With lockdown 3.0, rising unemployment, a shrinking economy and the devastating loss of life, it’s difficult to see any positives coming out of the current coronavirus pandemic. However, could there be one chink of light in the darkness COVID-19 has delivered?
Larry Fink, Chief Executive of Blackrock, one of the most influential financial firms in the world, thinks there may be. He states: "I believe that the pandemic has presented such an existential crisis - such a stark reminder of our fragility - that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully and to consider how, like the pandemic, it will alter our lives.”
How do we make it happen?
Sustainable investment is the starting point. Pre-pandemic, whilst it was talked about and perhaps comms were ‘greenwashed’ to say it was happening, the reality was that it wasn’t anywhere near the level it should have been. Fast forward 12 months, and yes, the economy has shrunk but there has been a marked increase in investment in more environmentally sustainable business. In fact, investors delivered $288bn globally into sustainable assets, a whopping 96% increase from 2019.
What about the return?
Whilst it’s great to be purposeful, purpose needs to deliver profit. The good news is, that the returns can be just as lucrative when you’re aiming to improve the planet. Companies with better environmental, social and governance policies are growing faster than their less ‘ethical’ competitors.
Is it just greenwashing?
If an organization is spending more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than really making every attempt to minimise their environmental impact then it’s right to be cautious. Good research, and an understanding of the markets mean that investors are already shunning shares due to a lack of sustainability impetus.
Can we build back better?
Promises from government to "build back better" and “build back greener” will only come to fruition through policy and perhaps incentives to do so. There seems to be a definite desire to do so which hopefully will have a massive impact on the sector and be great news for jobs growth across the environmental sector. Fink says “even if only 5% of investors opt for sustainable strategies, it will still produce "massive shifts".
With a sustainable economic approach, investment in education and skills to promote a rise in jobs, we’ll see a more sustainable planet for future generations.
If you’re hiring in sustainable finance, looking for ESG or ESI focussed professionals, get in touch to see how we can help you help the environment, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Allen & York - providing sustainable recruitment solutions since 1993.