The latest Nordic Swan Econometer 2018 reading of consumer behaviour and approach to goods and service suggests the funds industry could have to engage in radical changes necessary to avoid environmental catastrophe.
Among its headline findings, the survey suggests that two-thirds of respondents feel that an environmental disaster will happen unless habits change; while half regularly think about how their actions impact on the environment; and some 70% admit that their choices as consumers are not as environmentally friendly as they would like them to be.
The findings are based on responses gathered 20 April – 4 May by United Minds, via email and digital surveys of some 4,876 respondents across Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland.
However, the headline figures also disguise significant differences in attitudes that could explain why different strategies and approaches are favoured by men or women investors. For example, the survey found that overall there is still a 23% level of people in the Nordic region who believe that climate change is the result of natural phenomena rather than man-made. But for men under 25, the figure is 29% versus 17% for women in the same age bracket.
Another gender difference notes is in the reliance off ecolabelling. While roughly half the survey respondents noted that ecolabelling is an important criterion, for women this rose to 61%.
This is of interest to asset managers, because of the launch of ecolabelled funds in the past year (see below).
Another finding is that a third of Nordic consumers feel they need to make an extra effort to find sustainable products and services – although there are significant intra-regional differences in terms of how easy it is to achieve this goal. In Iceland, for example, some 45% of respondents said they found it difficult to obtain sustainable products and services, versus 21% in Sweden.
Further viewpoints on the findings – and relevant particularly to the financial industry – are contained in the full report from the likes of Per Bolund, Sweden’s minister for Financial Markets and Consumer Affairs and deputy minister for Finance, and Halla Tómasdóttir, founder of Icelandic investment firmAuður Capital, which “incorporated feminine and sustainable values, and was one of few investment firms to withstand the test of the Icelandic financial crash in 2008” and that since has merged with Kvika investment bank.
To read the full report, click here: Sustainable-Consumerism-in-the-Nordic-region-The-Report-by-Nordic-Ecolabelling