Sustainable Investing: The New Normal – Insights from McKinsey’s ‘From Why to Why Not’

The world of investing has been undergoing a profound transformation. Once on the fringes, sustainable investing has now moved front and center, fundamentally reshaping the investment landscape. In its study titled “From ‘Why’ to ‘Why Not’: Sustainable Investing as the New Normal,” McKinsey & Company offers invaluable insights into this shift.

1. The Emergence of Sustainable Investing:

The McKinsey study begins by charting the rise of sustainable investing. It presents compelling data showing a significant increase in the number of investors integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into their decision-making process. The research suggests that this change is driven by various factors including regulatory changes, greater societal awareness about sustainability, and an increasing recognition of the financial relevance of ESG issues.

2. The Financial Case for ESG Integration:

An essential aspect of the study is the assertion that ESG is not just about ‘doing good.’ It makes a clear case that companies with robust ESG practices often achieve superior financial performance. This finding is backed by a growing body of empirical evidence suggesting that strong ESG performers experience higher return on assets, lower cost of capital, and better operational performance.

3. The Strategic Importance of ESG:

The McKinsey study emphasizes the strategic importance of ESG, arguing that it’s crucial for companies to integrate ESG considerations into their core business strategy. The research suggests that companies that fail to effectively manage ESG risks may suffer significant financial repercussions, while those that proactively leverage ESG opportunities can gain a competitive edge.

4. Moving Towards Sustainable Investing:

The study underscores the necessity for companies to transition towards sustainable investing. It outlines several strategies that can help businesses make this shift, including aligning ESG activities with the company’s overall strategy, developing a thorough understanding of ESG risks and opportunities, and effectively communicating their ESG performance to stakeholders.

5. The Changing Role of Investors:

McKinsey’s study also touches on the evolving role of investors. It suggests that investors today not only expect companies to deliver financial returns but also to contribute positively to society. This shift in investor expectations further reinforces the need for companies to adopt sustainable investing practices.

6. Key Takeaways for Professionals:

“From ‘Why’ to ‘Why Not’: Sustainable Investing as the New Normal” offers critical insights for professionals seeking to navigate the evolving investment landscape. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the drivers and implications of the shift towards sustainable investing and offers practical guidance on how to navigate this transition.

The study underscores the idea that sustainable investing is not just a trend but is becoming the new norm. It presents a compelling argument that the integration of ESG factors into investment decisions is a business imperative, driven not just by societal expectations and regulatory pressures, but also by the financial benefits it can deliver.

In conclusion, McKinsey’s study serves as an essential guide for professionals looking to understand the increasingly critical role of ESG in investment decisions. It offers a rich source of insights to help businesses and investors navigate the complexities of sustainable investing and embrace it as the new normal.



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