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7 May 2021
Modern slavery and human rights showed increased dominance in environmental, social and governance (ESG) research aimed at informing and driving more responsible investment in Australia over the last year, following the far-reaching local and global impacts of COVID-19.
At the 11th Annual ESG Research Australia Awards held today at the RI Australia 2021 conference from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), Citi, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Suisse took out awards for excellence in ESG research by a broker. An additional award from RIAA was also presented to the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility for new ESG research by a non-broker.
The winners of this year’s ESG Research Australia Awards are:
The winner of RIAA’s ESG Research Award recognising excellence in investor relevant ESG research by a non-broking firm is:
3 November 2020
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has welcomed the Sustainable Finance Forum’s Roadmap Action Plan launched today in New Zealand.
“The financial sector has a central role to play in contributing to New Zealand’s long term social, environmental and economic wellbeing and prosperity. This Roadmap lays the foundation for ensuringfinance plays its part in delivering a sustainable, net-zero economy” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
“Once implemented, this Plan will position New Zealand as a global leader in sustainable finance, and build the resilience of its capital markets into the future”.
“We welcome the recommendation that definitions of sustainable finance products be further standardised, acknowledging the need for consumers to have confidence that products are delivering on claims and are true to label.”
“In particular, we welcome the specific recommendation that RIAA’s long running Responsible Investment Certification Program play a key role as a requirement for all default KiwiSaver providers, as well as for other investors making responsible investment claims. The importance of such assurance was underscored in our consumer research launched last week that showed that 82% of New Zealand consumers would be more likely to invest in a product certified by a third party.”
29 October 2020
As New Zealand prepares to release its sustainable finance roadmap, new research shows that more than three-quarters (78%) of New Zealanders with KiwiSaver or other investments believe that ethical or responsible investments perform better in the long term.
The new study, conducted by Dynata for Mindful Money and the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), highlights the significant consumer demand for responsible and ethical investment, as the industry continues to grow in its size and influence.
The study finds that savings could be boosted if people see a positive social or environmental benefit from their investments. Nearly two-thirds of New Zealanders would be motivated to save and invest more money if they knew their savings and investments made a positive difference in the world.
“We are seeing overwhelming support from consumers for their hard-earned money to achieve positive outcomes and to avoid causing harm” said RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor. “In an important signal to New Zealand’s KiwiSaver, banking and wealth management sectors, 58% of New Zealanders would consider switching their KiwiSaver or other investments to another provider if their current fund engaged in activities inconsistent with their values.”
“Demand for ethical investing remains strong through the COVID pandemic” says Mindful Money’s founder and CEO, Barry Coates. “Over 90% of those who do not perceive to currently have an ethical investment fund are intending to invest ethically, most of them within the next year. This is evidence of strong growth in the consumer movement.”
15 September 2020
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has welcomed the New Zealand Government’s announcement today that it will require the business and finance sector to report on climate risks.
“This marks a significant step forward and demonstrates New Zealand’s exemplary leadership on the global issue of climate change and the sustainability of New Zealand’s financial system and economy” said RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor.
“This requirement makes a pivotal contribution to New Zealand’s comprehensive engagement on climate change and help New Zealand to deliver upon its commitment to the Paris agreement. Once implemented, investors will be better able to price and value companies within the portfolios they manage, as well as realign portfolios to contribute to a lower carbon world.”
“New Zealand’s future resilience and prosperity depends on being able to navigate climate change risk. It is now the expectation that our finance and corporate sectors deliver positive social and environmental outcomes, and they need to be able to measure and report on these over time.”
15 September 2020
Companies which look after their employees, minimise their impact on the environment, have good governance and protect human rights across supply chains have become a key focus for New Zealand investors, the landmark annual study from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has found.
The new RIAA report undertaken in collaboration with KPMG, the Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2020 New Zealand, shows that the vast majority (94%) of New Zealand investors now have a commitment to responsible or ethical investing. However just over half (52%) can demonstrate a leading approach that is contributing to real world outcomes.
Responsible investors in New Zealand have shifted their focus from screening out harmful industries such as tobacco and armaments, to considering broader environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors when investing, as well as making impact investments which aim to deliver positive outcomes for society and the environment said Simon O’Connor, RIAA CEO.
8 September 2020
Companies which look after their employees, minimise their impact on the environment, have good governance and protect human rights across supply chains are more likely to deliver superior financial returns to investors, the landmark annual study from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has found.
The new RIAA report researched in collaboration with KPMG, the Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2020 Australia, shows that in 2019, Australian and multi-sector responsible investment funds outperformed mainstream funds over 1, 3, 5 and 10 year time horizons. Further analysis shows the outperformance has continued amidst the major market disruption brought on by COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant economic turmoil, severely impacting many people’s livelihoods and financial markets globally. However it’s become clear that responsible investors are ahead of the game. They are identifying the key themes influencing markets and returns, which helps them to better navigate turbulent times, avoid the biggest risks and capture more opportunities” said Simon O’Connor, RIAA CEO.
