about and pose no threat to future generations. Sustainable investing is expanding in response to this fundamental shift in investor demand. Investors now have more options than ever before in terms of the positive influence they may make because of the wide variety of products available to them.  

Methods with a Focus on the Future. Complicated issues, such as child labour and low pay, may require investors to work together through partnerships and initiatives. These problems won't go away tomorrow, and only a concerted effort from the industry's biggest names will help turn the tide. In the long run, investors' combined clout can prove to be the deciding factor in bringing about a sea change. In order to make progress towards a better future, it is crucial to employ sustainable investing practices. 

SGAnalytics_Blog_Sustainable Investments

Investment Potential in Sustainable Investing in the Future 

How may we envision sustainable investing developing if we create the world we hope for? 

In a positive development, sustainable investments have increased by over 17% per year on average over the past four years. Fortunately, the number of people interested in sustainable investments is growing at the same time as Millennials now have enough disposable income to start investing, and the first members of Generation Z are joining the labour force. 

In comparison, Millennials have a combined purchasing power of CHF 1.4 trillion, and they are likely to inherit over CHF 30 trillion in assets from their Baby Boomer parents. This is the largest transfer of wealth in human history, and its good effects, if invested in environmentally responsible businesses, will reverberate throughout society. 

Generation Z and the Future of ESG: An Uncertain Future? 

Climate change (Exploding Topics) is the main fear of Gen Z. While it's undeniable that members of Generation Z care deeply about environmental impact and sustainability, it's possible that they're growing disillusioned with ESG as a framework for improvement in these areas. 

Does Generation Z approve of the results thus far from the ESG strategy followed by the management of the generations of the Baby Boom and the Millennials? And if not, can we anticipate that they will continue with the same tactics going forwards? As the FA points out, "more than a third of all assets under management are now in socially responsible or ESG funds, yet global emissions continue to climb." 

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Will the SEC's push for greater transparency and regulation of ESG disclosure be enough to win over the skeptical minds of millennials and get Generation Z on board with ESG as a shorthand for responsible business practices? 

Why are Environmentally responsible Investments a top priority for Generation Z? 

Gen Z is defined by its climate consciousness (28% of Gen Zers name climate change as a top concern) and its optimistic outlook on personal impact (72% of Gen Zers expressed hope that responsible investing could improve sustainability results). 

Compared to their parents, members of Generation Z place higher importance on things like value, careful money management, and an aversion to debt, as seen by recent studies. As such, why do members of Generation Z appear to place such a premium on environmental, social, and governance considerations when making financial investments? 

A person's upbringing in a culture undoubtedly influences who they become. As a generation, they have prioritized issues of environmental and social justice. For instance, 72% of millennials, the generation with the most members of different racial and ethnic groups, think that racial equality is the most essential topic for businesses and governments to address right now. 

Additionally, Gen Z has higher expectations of the businesses they support, presenting a greater need for openness and responsibility (whether this is through investment or simply day-to-day personal spending.) This is not limited to the specific brand in question but rather applies to the entire supply chain. 

Furthermore, and perhaps most significantly, the youth of today have the most to lose from a failing society and a dying planet. They will witness the non-monetary results of today's investments for the rest of their lives. 


The Sustainability Superheroes of the Future: Millennials and Gen Z 

Young investors like those in the millennial and Gen Z may have a significant impact on the development of sustainable finance in the years to come. They use social media to spread their message and are more likely to make a statement on controversial topics like climate change, according to studies. 1 Nearly half of all adults (18–49) now report being "constantly online," increasing their familiarity with important social, political, and economic concerns. 

Younger generations like Gen Z and millennials are more interested than previous generations in having their money go towards meaningful causes. One example of a cause that is very important to millennials and the next generation is the promotion of renewable energy. They support causes such as diversity in leadership positions and racial equality. Also, while only 11% of baby boomers are aware of sustainable investing, 57% of millennials are, and 36% are curious about adding it to their portfolios. 

So, what potential implications does this have for the future of sustainable investing? The eldest members of the millennial generation are now entering their prime earning years, and this group makes up more than half of the total population of the United States. In other words, ESG investing will almost certainly continue to play a significant role in portfolio decisions. 

