By now, we’ve all seen the pictures of Venice’s crystal-clear canal waters and have pored over the infographics showing improved air quality over China during its lockdown. But what will happen when we all go back to work post-crisis? Will we return to our jet-set lifestyles and wasteful ways? Or has this crisis presented a real opportunity for investments that are good for the environment? Masja Zandbergen, the head of sustainability integration at Robeco, the international asset management company, thinks it is indeed an opportunity. She says that while it could merely be “green wishing”—the hope that there will be more sustainable investment—there has never been as good a chance to initiate substantial change.
“The response to this crisis is going to determine whether or not we can achieve this,” she says.
Zandbergen adds that inflows into ESG funds have been decent over the last weeks of the crisis. And in the wider market, there is speculation that the crisis could catapult ESG even further into the spotlight.
Fitch Ratings agency said over the Easter weekend that ESG funds could have a competitive advantage going forward “given the seismic shift in investor attitudes regarding sustainable investing in recent years.”
Zandbergen says that it’s now in the hands of our governments and investors to see the real value in ESG. What they do next, she says, “will determine how our economies are going to evolve over the next few decades.”