26 June 2020
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has welcomed today’s announcement that industry fund HESTA has committed to reducing the absolute carbon emissions in its investment portfolio by 33% by 2030 and being ‘net zero’ by 2050.
“HESTA is the one of the first large Australian superannuation funds to make carbon reduction commitments of this scale across its entire portfolio, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.” said Simon O’Connor, RIAA CEO.
“We welcome HESTA’s exemplary leadership. HESTA has read the tea leaves on the enormous risks that inaction on climate change poses to our economy and member returns.
“HESTA’s announcement reflects the increasing momentum within financial services companies in Australia for insurers, banks and super funds to commit to aligning their business with the Paris Agreement. We hope other large Australian super funds committed to responsible investment will swiftly follow suit.
“Increasingly we are seeing super funds step up to play an important role in delivering on critical agreements like the Paris Agreement in a manner that is aligned with their member expectations and is consistent with the direction our regulators are heading regarding climate risk guidance.
2 June 2020
The market for impact investing – investments that deliver positive social or environmental impact alongside a financial return – is experiencing exponential growth in Australia, more than tripling over the past two years from $5.7 billion to $19.9 billion, finds a new study launched today by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
The study, conducted for RIAA by Deakin University Business School, reveals the burgeoning appetite for impact investing, with Australian investors – from super funds to family offices – indicating they’d like to increase their allocation towards impact investments more than fivefold to $100 billion over the next five years, and invest in clean energy, housing, health and wellbeing, education and conservation, among other themes.
“As evidence mounts that companies with better records on social issues, environmental sustainability and good governance are more resilient to COVID market turbulence, this study shows a market delivering strong financial returns, while also positively impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people, such as through employment pathways, education, and health services, as well as benefiting our environment” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA.
23 April 2020
Topical issues of plastics and water scarcity, along with continued strong interest in climate change are among the key issues being researched within the finance industry to inform and drive more responsible investment in Australia.
At the 10th Annual ESG Research Australia Awards, Citi, Macquarie and Credit Suisse took out awards for excellence in ESG research by a broker. An additional award from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) was also presented to Ausbil Investment Management and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors for new ESG research by a non-broker.
COVID-19 presents the greatest of challenges to investors, and early signs are that many responsible investment funds and companies are holding up better than their peers. Investors rely on robust and rigorous ESG research and data to help navigate turbulent times, which is why RIAA is pleased to recognise the leaders in this important research.
The ESG RA Awards, attended by Australia’s leading superannuation funds, fund managers and broking firms, recognise excellence in environmental, social and governance (ESG) research published by broking firms.
The winners of this year’s ESG Research Australia Awards are:
The winner of RIAA’s ESG Research Award recognising excellence in investor relevant ESG research by a non-broking firm is:
• Best Piece of Investor Relevant ESG Research (non-broking firm):
Modern Slavery Reporting – guide for investors, by Mans Carlsson-Sweeny, Ausbil Investment Management and Kate Griffiths and Ian McIlwraith, Australian Council of Superannuation Investors. The Guide was an initiative of ACSI and RIAA’s Human Rights Working Group.
25 March 2020
Recent extreme weather events in Australia have led the nation to pay closer attention to where its money is being invested, with 86% of Australians expecting their savings and super to be invested responsibly and ethically, according to new research commissioned by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
The study, finds that in the wake of the devastating bushfires, 3 in 4 Australians would consider moving their banking and superannuation to an alternative provider that invests responsibly and ethically, and that environmental issues (80%) are of greatest concern when investing their money.
“This consumer sentiment mirrors the continuing growth of the sector with nearly half ($980 billion) of Australia’s assets under management now being invested through responsible investing” said RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor.
2 March 2020
In a world first, welcomed by RIAA, the NZ Government will require default pension funds to exclude investments in fossil fuel producers.
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) welcomes the announcement by the NZ government that will see the New Zealand pension system take strong steps to ensure New Zealanders auto-enrolled in a default KiwiSaver funds will not be invested in companies producing fossil fuels in addition to other strong mandated requirements for responsible investment commitments, starting June 2021.
This announcement comes at a time when there is increased recognition that the financial services sector must play a strong role in supporting the transition to a low carbon world, with ever greater numbers of investors setting in place 2050 emissions reductions targets, in line with global goals under the Paris Agreement.
