As one of the first investors in Tesla Motors and NEXTracker, which was sold to electronics supplier Flextronics in 2015, Nancy Pfund has a record of spotting a promising trend. But when in early 2000 she saw the potential for investing in companies that combine financial returns with a positive social impact, the investors she was trying to convince were not so sure. “We were pioneers,” says Ms Pfund, now managing partner of venture capital firm DBL Partners. “The typical reaction to our pitch was a negative one, we got a lot of doors slammed in our face,” she says. “People thought that by introducing something other than an economic driver into your investment decisions you would lose money.” Today, demand for investments that incorporate environmental, social and governance standards, or impact investing, has grown substantially. In a recent study, Morgan Stanley compared the interest shown in sustainable investing by male and female clients.
In 2017, 84 per cent of the women expressed interest, up from 78 per cent in 2015; for men the figure was 67 per cent, up from 62 per cent.
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