Contrary to conventional wisdom, women and millennials are not more interested in sustainable investing than men and baby boomers, and a supermajority of the U.S. population has at least a moderate interest in such investments.
These are the key findings of a new report from Morningstar, released on Earth Day, which turns 50 years old next year.
“It’s time to update the narrative that ESG is not mainstream,” according to the report, written by Senior Behavioral Scientist Ray Sin, Head of Decision Sciences Ryan Murphy and Behavioral Researcher Samantha Lamas. “Our research finds that most investors, across ages and genders, have clear preferences for ESG investment products.”
Using a new tool called My Sustainability Profile, the researchers found that 72% of a representative sample of 948 people expressed at least a moderate interest in sustainable investments.
After controlling for income, age, political ideology, religiosity, risk tolerance and other sociodemographic variables, they found little difference between the views of men and women concerning sustainable investments so long as they were not primarily concerned with returns. There was a slight gender divide regarding sustainable investments among respondents most motivated by returns because more men than women fell into that category.
The Morningstar study divided respondents into five categories concerning sustainability preferences: low interest (returns-driven), medium to low interest (returns-minded), medium interest (balanced), medium to high interest (sustainability-minded) and high interest (sustainability-driven), and weighted those scores by gender and by generation (millennials, Generation X and boomers).