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It’s all about me: How the rise of the individual is impacting ethical investment

It’s all about me: How the rise of the individual is impacting ethical investment

Never before have Australians been more self-obsessed. Individual empowerment is being fuelled by increasing prosperity, better education and the digital revolution. Today, it’s all about you.

We’re more socially aware, more careful consumers and better informed than any other time in history.

SEER has identified ‘the rise of the individual’ as a megatrend that will shape Australia’s sustainable investment market into the future. We want amazing experiences. Great holidays. Perfectly curated social media pages that showcase our lifestyle and endless connections.

This is because the rise of the individual puts a new focus on investment opportunities. Figuring out what people want from their life and delivering that in the perfect packaging can be a lucrative process for brands that hit the sweet spot for consumers.

The rise of the individual extends to the workplace, too. There’s a major focus on the Gender Pay Gap here in Australia, along with inequality and unconscious bias in the workplace.

The focus on individual empowerment creates challenges to government structures and processes. However, it also presents significant development and social advancement. Not to mention huge opportunities in the world of business.

The unrelenting rise of the individual will require products and messaging to put the consumer at the centre of the value proposition, according to leading Australian demographer Bernard Salt.

Sydney Business Insights points out that this trend has been fuelled by an increasing expectation for experience rather than consumption.

“Coupled with the access to information anywhere, anytime, changes not only the way we consume but also the way consumers interact with companies and also the degree of influence we have with companies, their strategies, products and services,” it explains when pointing out this megatrend.

An incident by Cambridge University academic Aleksandr Kogan highlights this era of companies looking for ways to solve the rise of the individual issues, but perhaps not considering the privacy and solving the ethics that come with this. He collected the Facebook data of 50 million users to use in research.

The University revealed that Kogan had unsuccessfully applied for ethics approval in 2015 to use data collected on behalf of a commercial enterprise he had established for use in his academic research. He was reapplying for approval when Facebook requested that the data he had gathered be deleted.

How companies deal with similar incidents in the future no doubt weighs heavily on the minds of corporates that no doubt want to be seen to be doing the right thing.

In 2016, there were $22 trillion responsible investments, compared with only $5.67 trillion just two years earlier.

SEER is solely focused on Responsible Investing. We are a diversified funds management group specialising in global equities and sustainable investment strategies. Put simply, we guide investors through the often-complex process of investing.

We have identified the six megatrends that we believe will critically shape the future, and we manage the portfolio and stock selection based on deep research integrating financial factors with environmental, social and governance factors.

We recognise that investors want to channel their investments into projects that bring about positive change for our world and look forward to helping you invest in a more socially responsible way.

For more information, get in touch with us here.