Sustainable Branding: How to Attract Gen Z 

With the next generation poised to make their mark, it's time to look into methods for winning over their support. 

For these native digital users, the internet came first. 

Due to their upbringing in a digital environment, members of Generation Z require a streamlined process in order to show investment interest. In order to meet their needs, reporting must be user-friendly, interactive, and presented in a way that is consistent with their preferences. One-third (Exploding Topics) of social media influencers are Gen Z. 


Complete openness about everything 

Assume that Generation Z has questions, but do your utmost to prevent them from being asked! Aim for complete openness in all areas of your organization relating to ESG objectives; customers are growing more discerning, and potential investors will want to know that there are no sustainable secrets hiding in the closets. 

Analyze the entire supply chain 

Evaluate your supply chain as a whole. If you insist that your partners meet the same high standards as your company, you'll have more evidence to back up your sustainability claims if they're ever questioned. 

ESG Reporting that is Transparent and Trustworthy 

Don't just make anything up while writing news articles. To guarantee accurate tracking and reporting of your ESG performance, team up with a trustworthy, specialized platform like KindLink. Our ESG reporting platform gives you complete freedom to track any and all impact-related data. 

Complete range of attention 

Don't simply check off "E," "S," and "G" when it comes to ecological movements. Sustainable practices are important to the millennial generation, but so is doing good in the world, so striking a good balance between the two will keep you in their good graces and make you a more appealing investment. 

The Bottom Line 

Are you curious about what the future will bring? Even though there is no way to know for sure, the patterns that have emerged in the investment behaviours of millennials and members of Gen Z imply that they will continue to invest in a sustainable manner. 

Even if millennials and Gen Z continue to be at the forefront of ESG investing, there is still a significant amount of room for Gen X and baby boomers to take the counsel of younger generations as they make adjustments to their portfolios. When considering the state of impact investing in the next 25 to 50 years, it is abundantly evident that the Millennial and Generation Z generations represent the sector's future. These two generations will decide whether or not investments become more moral and environmentally responsible or whether or not they just line the coffers of affluent corporate people.  

But what distinguishes these groupings from one another? Why does Gen Z care about sustainable investing? And how exactly might it assist these new generations in making a positive change in the future? It all begins with trust, open communication, and mutual regard for one another. 

SGAnalytics_Blog_Sustainable opportunities for Gen Z

Ensure That You Are Well-Prepped For The Future Of Sustainable Investments. When it comes to environmentally conscious spending, Gen Z represents a massive opportunity for businesses; nevertheless, it is essential for companies to keep in mind that this opportunity comes hand in hand with an increase in scrutiny and higher standards of performance. When it comes to ESG, Generation Z is going to be more demanding and picky than any other generation that has come before them. As a consequence of this, you will have to convince them that your approach to ESG is genuine and that it is intended to produce a discernible improvement in order to win their support.

Read More - How Businesses Can Improve Their Sustainability Performance With ESG 

Building a Greener and Sustainable Future    

Before 2023, accountability was seen as pleasant, but that's starting to change. The epidemic refocused attention on sustainability and clean energy. Sustainability, which was previously an overarching issue, is now a key focus for every company. This presents a unique chance for businesses to evaluate their current state and consider how they could reduce their carbon footprint in the near and far future.  

There is an increasing effort by companies of all kinds to combat the effects of climate change. They no longer include it in the brand's mission statement, but it has become a unifying notion that drives them to carry out essential tasks.  

Companies are developing brand-new, long-term plans. They are stepping up their efforts to lessen their environmental impact by using cutting-edge machinery. This allows them to protect their workers' interests while maintaining open communication. By 2023, brands that need to put sustainability first will have already lost the race.  

SG Analytics, a leader in Research and Analytics, provides bespoke solutions to businesses throughout the world from its offices in New York, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Toronto, London, Zurich, Pune, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad.  

SG Analytics is an industry leader in ESG services, providing custom sustainability advice and research to aid in deliberation. If you are looking for an effective ESG integration and management solution provider to improve your company's long-term viability, get in touch with us today.