This is a world first whereby default pensions will be mandated under law to exclude fossil fuels from portfolios, aligning with New Zealand’s strong commitments to take action under the Paris Agreement. Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA said: “RIAA welcomes this strong announcement by the NZ Ministers for Finance and Commerce and Consumer Affairs that will embed responsible investment into default KiwiSaver funds, consistent with RIAA’s own calls made in our submission to this review process.”
“This announcement recognises that investors who have strong commitments to a responsible investment including tackling climate change risks in their portfolios deliver better client outcomes.“
6 December 2019
Australian super funds that comprehensively engage in responsible investment are outperforming their peers over one, three and five-year time frames, a new report from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has found.
The report also shows that in the face of rising public concern and increasing financial materiality of climate change, the consideration of climate risk by super fund boards continues to grow, but there remains room for improvement.
This third edition of the Responsible Investment Super Study 2019 presents the results of an annual survey of Australia’s 57 largest superannuation fundsi – accounting for $1.75 trillion in assets under management.
“This year’s report shows that Australia’s largest superannuation funds – including industry, retail, corporate and public sector funds – are ramping up their engagement in responsible investing to drive superior financial performance, reduce risk, and deliver better outcomes for their members and beneficiaries,” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA.
81% of Australia’s largest super funds are committed to responsible investment (up from 70% in 2016), and 72% report annually on responsible investment activity (up from 44% in 2016), highlighting how responsible investing is increasingly being embedded within Australian investment markets.
11 October 2019
Investors have collaborated to produce a best-practice guide to reporting under Australia’s Modern Slavery Act.
Developed by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the best-practice guide builds on the Australian Government’s guidance.
The new Act has requirements for organisations in reporting the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. The ACSI/RIAA guide provides information for investors on how to incorporate investments into their modern slavery reporting and meaningfully address modern slavery risks.
ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said the new guide was developed to help investors report under the Act.
“Modern Slavery is likely to exist in the operations or supply chains of most businesses. Beyond the devastating human impact, poor management of human rights impacts upon the commercial success, stability and longevity of investments,” she said.
“ACSI and RIAA have collaborated to ensure investors have a clear path on how to tackle these issues and promote sustainability in their operations and supply chains. We encourage investors and companies to report within the spirit of the new law and work to develop their capacity to identify, manage, address and remediate modern slavery risks and impacts.”
“It will take time and global effort to address modern slavery. Effective reporting will help to drive global awareness and ultimately improvement in practices. Investors are well placed to lead the change.” She said.
RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor said the guide has been designed to help investors lead with action in respecting human rights and tackling modern slavery.
30 October 2019
More than 8 in 10 New Zealanders (83%) expect their KiwiSaver or other investments to be invested responsibly and ethically, new research commissioned by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) and Mindful Money has revealed. This compares with 7 in 10 New Zealanders (72%) in 2018.
In an important signal to New Zealand’s KiwiSaver, banking and wealth management sectors,
2 in 3 New Zealanders would consider switching their KiwiSaver or other investments to another provider if their current fund engaged in activities inconsistent with their values.
The NZ-wide polling, conducted by Colmar-Brunton in September, shows consumer demand for responsible and ethical investment is on the rise, as the responsible investment industry continues to grow in size and influence.
“The rising consumer sentiment around ethical investing is reflected by the continuing growth in the responsible investment sector in NZ” said RIAA’s CEO Simon O’Connor. “The challenge lies with fund managers to develop and provide consumers with suitable products which match their interests, concerns and values.”
Mindful Money’s founder and CEO, Barry Coates said “The survey shows that New Zealanders want to avoid investing in companies that do not reflect their values – human rights violations and labour rights abuses top the list. Now, for the first time, investors can see where their funds are invested by using the Fund Checker on Mindful Money’s website.”
23 September 2019
Impact investing is set to grow exponentially in Aotearoa New Zealand over coming years with strong interest from all types of investors including those not yet active in the field, according to a landmark study launched today.
99 investors – accounting for more than $83.5 billion of New Zealand’s assets under management – participated in New Zealand’s inaugural impact investment survey conducted by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) in partnership with The University of Auckland.
Respondents included investors already active in impact investing as well as those not yet active in the field, and comprised investment managers, impact investment fund managers, trusts, foundations, not for profit organisations, individuals, family offices and diversified financial institutions.
Impact Investor Insights Aotearoa New Zealand 2019, sponsored by AMP Capital, reveals that investors anticipate allocating a total of $5.9 billion to impact investing in the medium term. This would represent a six-fold increase in the capital currently deployed in impact investments, with $889 million of respondents’ capital currently earmarked as impact investments.
“This Report makes an important contribution to understanding how the demand for impact investing is shaping in New Zealand. It provides new insights into investors’ awareness and interest in impact investing, as well as the future prospects and challenges facing the growing field,” said Simon O’Connor, RIAA CEO.
