Sustainable investing will get a big boost from the coronavirus, according to Nigel Green, CEO of the deVere Group, an independent financial advisory firm.

The coronavirus pandemic and its economic fallout will trigger “a skyward surge” in sustainable, responsible and impactful investing over the next year, he said. Funds that take environmental, social and governance issues into account have fallen half as much as the S&P 500 Index during the COVID-19 pandemic, Green said in a statement released today.

In January, deVere Group conducted a global survey in which 77% of millennials said that ESG investing was their top priority when considering investment opportunities, deVere said.

“Before the pandemic, research revealed that investments that score well in terms of ESG credentials often outperform the market and have lower volatility over the long run,” Green added. “Since the COVID-19 public health emergency upended the world, the latest broad analysis shows that ESG funds have typically continued to outperform others.”

In addition, the virus has shown “that increasingly companies will only survive and thrive if they operate with a nod from the wider court of public approval. It has underscored the complexity and interconnectedness of our world in terms of demand and supply, in trade and commerce – and how these can be under threat if not sustainable,” he said.

"Demographic shifts will support the trend.  Millennials, those people who were born in the time period ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, cite ESG investing as their top priority when considering investment opportunities,” Green said. “This is crucial because the biggest-ever generational transfer of wealth, which will be around $30 trillion, from baby boomers to millennials, will take place in the next few years.”

Green added, “ESG investing was already going to reshape the investment landscape in this new decade, but the coronavirus will quicken the pace of this reshaping.”