We Americans are fond of putting specific age cohorts in neatly assembled descriptors -- the Silent Generation; the Greatest Generation; the Baby Boom Generation; Gen X and Gen Y.
Now in focus: The Millennial Generation, fast approaching the vaunted celebrity status of the post-WW II Baby Boom Generation. You'll recall The Boomers were born in years 1946 to 1964 and were some 77 million American women and men in total. For many years this population cohort dominated trends in education, business, popular culture, entertainment, politics, investing, and other societal activities.
Now we have a new dominant force coming to leadership in those categories. The Millennials are considered to be the last generation of the 20th Century, those born between 1982 and 2004 -- estimated at 76 million people, according to demographic experts Howe and Strauss. (Time magazine puts the dates as 1980-2000; The New York Times, 1976-1990. Whatever the exact years, this is the generation that will dominate at least the first half of the 21st Century.)
Even now, the Millennials are said to be outnumbering the number of Boomers in the workforce of 2017 -- they are wielding tremendous influence on "work in America."
What about their investing and wealth building activities? The Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing has some guidance for us in the findings of their recent look at 1,000 individual active investors -- the Institute's MS Sustainable Signals survey.
Highlights: 75% of all those surveyed and 86% of the Millennial investors surveyed think of themselves as interested in sustainable investing. The first MS Institute survey was in 2015; the findings were similar to the 2017 attitudes. But, the 2017 survey found a significant increase in those Millennials responding as "Very Interested", which rose from a level of 28% two years ago to 38% in the recent survey round.
This, the Morgan Stanley Institute surmises is at least partly responsible for the spike: in the U.S., sustainable, responsible & impact investing between 2014 (established by US SIF survey at US$6.57 trillion in AUM) grew to $8.27 trillion in 2016 -- a dramatic, 33% growth rate.
Audrey Choi, Chief Sustainability Officer and Chief Marketing Officer at Morgan Stanley says: "As widespread attention to sustainability continues to increase, consumers and investors alike are now more than ever factoring sustainability issues into their investment decisions."
Note that Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing "...works to drive scalable investment solutions that seek to deliver positive social or environmental impact alongside the market-rate returns clients expect..."
There's a link in our Top Story to the 93-page report.
To think about: In a commentary on TechTarget "WhatIs.com", the author said: "Millennials are concerned about social justice and will not support institutions that they see in conflict with social and economic equality. As such, Millennials are exerting their influence on the world around them..."
Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing is helping to chart that effect in the capital markets.
This is just the introduction of G&A's Sustainability Highlights newsletter this week. Click here to view the full issue.