9 July 2019
Responsible investing has emerged as a fundamental practice for New Zealand’s funds managers, and now accounts for more than 70 percent of total assets under management (AUM), according to the latest Benchmark Report issued by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA).
The fifth annual NZ RIAA Benchmark Report, released today by RIAA Chief Executive Simon O’Connor, shows a deepening commitment and more diverse range of offerings by asset managers, confirming responsible investing is now the bedrock of good investing.
With data compiled by KPMG, the Report shows the sector grew three percent to reach $NZ188 billion in 2018. This represents a threefold increase on the NZ$58 billion invested in responsible funds only five years ago, at the end of 2013.
Assets managed in accordance with responsible environmental, social and governance (ESG)_ principles now represent 72 percent of New Zealand’s total NZ$261.4 billion in AUM. By comparison, responsible investment funds in Australia represent just 44% of total AUM, according to RIAA’s latest Australian Benchmark Report released last week.
“Over the last year, we’ve seen responsible investment practices continue to mature as the focus shifts beyond avoiding investing in the most harmful industries, to seeking out investments that contribute positively to New Zealand communities and the planet, alongside delivering better financial outcomes,” Mr O’Connor said.
3 July 2019
Responsible investment funds are continuing to outperform most mainstream Australian and international funds, according to the latest Benchmark Report issued by the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA).
With data compiled by KPMG, the 18th annual RIAA Benchmark Report highlights that investors in responsible funds are reaping financial rewards with higher than average returns across one, five and 10 year horizons.
“The findings of our report refute any misconception that investing responsibly comes at a cost in terms of performance, and contributes to the mounting body of evidence showing that responsible and ethical investing leads to better investment outcomes, alongside benefiting people and the planet,” said RIAA Chief Executive Simon O’Connor.
Australia’s responsible investment (RI) market continued to grow in 2018, with $980 billion in assets under management, a rise of 13% on the previous year.
4 April 2019
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has welcomed the Government’s 2019-20 budget announcement of $5 million for the establishment of a Social Impact Investment Taskforce.
“Government has a critical role to play in the development of the market for impact investment and we welcome this announcement of a Taskforce to develop a strategy for Government’s future engagement” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA.
“RIAA’s Benchmarking Impact report showed that the market for impact investing quadrupled between 2015 and 2017. With nearly $6 billion of capital now being put to work to deliver a better society and environment through impact investing, we are now getting an insight into the potential of capital markets as a force to be harnessed for achieving a more prosperous and sustainable Australia.
2 April 2019
The Australasian region is leading globally in the uptake of responsible investing, with 63% of total assets under management in Australia and New Zealand using a responsible investment approach.
The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) has released its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2018, showing that global responsible investment assets reached US$30.7 trillion at the start of 2018, a 34% increase from 2016.
In its fourth edition, the biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review brings together the results from regional market studies by the responsible investment forums of Europe, the US, Japan, Canada, Australia & New Zealand. It also includes data on the African responsible investing market and highlights from several countries in North, Central and South America.
“It is pleasing to see the continuing growth of responsible investment, both in our region and globally” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia.
27 March 2019
The leaders and senior executives of Australia’s major banks, superannuation funds, insurance companies, financial sector peak bodies, civil society and academia are coming together to set out a roadmap for realigning the finance sector to support greater social, environmental and economic outcomes for the country.
The Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative has today been unveiled – an unprecedented collaboration to help shape an Australian economy that prioritises human wellbeing, social equity and environmental protection, while underpinning financial system stability, in what it says is a ‘critical decade’ ahead.
Modelled on international best practice already seen in groups including the European Union’s High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance and the UK’s Green Finance Taskforce, the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative will be guided by a Steering Committee charged with developing a set of recommendations to enable the finance sector to contribute more systematically to the transition to a more resilient and sustainable economy.
IAG Group Executive Jacki Johnson, co-Chair of the Initiative, said: “The roadmap we create will include pathways, policy signals and frameworks that will better enable the financial services sector to contribute to delivering on international commitments, such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, while underpinning economic stability and prosperity for Australia.”
4 February 2019
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has welcomed the final report of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, saying it is a clarion call for the finance sector in Australia to reflect upon its purpose and do more to service and benefit the Australian community.
“The Royal Commission has revealed widespread incidences of illegal behaviour, misconduct and unethical practices across the financial services sector. These have devastated the lives of many Australians, and highlighted diverse failings of our sector”, said Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA.
“This is a watershed moment for the finance sector. The industry and entities involved must reflect and remedy these wrongs, and address the gaps spanning leadership, culture and systems. From this stronger base, we can transform our industry for the better and start to align capital markets with achieving a healthy and sustainable society, environment and economy for all Australians.
