The sustainability movement is top of mind for many Canadians. With the push towards green energy, the implementation of the carbon tax, and the generational shift towards saving the planet most Canadians face an aspect of sustainability at some point in their lives. Our responsibility to the planet to make it a more clean and safe place ensures future generations will be able to prosper from what the planet has to offer, and in my experience that’s exactly what millennials tend to do.

The millennial generation was born between the early 1980’s and the mid 1990’s. This makes most millennials 21-35, which means many of them are entering or have already entered the workforce. After a few years of working full-time this college educated generation will hopefully have disposable income to grow their wealth and invest in the stock market.

As the sustainability movement continues to grow companies across Canada are looking at ways they can be socially and environmentally responsible. With more millennials starting to enter the stock market the push for sustainable investments has started to follow suit. Millennials want to be a part of organizations that are making a difference, so it’s no doubt that they are also showing an interest in investing in companies that hold the same values they do.

In the past sustainable investments have been numbered, limited to a few funds with green investments in them. It was a challenge for consumers to accurately decipher which investments were socially conscious and there was no way to determine if one fund, or a company was more socially conscious than another.

Scotia iTRADE has recently launched Canada’s first sustainable investing tools for direct investors; covering over 1,200 companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange and Russell® 1000 Index.. Their new platform allows Canadians to readily understand the data, giving companies a rating (ESG score) in the following categories:

  • Environmental – Climate Change, and Natural Resources
  • Social, and – Business/Human Rights, and Gender/Diversity
  • Governance – Bribery, Corruption, and Business Ethics

Investing in companies that have high sustainability scores could show businesses that this is how we as Canadians expect businesses treat their employees and their customers. It also signals that this is how we expect businesses to lead on a worldwide stage.

Putting our money where our mouth is shows that we as Canadians are willing to vote with our dollars. When you or I purchase consumer goods from stores that is more sustainable we are showing the marketplace that these are the types of companies that we want to support locally, and on a global platform. Likewise, when we invest our hard earned dollars and become the shareholders of companies that we hold the same values as us the effect may be amplified.

When you own a share of a company and become a shareholder, you are ultimately who the company answers to. As a shareholder you have rights to vote, and are entitled the returns that the company makes.  As these companies grow and prosper, you could benefit monetarily but it also signals to other less sustainable companies that this is what the new generation of investors are looking for. In time this could drive positive change for our economy, and our planet.

This post has been brought to you in partnership with Scotia iTRADE. All thoughts and opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Scotia iTRADE.