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Millennials and why your organization should care about ESG

Elena Philipova
Elena Philipova
Global Head ESG Proposition, Refinitiv

With sustainable and ethical business practices now key to attracting and retaining top talent, how can organizations ensure that their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) rating meets the expectations of millennials?

It’s 2025, and the brightest millennial minds are jostling for the attention of the companies featured in the trusted top-100-companies-to-work-for lists.

Millennials will be determined to secure a position at one of these companies because they embody their very own ideals of sustainability and ethical business, and, like Millennials, these companies possess a sense of responsibility to the greater community too.

Not only has the workforce of 2025 shifted its demands on companies, but investors have too.

Discover how ESG research data provides performance information for in-depth, socially responsible investment analysis

Sustainability practices

They want to invest in companies that respond to ESG material issues effectively and transparently, not only because it is the right thing to do, but more importantly it makes financial sense as they monetize the full value of the sustainability.

In fact, the trend towards sustainable investing is already visible today.

In a recent survey conducted by Schroders, more than 78% of respondents said that sustainable investing has become more important to them in the past five years.

People’s perceptions are shifting, with many becoming more mindful of sustainability.

However, the feeling varies by generation, with 86% of millennials versus 67% of Baby Boomers saying that sustainable investing has increased in importance.

The economic power of millennials

We are currently witnessing the largest inter-generational transfer of wealth ever seen, with some US$24 trillion expected to be under the control of the millennial population by 2020.

In the future, millennials are going to make up an increasingly larger proportion of the workforce and consumer mix, and with that comes a shift in demand as their purchasing power increases.

It is not only the purchasing power shift that the companies of the future need to cater for, but also the expectations millennials will harbor, demanding companies exercise ethical business practices.

Staying ahead of the curve

In order to be recognized as a top employer, remain attractive to investors, and stay ahead of the competition in 2025, what will companies need to do?

Monitoring the competition is important, but organizations need to be aware that the parameters have also increased in number. Companies need to effectively manage not only their short-term financial performance, but their long-term sustainable initiatives and impacts too.

A company’s ESG index is now a formal measure that is increasingly being reported, with more and more companies needing to demonstrate that they are compliant with certain criteria, including those around diversity, inclusion and gas emissions.

Sustainable Development Goals

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are driving this trend as member states look to these targets for inspiration in shaping their agendas, objectives and political policies over the next 15 years.

Companies, and investors too, are using UN SDGs to establish common frameworks for monitoring and reporting on ESG metrics.

As a result, investors, consumers, directors and the business world at large are digging deeper into company value chains and business models than ever before.

And the expectation on companies to monitor and report on such issues is much higher than it has ever been in the past, while technology and exposure to a whole new set of data present new challenges.

ESG reporting standards

Our ESG data and solutions can help corporations around the globe understand their relative ESG performance and impact, benchmark against peer companies, and see best-in-class examples.

This can assist corporations to better align their ESG efforts and reporting with industry standards, attract environmentally and socially responsible investors, and mitigate reputational risk.

Whether it’s our Diversity & Inclusion Index, our industry-leading ESG data in Eikon or thought leadership initiatives such as our Global 250 Greenhouse Gas report, we can help your organization embed ESG considerations and sustainability into your company agenda.