“From banks to super funds, financial advisers, and insurance companies, we must work collectively to restore the trust of Australians. By concertedly placing consumer interest at the centre of the financial services sector, we can start on this path back to regaining people’s confidence.
“Acting in the best interests of clients means knowing our clients first, their financial needs, their life stage, goals and, importantly, their personal values. Only through this can we deliver on community expectations and ensure finance is acting in the best interests of clients, as was a core tenet of the terms of reference for this Royal Commission.”
Consumer research conducted by RIAA shows that 9 in 10 Australians expect their money to be managed with consideration of their personal values and ethics, alongside their financial interests. This includes consideration of the social and environmental impact of their investments, whether it be avoiding investments that contribute to human rights violations and animal cruelty, or supporting investments that deliver improved healthcare, education and renewable energy.
“Australians are concerned about fees and performance, but are also increasingly wanting to know how their investments and savings are working to improve the world they will retire into.
“With Commissioner Hayne’s final report, the real work must now start, to rebuild community trust in the finance industry, to improve the culture within the sector, and to truly deliver services and outcomes that Australians expect from finance.
“As we emerge from the Royal Commission, the finance industry is recognising the connectivity between contributing to a better society and environment, and achieving strong financial performance for Australians.
“Now, more than ever, the finance sector must commit to and deliver upon a responsible and ethical approach to finance.”
31 October 2018
Executive pay and climate change are among the key issues being researched and valued within the finance industry to inform and drive more responsible investment in Australia.
At the 9th Annual ESG Research Australia Awards held at the RI Australia 2018 conference in Melbourne tonight, Citi and Bank of America Merrill Lynchtook out the awards for excellence in ESG research by a broker. A new award from RIAA was also jointly presented to MSCI and the Centre for Policy Development for new ESG research by a non-broker.
The ESG RA Awards, attended by Australia’s leading superannuation funds, fund managers and broking firms, recognise excellence in environmental, social and governance (ESG) research published by broking firms.
The winners of this year’s ESG Research Australia Awards are:
Bigger, Badder and more Opaque: The Task ahead for Investors Undertaking 2 Degree Scenario Analysis, by Zoe Whitton and Edward McKinnon, Citi
CEO Incentives and Analyst Expectations for ASX100 Companies, by Sameer Chopra et al, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
The 2018 joint-winners for RIAA’s new ESG Research Award – recognising excellence in investor relevant ESG research by a non-broking firm are:
Climate Horizons Report: Scenarios and Strategies for Managing Climate Riskby Sam Hurley and Kate Mackenzie, Centre for Policy Development (with input from ClimateWorks Australia)
Alignment to climate regulatory scenarios: A case study of Australian companiesby Brendan Baker and Morgan Ellis, MSCI ESG Research
18 September 2018
A large majority of New Zealanders expect their Kiwisaver and investment funds to be invested ethically and are ready to shift their funds if company prac>ces are inconsistent with their values.
A new Responsible Investment Associa>on and Mindful Money consumer survey undertaken by Colmar Brunton has been released today revealing New Zealanders care deeply about how their savings are invested. The research was conducted online with 1,000 research panel members. The data has been weighted to ensure it is representative of the New Zealand population in terms of age, gender and regional spread. The maximum margin of error associated with this survey is ±3.1%.
It shows that people expect managers of their Kiwisavers and other investments to consider issues important to them, as well as delivering strong financial outcomes. The survey shows concern over a much deeper range of issues beyond just tobacco and controversial weapons when it comes to where their funds are invested.
16 August 2018
Responsible investment in New Zealand has hit a major milestone, with a new report finding the vast majority of professionally managed investments are now invested as responsible investments, with total assets under management having more than doubled in just two years.
Environmental, social, corporate governance and ethics considerations now sit alongside financial as critical components informing the investment decisions of the majority of New Zealand’s professional investors.
The 4thannual New ZealandResponsible Investment Benchmark Report 2018 (KPMG), the most comprehensive review of the sector,reveals the industry hitting new heights with $183.4 billion now managed as responsible investments, up from $131.3 billion in 2016 and $79 billion in 2015.
“The single most significant driver of growth in responsible investment is coming from the demand and desire from clients to align investments to their values – which we can track to the 2016 revelations of many KiwiSaver funds being invested in weapons and tobacco,” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA). “In that short amount of time, we have seen nearly the entire investment industry move to put in place a responsible investment approach, from 2.5% of the industry two years ago.
9 August 2018
Responsible investment in Australia has hit a major milestone, with a new report finding over half of all professionally managed investments in Australia are now invested as responsible investments. Environmental, social, corporate governance and ethics considerations now sit alongside financial as critical components informing the investment decisions of the majority of Australia’s professional investors.
