Australians prefer super funds that consider responsible investments rather than a plan that only considers maximising financial returns, according to findings from a research report commissioned by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
Sixty-nine percent of over 1,000 survey participants across Australia said they would rather invest in a super fund that considered environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues as well as maximising financial returns.
This is up 15 percentage points compared with 54% four years ago, indicating more Australians felt more inclined to invest responsibly, with only 31% of people answering they would rather invest in a super fund that only considered maximising financial returns.
Commenting on the results, RIAA Chief Executive Simon O’Connor said: “Consumer sentiment mirrors the continuing growth in the sector, with responsible investment more than quadrupling over the past three years and nearly half of Australia’s assets under management now being invested through responsible investments.
“As more Australians show a desire for their investments and savings to align with their values, those already investing their money responsibly are enjoying strong financial performance.”
Three in four Australian investors were already either investing in ethical companies or considering it within the near future, the report also revealed, and 85% of respondents felt super funds should either “invest in ‘doing good’”, “avoid ‘doing harm’” or both.
“The vast majority of Australians want superannuation invested responsibly, such as through investing in companies that build clean energy infrastructure or avoiding investments that can harm communities such as weapons manufacturing,” Mr O’Connor said.
“Other key issues of concern for consumers, in terms of their investments, include animal cruelty (69%), human rights violations (62%) and pornography (56%).”
Additionally, 92% of Australians had the expectation that their super make responsible and ethical investments, and almost four in five (78%) respondents would consider moving to another super fund if they found their current fund to be engaging in activities inconsistent with their values.