18 May 2021 2 min read

Finding the greenest generation


Introducing our research into the ESG views of Boomer, Gen X and Millennial savers

If someone had told me, late in 2018, that over the next two years we would see forest fires devastate Australian wildlife; witness sightings in the US of a ‘murder hornet’ with the potential to disrupt food supplies; and, tragically, experience the spread of a global pandemic, which would infect two million and counting, I would never have believed them.

While not one of these issues arises from a single cause, all result from our movement to a globally interconnected world. Alongside many benefits, we are sharply confronted with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) impacts that global capitalism – and its corollaries, trade and travel – has on the earth we inhabit.

Few disagree that it is time to do things differently. But with so much to achieve in so little time, how should we decide what’s important now?

With at least 16.6 million people now investing in a defined contribution (DC) pension, according to the Pensions Regulator, this pool of savers has never been more reflective of the UK’s working population. And, as future generations enjoy less support in retirement than many Baby Boomers have from their defined benefit pensions, this group is only going to become more representative of the nation as time goes on.

So we asked DC savers across three generations (Baby Boomers aged 55-65, Generation X aged 40-54, and Millennials aged 25-39) what they thought of key ESG issues in relation to their pension, in a bid to understand if generation and also gender identity influenced their interests.

The report, available through the link below, tackles these sometimes thorny themes. To me, it underlines the need to listen to individuals and relate their own life experiences to the stories we tell about our engagements with companies on ESG initiatives.

Something that comes out is that it’s really important to look beyond labels. People who were nonplussed by the term ‘ESG’ came alive when we discussed the underlying themes in terms they connected with: ‘climate change’, ‘human exploitation’, and ‘fair pay’.

These are everyday realities, and they move ‘ESG’ in pensions from what can appear like an academic exercise to chime with the issues your scheme members are reading and talking about.

So, when it comes to ESG, do generational and gender divides matter? Understanding them may help us make sense of an increasingly complex world, where we are forced to make era-defining choices in just a few years.

But don’t take my word for it! Read our new report to find out more…

Our full research report into the ESG views of Boomer, Gen X and Millennial savers is available here.


LGIM contributors