Attitudes to wealth: Climate change

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The survey asked respondents to give their views on climate change and ethical consumption.

The engaged investor 8 of 17 Attitudes to wealth: Social involvement 6 of 17

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The responses reveal climate change to be an important, if not overwhelming issue. Fifty six percent completely or slightly agree with the statement that they are increasingly concerned about climate change. Forty two percent often encourage friends to buy more environmentally-friendly products.

The individual is seen as having an important role in dealing with this problem: 56% disagree with the statement that only governments and big businesses could make a difference. But there is also some lingering scepticism: 44% agree or slightly agree with the statement that the climate change threat has been overstated.

Asia Pacific and Latin American respondents are much more concerned about climate change than those in Europe or the US, as shown in the table below. This goes against the general perception that this is just a 'dinner party debate' for those in the developed economies; those directly affected by high levels of pollution clearly do not like what they see and inhale.

But how do concerns about climate change affect the actual investment behaviour of wealthy investors? Wadah Abusin, Co-founder and Commercial Director of Ecobility Energy Solutions in the United Arab Emirates provides some insights. Mr. Abusin argues that social impact is becoming a key component in the investment decision making process. In part, this is because "socially-responsible companies continue to out-perform their peers in the long run." But he also highlights two specific reasons why "green" investments may appeal to the wealthy. "Energy technology ventures typically require substantial R&D spend, which may depress returns in the short run. But, through the capacity to create reverse innovation or develop disruptive technologies (those that impact markets in a substantial and unanticipated fashion), offer the opportunity for longer-term gains. In addition, they recognise the benefits that exposure to renewables can bring to their portfolio from a diversification point of view, especially in a regional economy underpinned by hydrocarbons."

Mr. Abusin draws a distinction between those who are looking for exposure to a particular sector: Those who will tend to take a more hands-off approach, and those who want to enter the sector and add the green element to their existing businesses - who tend to be much more involved.