Wealthy people under the age of 40 are more likely than their elders to be interested in or already have made social investments, according to a new report by the Charities Aid Foundation.
The report, Philanthropy: a Gift or an Investment?, estimates that as much as £233bn might already have been invested in the UK with the objective of achieving both social and financial returns.
The report analyses a survey commissioned by CAF of 1,005 people in the UK with average wealth of £7.5m. It says these were all active givers, with average lifetime donations of more than £140,000.
It says that 63 per cent of these people can be classified as socially conscious investors – those that hold ethical investments or social investments. Of the survey respondents aged under 40, that figure is 79 per cent.
CAF’s report says that 48 per cent of younger investors find the idea of making zero-interest loans to charities or social enterprises attractive, compared with one in five of the over-40s. The same question, asked about dedicated socially responsible investment funds, produces a similar result.
The report says the factors that prevented people from making social investments are similar, regardless of age: low returns are given as a reason for their lack of interest by 32 per cent of both age groups, and high risk is cited by 26 per cent of both groups.
The report concludes that better advice, planning and information are needed in order to convert more people into socially conscious investors. "There are big barriers to overcome," it says. "The market is too complex and impact too hard to define and measure."