Sustainable investment market in Austria reaches new record high – sustainable investment funds up by 18 per cent
Berlin and Vienna, 5 June 2018 - With a volume of investments totalling around 15.2 billion euros, sustainable investment in Austria has reached a new record high. Compared with the previous year, the volume of assets invested taking strict social, environmental and governance criteria into account grew by 16 per cent. In Austria, as at 31 December 2017, investments totalling around 39 billion euros were being managed using sustainability strategies and criteria. These are the key findings of the 2018 Market Report, which FNG – Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen is presenting today in Berlin.
Improved transparency due to new recording methods
Following harmonisation of the recording methods with European standards, the current market report distinguishes for the first time between sustainable investments and responsible investment. Whereas in the case of sustainable investments, investment strategies and criteria are defined and specified at product level, for example for sustainability funds, in the case of responsible investment, sustainable investment strategies are applied to all investments and integrated at the institutional level in each case, for example at asset manager level.
"Adjusting the methodology enabled us to achieve two things," explains Volker Weber, Chair of the Board of Directors at FNG. "Firstly, we are better able to record and describe the different approaches, and secondly, it means that FNG has been able to respond proactively to the EU's more stringent requirements with regard to responsible investment."
Sustainable investment market reaches record level
According to the new system, the total volume of responsible investments at the end of 2017 stood at 39 billion euros. Over 15.2 billion euros are classified as sustainable investments, based on the comprehensive sustainability approach underpinning them.
Among sustainable investments, sustainable investment funds showed particularly strong growth in 2017. Their volume rose by 18 per cent to around 8.3 billion euros. Sustainable mandates also reached a new high, with a total volume of 6.3 billion euros (+14%). Net inflows in 2017 amounted to just under 1.7 billion euros and thus accounted for the bulk of the growth. In Austria, sustainable investment funds and mandates now have a market share of 8.3 per cent.
"The Austrian market is continuing on its path of growth, and it is the leader among the German-speaking countries in terms of market share accounted for by sustainable investments," confirms Wolfgang Pinner, Vice Chair of FNG's Board of Directors and head of FNG Austria, "This shows that the openness of Austrian market players to transparency, standards and certifications is having an impact." This is exemplified by pension funds, which at 68per cent are by a large margin the most important institutional investors.
Exclusions again the most important sustainable investment strategy
With a volume of investments of around 14.4 billion euros, exclusions applied to sustainable investment funds and mandates are by far the most commonly used sustainable investment strategy, closely followed by the best-in-class approach (14.0 billion euros). The next-highest-ranked strategies were norms-based screening (9.9 billion euros) and direct dialogue with companies, also referred to as engagement (8.7 billion euros).
Among the exclusion criteria applied to companies, nuclear power and weapons and armaments feature particularly prominently, while the main exclusion criteria applied to countries are the use of the death penalty and the restriction of civil rights and human rights in dictatorships.
EU action plan expected to stimulate further growth
For the current year, the majority of the experts surveyed anticipate growth of up to 30 per cent in the sustainable investment market. They believe that demand from institutional investors and legislative changes will provide important growth stimuli. FNG sees the EU Commission’s action plan on financing sustainable growth as being particularly significant in this context.
Claudia Tober, FNG's Executive Director, explains that the EU Commission's recently published proposal for the further extension of the duties of institutional investors is already playing a key role in the transformation to a more sustainable financial market.
This year’s FNG Market Report is being published to coincide with the Austrian Sustainability Action Days and the European Sustainable Development Week.
The FNG market report could not have been put together without the support of a few very committed association members. Particular thanks are due to the following sponsors and supporters: Union Investment, ISS- oekom, SDG Investments GmbH, YourSRI.de, imug, NKI-Institut für nachhaltige Kapitalanlagen, KlimaGut Immobilien AG, Qualitates GmbH, Raiffeisen Capital Management, RobecoSAM and Southpole Group.
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