The megatrend of 2019 was sustainability. Led by climate activist Greta Thunberg, youth across the world demanded politicians and business owners engage in immediate action on climate and sustainability. Investors followed in droves: According to research by Morningstar, estimated net flows into open-end and exchange-traded sustainable funds that are available to US investors totaled $20.6bn for 2019. This was nearly four times the previous annual record set in 2018.
The megatrend of 2020 so far is coronavirus, and with it a tendency to doubt that sustainability will remain a priority. Locked up in their homes and out of their schools, the youth climate movement has come to a near standstill. “Sustainability pays off only in economically rosy times”, we now hear critics say. “As soon as a crisis hits, priority shifts elsewhere.”