The 17th annual Australian Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2018 (KPMG), the most comprehensive review of the responsible investment sector in Australia, reveals the industry hitting new heights with $866 billion now managed as responsible investments, representing 55 per cent of all professionally managed assets in Australia, up from $622 billion in 2016 (growth of 39% year on year).
“This is a major milestone to reach with a majority of funds invested in Australia now being invested under commitments to responsible investment,” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA. “We are now at a stage whereby issues such as climate change, human rights, corporate culture, diversity and a whole range of other important sustainability issues are right at the forefront of consideration by Australia’s finance community.”
19 July 2018
Investments that deliver positive social and environmental impact alongside a financial return are on the rise, with the market for impact investing quadrupling between 2015 and 2017, reveals a new report launched today by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) in partnership with the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) at Swinburne University.
Benchmarking Impact: Australian Impact Investment Activity and Performance Report 2018 presents the findings from analysis of impact investment activity and performance for a data-set of 51 Australian impact investment products active at 31 December 2017, with a total product value of $5.8 billion (up from $1.2 billion at 30 June 2015).
“The report reveals a diverse market delivering positive financial returns for investors while also benefiting the environment and impacting the lives of tens of thousands of people through employment pathways, education, and health services among other activities” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA.
“With nearly $6 billion of capital now being put to work to deliver a better society and environment through impact investing, we are now getting an insight into the potential of capital markets as a force to be harnessed for achieving a more prosperous and sustainable Australia.”
30 May 2018
Australia’s largest superannuation funds are ramping up their engagement in responsible investing to drive superior financial performance, reduce risk, and better meet their members’ and beneficiaries’ expectations, a new report from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has found.
From backing shareholder resolutions demanding company disclosure on climate risk to divesting from companies with poor governance or engaged in unethical activity, Australian super funds are increasingly flexing their muscle to influence better company behaviour.
RIAA’s Super Fund Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2018 finds that 81% of Australia’s largest super funds are committed to responsible investment (up from 70% in 2016), and 62% report annually on activity, highlighting how deeply responsible investing has become part of Australian investment markets.
The Super Fund Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2018 presents the results of a survey of Australia’s 53 largest superannuation funds1 – accounting for $1.4 trillion in assets under management.
29 May 2018
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has welcomed the Productivity Commission’s draft report Superannuation: Assessing Efficiency and Competitiveness highlighting the importance and benefits of Australia’s superannuation capital being invested responsibly to create the Australia its members want to live in and leave behind.
“We agree wholeheartedly with the Productivity Commission’s report that our superannuation system needs to work for all Australians, meeting the needs of members and retirees, and delivering high performance,” said RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor.
“Responsible investment provides a critical vehicle for Australia’s superannuation industry to optimise financial returns for its members. Environmental, social, corporate governance and ethical factors have become critical considerations in investment practice, increasingly impacting upon valuations and investment returns.
“Responsible investment funds are outperforming their average mainstream counterparts year on year, as the market for responsible investment continues to grow in Australia.
RIAA’s 2017 Responsible Investment Benchmark Report shows ‘core’ responsibly invested Australian share funds and balanced multi-sector funds have outperformed their equivalent mainstream funds over 3, 5 and 10-year horizons. Beyond RIAA’s own research, these findings have now been supported by academic and industry research from across the world’s most esteemed universities and institutions.
“The bulk of evidence now clearly concludes that to ignore environmental, social, corporate governance and ethical issues blinds investors to some of the key investment risks that are increasingly determining performance of investment outcomes,” said O’Connor.
15 November 2017
9 in 10 Australians expect their superannuation or other investments to be invested responsibly and ethically, new research commissioned by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has revealed.
In an important signal to Australia’s superannuation, banking and wealth management sectors, 4 in 5 Australians would consider switching their super or other investments to another provider if their current fund engaged in activities inconsistent with their values, and just over half will consider making ethical or responsible investments in the next 1 to 5 years.
The Australia-wide polling, conducted by Lonergan Research and launched today at RIAA’s Responsible Investment Australia 2017 conference in Sydney, shows consumer demand for responsible and ethical investment is on the rise, as the responsible investment industry continues to grow in size and influence.
2 August 2017
Investment funds in New Zealand have shifted towards responsible investing in droves over the past year, with negatively screened funds growing by over 2500% and reaching a total of $42.7 billion in 2016.
Following the large controversy around KiwiSaver funds in August 2016, there has been a massive increase in the use of negative screens to avoid investments in tobacco and controversial weapons, the latest Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2017 has found.
Launched today by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the Report shows ‘Core’ responsible investments – made up primarily of screened funds – jumped from $1.6 billion in 2015 to $42.7 billion at the end of 2016. This jump is primarily due to the introduction of negative screening of multiple issues by the majority of New Zealand’s KiwiSaver providers.
