Sustainable investment is the "way of the future" if the future itself is to be sustainable on earth. This simple truth underlies the efforts by multiple official organisations, led by the United Nations, to foster more responsible attitudes toward stewardship of the planet. The private sector too – the global financial system in particular – has a critical role to play in directing investment into sustainable areas of activity and deflecting it from socially and environmentally harmful activities. Sustainable investment is not just about reforms and responsibilities however. It is also about rewards – financial and otherwise – to those that practice it.
This book argues that sustainable investment is as much about the opportunities offered as the challenges posed in reorienting the financial system toward better and more sustainable outcomes. It seeks to put the many different elements of sustainable investment into a broad context, showing how it has evolved from being a "niche" concept centered largely upon philanthropy to being a viable philosophy of commercial investment.
The book looks especially at two main themes – Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, which broadly seeks to guide investors and businesses into sustainable forms of activity, and Impact Investing, which aims to ensure that such aims are not achieved at the expense of financial return on investment. Sustainable investment also needs to be guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which provide the broad social and economic context. The volume is aimed at the general reader as much as at investment practitioners.