More and more millennials not only want to make a return on their investments, but an environmental or social impact too, said Jackie VanderBrug, senior vice president at U.S. Trust.
"For millennials, impact investing is really a part of their identity," said VanderBrug. "Millennials are conscious consumers so it is logical that they are also conscious investors."
U.S. Trust recently released its annual "Wealth & Worth" survey of 684 high net worth individuals, those with $3 million and more in investable assets, and 72% of people surveyed said they have greater confidence in the private sector's ability to solve tough social and environmental issues than in the government's. It also said 60% believe that private money invested in public works and social programs can produce superior outcomes.
"On our platform, we see the returns of our impact investing managers exceeding those of 60% of their peers," said VanderBrug. "It is a misnomer that this is a concessionary investing philosophy."
U.S. Trust found that the use of impact investments grew by double digits over the past year among high net worth millennials and women, with the greatest one-year increase among the ultra-high net worth, 27% of whom now use social and environmental impact in their investing strategies, up from 9% in 2015.
28% of millennials surveyed now use impact investments, up from 17% a year ago, according to the survey. Another 57% are interested, up from 43% a year ago.  Fully 85% of millennials say they consider their investment decisions as a way to express their social, political and environmental values, and 93% indicate that a company's impact in these areas is an important consideration when they make investment decisions.
Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters of high net worth individuals give financially to nonprofit organizations and causes, and they consider philanthropic giving the best way they make the greatest contribution. Another 61% actively volunteer their time, skills and services to nonprofit organizations. 16% work for a nonprofit organization.
87% believe that businesses and individuals are most effective at creating better economic opportunities and a higher standard of living for more people, with small businesses most cited most. Only 10% believe the government is most effective at creating economic opportunities, and 65% believe no matter who wins the presidential election in 2016, economic equality in the country will be worse or no better if left entirely to government to address.