Subscribe to our Insights newsletter

Our Insights provide informative, inspiring, surprising, and entertaining insights behind the scenes of finance and economics, as well as society or art. The monthly newsletter keeps you up to date.


Investment strategy

Thematic sustainable investing: Investing in your values

Are you looking to invest in green technology or quality education? With sustainable thematic investing, you can channel funds towards resolving specific environmental and societal challenges.

Baiyun Chen, LGT
Reading time
6 minutes
Thematic investing

There are many pressing issues in this world that need to be addressed – climate change, biodiversity loss and water scarcity, to name but a few. Fortunately, there are also solutions that can help counteract these problems.

Investors are in the privileged position of being able to leverage these to make a real difference.

And thanks to sustainable thematic investing, it has never been easier for investors who are interested in specific aspects of sustainability to construct a portfolio that aligns with their personal values and aims. 

What is sustainable thematic investing?

Sustainable thematic investing is a targeted way to channel funds towards resolving specific environmental and societal challenges. It can be fully customized to reflect personal values.

In order to define the thematic focus of their sustainable portfolio, investors can start with macro themes, and then identify investment opportunities in areas where the private sector plays a key role in providing solutions.

Sustainable thematic investingainable_thematic_focus_en

Are you interested in sustainable thematic investing, but don’t know where to start? Getting acquainted with the following three categories can help you take the first step, namely defining the thematic focus of your sustainable portfolio:

  1. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs
  2. Global megatrends
  3. Your personal convictions


1. The UN SDGs

The 17 SDGs were developed by the United Nations and were adopted by all UN member states in 2015. The Goals have become an important framework for promoting sustainable development and channelling capital towards the areas that need it most. The SDGs are also the inspiration for a range of themes that incorporate important growing global megatrends, such as demographic change, digitalization, urbanization and climate change.

SDGs thematic investing

2. Global megatrends

Which global megatrend would an investor like to address in his or her portfolio? There are many options to choose from, including climate action, the circular economy, societal well-being and empowering people. Investors can benefit from identifying long-standing sustainability themes that address sustainability challenges, contribute to SDGs, and, most importantly, reflect their personal sustainability convictions.

3. Personal convictions

People are already making values-based choices when buying food and clothing. The same is increasingly becoming true for investments. Investors today can invest in a way that aligns with their personal values. For example, they might invest with a view to eradicating poverty or promoting quality education.

Investments in specific sustainability themes often focus on opportunities arising from innovations and untapped markets, as well as structural changes resulting from regulatory requirements aimed at making the economy more sustainable. The private sector’s crucial role in achieving the SDGs is also giving rise to a number of attractive investment opportunities.

The result: Your thematic focus

By reflecting on these three categories, you can identify which thematic focus is best suited to your sustainable portfolio.

Baiyun Chen
LGT investment specialist Baiyun Chen: "It has never been easier to put together a portfolio that matches an investor's personal values and goals."

If the thematic focus you ultimately choose is climate action, the companies in your portfolio will pursue goals such as helping societies adapt to climate change (global warming or more frequent extreme weather conditions) and minimizing their negative impact on the environment and society.

Investment opportunities associated with this theme include renewable energy, green transportation and infrastructure, as well as energy efficiency, etc. These investments address SDG 7 “Affordable and clean energy”, SDG 11 “Sustainable cities and communities” and SDG 13 “Climate action”.

If you choose sustainable technology, on the other hand, the aim will be to promote sustainable, technological advancement that fosters productivity and efficiency and has a positive impact in the areas of human rights, societal well-being, empowering people, the circular economy, climate action and biodiversity. Related investment topics include digital connectivity, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) that aims to reduce CO2 footprints and increase resource efficiency.

LGT sustainable thematic framework: Focusing on positive contributions

In 2021, LGT developed its proprietary thematic framework. The new sustainable advisory offering integrates sustainable thematic investments that help clients focus on investments that align with their personal values.

Want more Insights?

Our regular e-mail newsletter tells you when new Insights articles are published.

Investment strategy

Thematic investing is hugely popular – here’s how it works

Data by Morningstar, a US financial services firm, show the total amount invested in thematic funds grew to $718bn in the fourth quarter of 2021, from $251bn two years earlier. There are now 1,276 themed funds available, covering myriad growth trends from marijuana to artificial intelligence...
Children learning

Philanthropy and impact investing: This is the difference

Philanthropy and impact investing: Does the world need both? And what is the value of each approach? Tom Kagerer: Yes, the world needs both, since they are complementary approaches on a spectrum of financial and impact returns. There are different ways to improve the quality of people’s lives.
Contact us