By Bruno Bertocci, Head of the Global Sustainable Equities team and lead Portfolio Manager; Joe Elegante, Senior Portfolio Manager and Alix Foulonneau, Analyst
The world's population will get older
The increase in life expectancy and falling fertility levels - factors highlighted in the report as contributing to population growth – is expected to see one in six people aged 65 or over by 2050 mainly across the regions of Africa, Asia, Latin American and the Caribbean.
In 2018, for the first time in history the people aged 65 or over, outnumbered children under the age of five globally. The number of people aged 80 or over is expected to triple from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050 as we continue to see major advancements in medicine.
Percentage of the population aged 25 to 64: estimates, 1990-2020, and medium-variant projections, 2020-2100
Putting pressure on the poorest countries
Mr. Liu Zhenmin, United National Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, feels the report offers guidance on where to target action and intervention. He believes that with many of the fastest growing populations in the poorest countries, population growth will bring additional challenges in the efforts to eradicate poverty, achieve greater equality, combat hunger and malnutrition and strengthen the coverage and quality of health and education systems to make sure that no one is left behind.
Straining finite natural resources
But as the population densities increase bringing more strain on finite natural resources, which continue to plummet, this places competitive stress on the basic life sustaining resources and naturally leads to a diminished quality of life.
8 ways population growth depletes our natural resources
- Overpopulation as demands continue to increase
- Overconsumption and waste - excessive and unnecessary use of resources
- Deforestation and the destruction of ecosystems leading to loss of biodiversity
- Mining of minerals and oil
- Technological and industrial development
- Pollution and contamination of resources
So will the growing population inevitably see resources being used faster than they can be replenished, ultimately leading to a depletion of natural resources?
A sea change in global public opinion is certainly needed and with climate change concerns increasingly making it into the news headlines, more and more people are beginning to think about the effects some of their actions have on the environment. This ranges from issues such global warming, environmental pollution, habitat loss and the consumption of finite resources such fresh water, arable land and fossil fuels to name a few. This has resulted in a booming sustainability industry globally.
The future for climate-concerned investors: predicting, protecting and profiting
Investors are increasingly considering more carefully how to put their money to work in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. The world is constantly changing and with resource scarcity at the very essence, there is the potential for this to alter the investment landscape.
While these latest figures were largely expected, the challenge remains of identifying the potential investment opportunities emerging from the real issues facing society. While some of these issues and changes can be temporary and fleeting, others can be powerful, transformative forces that shape how society is organized at a fundamental level.
For example the lack of fresh water resources to meet water demand affects every continent and was listed in 2019 by the World Economic Forum as one of the largest global risks in terms of potential impact over the next decade.
More and more people means more pollution which will only exacerbate the depletion of natural resources. For example, when fossil fuels are burned to generate power, carbon dioxide is released. This greenhouse gas traps heat in the atmosphere and contributes to climate change, a process that affects weather patterns, water resources and the survival of animals and plants many depend on as food sources.
Against this backdrop, we identify population growth as one of three megatrends along with aging and urbanization, that is relevant to investors and the future of the global economy. To learn more about the thematic opportunities this megatrend is creating, take a look at our Top company picks that continue to strive to find solutions to the ongoing climate change challenge.
As the population increases, naturally the demand for water does too. This presents an enormous challenge, and Ecolab is just one of the companies seeking solutions
More people on the planet will lead to increased demand for energy. This presents a number of opportunities for businesses. Spectris is focusing on how to improve energy efficiency
The website contains general information about UBS Asset Management (Americas), Inc., UBS Hedge Fund Solutions LLC, and UBS O'Connor LLC, collectively known as "UBS Asset Management". The information contained on this website does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation to purchase or sell any securities or other financial instrument or any particular strategy or fund. Market commentary, product information and related performance data available on this website has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable and is provided in good faith for informational purposes only. UBS Asset Management does not guarantee the accuracy, suitability or completeness of information contained on this website, and all such information, including but not limited to performance data and related metrics, is subject to change without notice. Certain content on this website is intended for institutional investors and their financial representatives only, and should not be relied upon by retail investors or members of the general public.
Market commentary and similar statements contained herein are based on current expectations and may be considered “forward-looking statements.” Actual future results, however, may prove to be different from expectations. The opinions expressed are a reflection of UBS Asset Management’s best judgment at the time of posting, and any obligation to update or alter any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise is disclaimed.
Investments involve risks, are not guaranteed and may not return the original principal amount invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investors should read all available product information carefully before making an investment decision, including information about applicable risks, fees and expenses. This website does not address the investment objectives, risk tolerance or financial needs of any particular investor. In addition, any statements regarding investment performance expectations, risk and/or return targets do not constitute a representation or warranty that such expectations or targets will be achieved.
This website is not intended for persons located in any jurisdiction where the availability of this website is prohibited or contrary to local law or regulation or would subject any UBS entity to any registration or licensing requirement in any such jurisdiction.
Please confirm you are a US resident to proceed.