The Shadow of Our Financial Footprints is Long

granny hugging child

In 1987, the United Nation’s Brundtland Commission, which oversees sustainable development, defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

In the world of finance, we discuss how many clients want to invest their money sustainably. Some are convinced those who wish to invest in line with environmental or social values remain in the minority.

There is also a view that only amongst younger generations do you find a significant number of people who prioritise sustainable, socially conscious or climate positive investing.  Recent surveys suggest that this is too simplistic. A survey of Scottish adults carried out by Global Ethical Finance in 2021 found that 60% of 18-24 year olds were interested in investing ethically or sustainably, 55% of 25-34 year olds, 58% of 35-44 year olds, 47% of 45-54 year olds and 51% of the over 55s.

Whilst all parents endeavour to provide their children with a better start in life than they had themselves, whether that’s more money, a better education or more time together. With current glitches in the system (public services, state education, housing to name a few), it may not be so easy for continued generational increments in wealth, health and wellbeing. One thing we know for sure can only be reduced – the amount of carbon budget we leave as a legacy. Limiting global temperature rises to a hopefully liveable 1.5C will mean a person born in 2017 can emit only a ninth of the emissions of someone born in 1950 over their lifetime, according to a 2019 analysis by the media outlet Carbon Brief.

This doesn’t automatically mean we have to hand over a future of limited experiences and choices to our young ones. We need to be resolute and realistic and accept that every bit of carbon burned for us today means less available for tomorrow. Equally as importantly, we need to be positive and creative and start thinking about how we can live a rich life in a lower carbon world. Rich perhaps with nature, or music, with things we have made ourselves or purchased second hand, with personal, business and community innovation.

We can get through a phase of challenge to a time and place where we can all thrive, if we are all in it together.

This is why creating lasting Financial Impact, leading a Richer Lifestyle, and leaving an Enduring Legacy really matters. The shadow of our financial footprints is long.

To find out how Sustainable Wealth can help you do good with your money, contact me here:


Four in 10 young people fear having children due to climate crisis | Climate crisis | The Guardian

GEFI066_YouGov_Report_v4_public.pdf (

Analysis: Why children must emit eight times less CO2 than their grandparents (


Photo by Ekaterina Shakharova on Unsplash

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