Vienna, June 15, 2018 - Sustainable investment is on the rise in Austria and has meanwhile reached a record volume of about 15 billion euros, approximately 8 percent of the total sum that goes into investment funds, according to the recently published 2018 Market Report by the FNG (“Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen - Forum for Sustainable Investing”), the umbrella organization for sustainable investment in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
For the full report in German, go to:
For the English press release, go to:
Compared with the previous year, the volume of assets invested in sustainable funds, taking into account strict social, environmental and governance criteria increased by 16 per cent in Austria. And this is an ongoing trend, Wolfgang Pinner, Head of the Austrian branch of FNG, said in an interview in Austrian radio Ö1 early morning news broadcast on June 9. “We are becoming ever more aware of how we live and also how we invest. Aside from the question of financial return, people consider it important to see themselves and their values reflected in their investments,” he explained the growing popularity of sustainable investment. At the same time, he underscored the financial performance of sustainable investment was as good as that of other, more traditional forms of investment.
Exclusion Criteria and Monitoring Sustainability
Most sustainable investment funds had strict criteria that excluded as investment options sectors such as the nuclear energy, weapons, gene technology, tobacco and coal industry, as well as companies that violated human and workers’ rights or conducted animal experiments, emphasized Pinner. Additional criteria come into play for states – here, the exclusion criteria are for instance existence of the death penalty, dictatorship, and corruption.
Monitoring adherence to the sustainability criteria falls into the competence of ÖGUT (“Österreichische Gesellschaft für Umwelt und Technik – Austrian Society for Environment and Technology“), whose expert for green investment, consumption & quality of life Susanne Hasenhüttl told Ö1 a positive approach to sustainable investing included in particular “putting the focus on certain sectors, especially renewable ones.” ÖGUT measures whether sustainability criteria are adhered to and gives sustainability awards to those companies or states that observe them. Here, special attention is directed to the question of whether the climate goals of the European Union, such as reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, transition to renewable energy sources, and energy saving measures are met, said Hasenhüttl. She is seconded in her opinion by Wolfgang Pinner, who also stressed that “sustainable funds contribute significantly to sustainable development and the eventual achievement of the climate goals.”
Sustainable and Responsible Investment: Together They are Strong
While sustainable investment is measured according to more narrowly defined criteria, responsible investment is defined in broader terms. Here, companies, banks or asset managers are being evaluated according to the way they treat their employees. Adding the money volume invested into enterprises and institutions with a good corporate responsibility performance pushes the sustainable investments total up to almost 40 billion in Austria. And the potential is by no means exhausted – for the coming year, Pinner is optimistic Austria will once again see double-digit growth rates.
To listen to the news broadcast in German, go to: https://oe1.orf.at/player/20180609/518113
Industry association for sustainable investment in Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland with more than 170 members, including banks, corporations, insurances, rating agencies, investment companies, asset managers, financial advisors, NGOs and private individuals. FNG promotes dialogue and the exchange of information between the worlds of business, academia and politics and has been working to improve the legal and political framework for sustainable investments since 2001. As Sustainable Investment Forum (SIF), FNG belongs to the European umbrella organization Eurosif. https://www.forum-ng.org/en/
OEGUT is an independent non-profit organisation which has been focusing on sustainability in the economy and society for more than 30 years. As a platform for this development, the OEGUT has brought together more than 100 organisations and institutions from economic backgrounds (organisations in the areas of waste management, finance, energy providers etc., interest groups such as the Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKO) and Trade Unions), administrative bodies, and environmental groups. https://www.oegut.at/en/
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