When it comes to environmental issues, most activists are focused on protecting the planet through federal legislation. However, many are losing ground in that arena due to the government’s recent rollbacks on climate change policies. But here’s the good news: where the public sector has failed, the private sector is picking up the slack.
Newly released reports show that investments in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives are on the rise. In fact, the upward trend has become so pronounced that the Stanford Social Innovation Review has dubbed ESG investments “some of the fastest-growing strategies in asset management.”
Just last week, KKR, one of the largest investment firms in the world, released their 2016 Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG), and Citizenship Update. In it, the company announced the launch of an Eco-Innovation Award for portfolio companies that are taking a proactive approach on climate change.
“In 2016—a year of volatility and complexity—we remained focused on our investment model, dedicated to our one-firm culture, and committed to responsibly managing ESG issues in our investment decisions,” Henry Kravis and George Roberts, Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs of KKR, said in a joint statement. “Our understanding of today’s ever-changing world, coupled with our commitment to be a responsible investor, provides us with a differentiated view – one that we believe will help us and our partners achieve continued success during the next 40 years and beyond.”
A 2016 report from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance paints an even broader view of the ESG investment trends. The latest figures show that 26% of the world’s professionally managed assets now focus on sustainable investing. In terms of monetary value, that equates to roughly $23 trillion.
If these numbers prove anything, it’s that responsible investing can be just as profitable (if not more) than traditional investment strategies. In fact, the demand for eco-friendly products and services is likely to increase as times goes on, making for an even more lucrative market.