Report: Millennials, Women, and the Future of Responsible Investing

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Executive Summary

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Millennials, Women, and the Future of Responsible Investing examines the perspectives of two increasingly important demographics for Canada’s investment industry: Millennials and women. Specifically, the report surveys their perspectives on responsible investment (RI), defined as investments that incorporate environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria.
Survey data collected by Ipsos Reid shows that Millennials – the generation between 18 and 34 years old – are significantly more likely than previous generations to show interest in responsible investments. Since Millennials are now the largest demographic in North America’s workforce, and are set to inherit more than $30 trillion in the next few decades, responsible investment advisors and RI fund companies are positioned reap the rewards by engaging this emerging generation of investors.
Our data shows that women investors are about equally as likely as men to factor ESG criteria into their investment decisions. However, women are much more likely than men to express uncertainty about responsible investing. Their responses indicate that women could be more open to responsible investing if they had more information to make their decisions. This points to an opportunity for responsible investment advisors and RI fund companies to target more education and awareness efforts to women investors.
In addition, our data shows that investment preferences vary based on the investor’s location and level of education, with investors in BC and Quebec, along with university graduates, showing greater interest in responsible investing. 

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Key FindingsMW chart 2 online

Millennial investors show significantly more interest in responsible and impact investments than previous generations:
  • Millennial investors are more than twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be interested in investments dedicated to solving social or environmental problems.
  • Millennial investors are 65% more likely than Boomers to consider ESG factors when making investment decisions.
Millennials view the management of ESG risks and opportunities as crucial to the long term performance of their portfolios:
  • Millennials are almost twice as likely as Boomers to believe that companies with good social and environmental practices are better long-term investments.
  • Millennial investors are more than twice as likely as Boomers to believe that companies with good social and environmental practices can provide investors with better protection against downside risks.
Women investors may be more open to RI than men, which presents an educational opportunity for responsible investment advisors and RI fund companies:
  • Women are about twice as likely as men to say they are unsure whether they believe it is important to consider ESG factors.
  • Yet women are also more likely than men to believe it is important for advisors to be knowledgeable about RI. RI advisors would benefit from providing women with more information about RI options. 
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