25 July 2017
Responsible investment funds are outperforming their average mainstream counterparts year on year, as the market for responsible investment continues to grow in Australia, the latest Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2017 has found.
Launched today by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the report shows ‘core’ responsibly invested Australian share funds and balanced multi-sector funds have outperformed their equivalent mainstream funds over three, five and 10-year horizons.
“It is a long out-dated myth that financial returns must be sacrificed to invest responsibly or ethically. The performance figures and trends we are now seeing each year are telling us the opposite story,” said Simon O’Connor, CEO of RIAA…
2 June 2017
London June 1 2017: The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, the collaboration of leading national sustainable investment bodies from Europe, the US, the UK, the Netherlands and Australasia, has expressed strong disappointment in the US Government’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The GSIA – representing $12 trillion of assets managed, banked or advised globally – has condemned the decision which comes at a critical moment when global capital is moving to play their part in financing the transition towards a low carbon economy.
The GSIA urges the Administration to reconsider the decision and join with the other 195 nations who are committed to tackling climate change through the Paris Agreement.
18 May 2017
A new initiative, the Impact Investment Forum, has been launched today to support development of the growing impact investment market in Australia and New Zealand.
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has established the forum as demand and interest grows in impact investing across all sectors, including with government, philanthropy and the superannuation industry.
Impact investing seeks to achieve measurable social or environmental impact alongside financial returns. RIAA’s Impact Investment Forum will act as a dedicated hub to connect and deepen the participation of organisations and individuals in this growing field.
The forum will build on the foundational work of the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing and Impact Investing Australia to catalyse the market for impact investing. It will receive assets Impact Investing Australia has incubated, including the Impact Investor Survey and Benchmarking Report on impact investment activity and performance.
As the market enters its next phase of development, RIAA’s Impact Investment Forum will take forward these critical pieces to develop market based data and practice. Together with other market based initiatives, this will complement the ongoing work of the Australian Advisory Board on Impact Investing and the initiatives Impact Investing Australia continues to drive, including Impact Capital Australia and the Impact Investment Ready Growth Grants.
“RIAA’s mission is to see more capital being invested more responsibly. Through the Impact Investment Forum, we want to develop and amplify the significant work done by Impact Investing Australia, and help take impact investing to scale,” said RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor.
9 May 2017
Retail supply chain management, workplace safety, gender diversity on boards, farming and antibiotic use, and climate change are among the key issues being researched by broking firms in Australia to inform responsible investment strategies.
At the 8th Annual ESG Research Australia Awards held in Sydney today, Citi and Credit Suisse took out the awards for excellence in ESG research.
The Awards, attended by Australia’s leading superannuation funds, fund managers and broking firms, recognise excellence in environmental, social and governance (ESG) research with three awards, including best new ESG research, best ongoing research and best ESG broking firm.
30 pieces of ESG research conducted during 2016 were nominated from seven broking firms, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), Citi, CLSA, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Macquarie Bank. Nominations were assessed by the ESG RA Research Evaluation Committee, comprising superannuation funds and fund managers.
The winners of this year’s ESG Research Australia Awards are:
27 March 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 27, 2017 – Today the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) released its biennial Global Sustainable Investment Review 2016, showing that global sustainable investment assets reached $22.89 trillion at the start of 2016, a 25% increase from 2014.
The Global Sustainable Investment Review brings together the results from regional market studies by the sustainable investment forums from Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia and New Zealand. Market information on Japan was provided by JSIF—Japan Sustainable Investment Forum; data on Asia ex Japan was provided by the Principles for Responsible Investment. GSIA leaders Flavia Micilotta, Executive Director of Eurosif: The European Sustainable Investment Forum; Lisa Woll, CEO of US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment; Meg Voorhes, Research Director at US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment; and Simon O’Connor, CEO of Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), hosted a media web conference on Monday, March 27th at 11:00 a.m. ET to discuss report findings.
24 November 2016
A new superfund benchmarking report launched at RIAA’s Responsible Investment Conference in Melbourne today has found that over two-thirds of the largest superfunds in Australia now have embedded a commitment to responsible investment, highlighting just how deeply the move to invest with a responsible approach has become a part of Australian investment markets.
The inaugural Superfund Responsible Investment Benchmarking Report (the Report) involved a detailed assessment and survey of the largest 50 superfunds1 in Australia – a universe that accounts for around $1.3 trillion of assets under management.
15 November 2016
Consumer polling released today highlights just how strongly New Zealanders believe their KiwiSaver providers should consider environmental, social and ethical factors as a part of delivering good investment products and financial returns.
A clear majority of respondents (81%) believe that it is important that KiwiSaver funds consider environmental, social and/or ethical factors providing a loud and clear signal to the industry that New Zealanders expect that their retirement savings are invested in a responsible manner.
