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Wealthy investors to put €1tn into sustainability

When not out hunting foxes and peasants, rich people are increasingly looking at sustainability and the environment when deciding where to invest their money.

That’s according to a study by the European Sustainable Investment Forum (Eurosif) into ‘high net worth individuals’ (that’ll be filthy stinking rich people to you and me) and sustainable investment.

The study, sponsored by Bank Sarasin and KPMG claims to highlight a fast-growing segment where wealthy investors want to make lots of money but still feel all fuzzy and warm about the environment and sustainability issues.

There are some stats that back up the trend. Eurosif estimates that sustainable investments currently represent about eight per cent of European high net worth individuals’ portfolios but predicts that will rise to 12 per cent by 2012, passing €1 trillion. Which is a lot of money.

It’s also interesting to look at which environmental issues these rich investors are putting their money behind, with clean energy and water being most popular.

Almost three-quarters of respondents to the study said they are seeing an increase in interest for sustainable investment in the last year among rich investors and 87 per cent said they think this will continue to grow over the next three years.

Andreas Knörzer, MD of the Sustainable Investment business unit at Bank Sarasin, says:

“The results of the study clearly show that wealthy investors are at the heart of sustainable investment. Eurosif’s research in this area clears up the distorted picture that large private capital owners are responsible for most ecological and social problems today. Investment strategies of High Net Worth Individuals are not part of the problem, but creating paths towards the solution.”

Tom Brown, European Head of Investment Management at KPMG added:

“Ultimately, the international High Net Worth market is likely to provide a significant source of private sector capital to complement public sector funding of sustainability focused industries, products, services and business practices. Its potential relevance to financial institutions, governments, and regulators as a source for sustainable business growth and a contributor to global emission reduction strategies is clear.”

The full report is available here.

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