Savings and wealth: it’s a long-term thing, says Tomorrow’s Company

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 29th October 2015

How do we stop the greedy, short-term profit hunt that characterises our habitual approach to, well, getting loaded?

Tomorrow’s Company has an idea: Long-term financial value should come from meeting human needs on an intergenerational basis, taking account of economic, social and environmental factors, and be measured using a broad range of indicators.

In other words, think about how what you do with your cash will benefit or hinder not just your children, but their children, their friends; their children and their friends.

Or think about it like this: cost per wear, my mother’s favourite justification for buying better quality, more expensive things. It’s a coat from John Lewis that costs £200 but lasts ten years versus a coat from Primark that costs £50 but pills within six months.

That’s (sort of) the premise of this new reportTomorrow’s Capital Markets: Investing in what we value. Only talking about saving rather than spending. It argues that:

  • We face serious threats to climate, quality of life, water supply, nutrition etc.
  • Our capital markets have a vital part to play in enabling society to meet these human needs.
  • Long-term financial value comes from meeting human needs on an intergenerational basis, taking account of economic, social and environmental factors, using a broad range of indicators.
  • This wider view of value needs to permeate all information and decisions in the system.
  • Markets are good servants but bad masters: we need to curb the casino economy and shift the balance in markets between trading and owning – between ‘value in use’ and ‘value in exchange’.
  • Markets will respond to client priorities. We want asset owners to take a wider view of value embed this view into their requirements of investment managers and advisors. We also want to help savers exercise individual choice.

Tomorrow’s Company is a global sustainability think tank that believes businesses can and should be a force for good.