Australians among most active ESG investors

Published on
June 5, 2019
twitter sharing button
linkedin sharing button
Australians among the most active ESG investors globally

Australian investors currently have $30 billion dollars invested in products that are specifically created as an ESG (environmental, social and governance) offering, which has grown by 37% in the 12 months to December 2018. Alongside this, balanced ESG superannuation options outperformed other balanced options in the 12 months to April 2019.

Australia currently has 141 signed and active ESG investment providers that have products aligning with the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI), making Australia the fourth most active country for ESG investment awareness.

One quarter of Australia's ESG investment providers are superannuation funds and almost half of Australia's superannuation savings are overseen by funds and investment managers that follow ESG investment principles.

These insights are revealed by Rainmaker Information, which publishes the superannuation information portal

The latest analysis further indicates that ESG superannuation investment options are among some of the better performing options across one, three, five and ten years.

AustralianSuper's 'Socially Aware' option is the best option over 10 years in the balanced sector, HESTA's 'Eco-Pool' growth option is the fourth best over ten years and fifth best over five years in the growth sector, while WASuper's 'Sustainable Future' option is the sixth best balanced option. This performance is all relative to the three years to April 2019.

Best performing ESG options 5 year return p.a. to April 2019
HESTA - Eco-Pool 10.3%
Australian Ethical Retail Superannuation Fund Employer - International shares


UniSuper - Sustainable High Growth


AMP SignatureSuper - Responsible Investment Leaders international Share


Mercer Super Trust Corporate Super Division - Mercer Socially Responsible Shares


Christian Super - Ethical High Growth


NGS Super - Socially Responsible Diversified


Equip MyFuture - Sustainable Responsible Investments


WA Super - Sustainable Future


Lutheran Super - High Growth All Australian Shares Socially Responsible Investment 7.05%
Source: Rainmaker Information

Alex Dunnin, Executive Director of Research at Rainmaker Information explains "these results show that investors give up nothing when they invest according to ESG principles, though a fund following ESG principles should never be used as an excuse for under-performance."

Supporting this is a 0.6% performance gap in favour of ESG options over the one year period to April 2019.

Biggest super funds with ESG options

Total ESG FUM ($M)





Christian Super






Source: Rainmaker Information

"And this is the point of ESG - it's all about taking into account the long term risks which must include environmental and sustainability factors. The debate about ESG has long moved on from having to defend investing this way. In fact, it's now the other way around - how can long-run investors not take these factors into account?"

Dunnin added that "the increase in funds invested into ESG related products as well as an increase in the number of super funds following these principles across their whole portfolio highlights that following ESG principles is simply good practice. It's no coincidence that the Reserve Bank and the superannuation regulator have the same view on this."

Get connected with leading insights for financial services professionals

Contact our Business Development team to receive further details of Rainmaker's products and services.