We are investment managers.
Be it through funds or model portfolios, our function is simple – to select the investment vehicles that we believe are best placed to generate a return for our clients.
However, as our surroundings evolve, then so must we. A new generation of investor is emerging, one that is conscious of the planet, the climate and of the socio-economic backdrop underpinning many of the challenges that we face today.
A return on investment isn’t enough anymore. These investors will want to know that their money is also being used for good.
But these goals are hardly incompatible, and we shouldn’t be ashamed of taking profits from our ethical investments. Problems require solutions, solutions require innovation and innovation requires capital.
Among the many challenges being faced by our planet, perhaps none has found greater spotlight in recent times than that of our oceans.
One of mankind’s greatest resources, our seas provide food, play a key role in climate management and through fostering phytoplankton (minute plant-like organisms) are accountable for at least 50% of the oxygen on Earth.
That we dump circa 8 million tonnes of plastic into them every year is a near unimaginable act of self-harm.
Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet 2’ series has been widely heralded as an inflection point in the war on plastics, with online search behavioural specialist Hitwise noting a 55% increase in searches for ‘plastic recycling’ in the programme’s immediate aftermath.
The impetus for behavioural change was clear, with the public taking a dim view on unnecessary plastic use within supermarkets and coffee shops, whilst businesses came under increasing pressure from investors to address the issue at corporate level.
In 2019, mega-corporations such as McDonalds, Starbucks, Nestlé and Unilever (to name but a few) all released statements pledging reform on their plastic use.
As a result, the innovation of non-plastics based solutions has graduated from a nice-to-have to a necessity. With big business now leading the demand, the need for modernising waste disposal, reusable coffee cups and reverse vending machines has exploded, and companies at the forefront of these advancements will be standing in good stead to reap the rewards.
Across our range of SRI and Ethical model portfolios, as well as within our Multi Asset funds, we hold several ‘water-positive’ investments.
This is clearly more than an altruistic position.
There’s a firm investment case for supporting companies able to capitalise on the demands of the modern consumer, meeting the needs of the corporates and the environment alike.
This, to us, represents something of a best case scenario. Doing right by our clients, not just through return on investment, but through investing in our planet, and indeed our collective futures.