Launched today at the New Zealand Responsible Investment Conference in Auckland, the polling very clearly highlights that New Zealanders don’t see this as a choice between financial considerations or personal values, but that both should be part of good investment practice.
27 July 2016
A significant sum of New Zealand’s capital is now being invested responsibly – totalling $NZ 78.7 billion – with early signs showing consumer demand is increasingly following this rise that has resulted in billions shifting from mainstream to responsible funds.
The new report launched today by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), shows this strong up take of responsible investment, from the largest institutions through to boutique funds and KiwiSaver products, is not only benefiting New Zealanders by underpinning strong investment strategies that deliver strong returns, but also contributing to a better environmental and social outlook for New Zealand.
13 July 2016
Nearly half (47%) of Australia’s investments are now being invested responsibly – totalling $633 billion – with a significant step up in consumer demand cementing this rise that has resulted in billions shifting from mainstream to responsible funds.
The new report launched today by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), shows it’s not only consumers who are benefiting, but financial advisers, superannuation funds, fund managers and banks who are leading the way in delivering great products with great returns, whilst creating a better environmental and social outlook for Australia.
“In observing the significant and consistent growth in responsible investment we can say without a doubt that this isn’t just a passing trend, but an evolution of the entire sector that is now being driven strongly by consumer demand and engagement with where they invest and bank their life savings,” said Simon O’Connor Chief Executive of RIAA.
“Years of demonstrated long-term investment benefits to investors, who consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, have quietly shifted around half of Australia’s investment industry to invest responsibly. Now, it is consumer demand targeted at superannuation funds, banks and financial advisers that is creating unstoppable momentum with implications for all parts of the finance sector,” said O’Connor
17 May 2016
The Seventh Annual ESG Research Australia (ESG RA) Awards function was held today in Melbourne. The award winners were:
At a luncheon function today in Melbourne attended by some of Australia’s leading superannuation funds, fund managers and broking firms, the coveted annual ESG Research Australia (ESG RA) Awards were announced.
ESG RA is an association of Australian superannuation funds, fund managers and asset consultants which has the single objective of increasing the quantity and quality of broker research in Australia that includes consideration of ESG issues (Environmental, social & governance issues). Membership currently represents over 50 institutions managing over $100 billion in Australian equities, and includes some of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, fund managers and asset consultants.
The awards ceremony also included an experienced panel showcasing and debating many of the very relevant issues raised by this broad array of research reports produced in 2015. The panel was expertly moderated by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia’s CEO Simon O’Connor.
Twenty-two pieces of research conducted during 2015 were nominated by members for consideration. Environmental and social research pieces dominated the nominated topics for this year’s awards with six nominations each.
Social issues included cyber security, employee safety, and payday lending, whilst climate change issues dominated the environmental nominations. Governance issues were also well represented with executive remuneration the dominant area of interest.
29 February 2016
Responding to the surging consumer interest in responsible and ethical investments, RIAA is today announcing the re-launch of its Responsible Investment Certification Program – a tool designed to help consumers and financial advisers navigate towards the growing range of responsible investment options.
RIAA’s Certification Program has been in place for 10 years and in recent months was revised and strengthened with a focus on the internal governance, program requirements, criteria and verification processes.
“With the recent work we have done on the Certification Program, we are now very excited to be bringing this to market at a time when it couldn’t be more important to provide clear, verified and transparent information about the rapidly growing range of responsible investment products.” said RIAA CEO Simon O’Connor.
14 August 2015
Responsible investment assets in New Zealand continue their strong growth reaching $63.5 billion following a 10% increase in 2014.
Launched today, the new report from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the most comprehensive review of the responsible investment sector in New Zealand (now in its 14th year, but the first year as a stand alone NZ report), found more money is being invested under responsible investment portfolios through superannuation funds, fund managers, advisers and kiwisaver accounts to underpin strong investment returns, and deliver a healthier environment and society.
11 August 2015
Responsible investment assets form an ever greater portion of the country’s investment industry reaching $630 billion of assets and showing no signs of slowing down.
The new report from the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the most comprehensive review of the responsible investment sector in Australia (now in its 14th year), found more money is being directed into responsible investment portfolios by superannuation funds, fund managers and advisers to underpin strong investment returns, and deliver a healthier environment and society.
24 February 2015
The global sustainable investment market has grown substantially in both absolute and relative terms, according to The Global Sustainable Investment Review 2014, a report released today by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA).
9 September 2014
The world’s leading responsible investment education business, the Responsible Investment Academy, will move to a new home with the Principles for Responsible Investment, enhancing the RI Academy’s global reach across the investment and finance community.
23 July 2014
Australia’s most comprehensive report into the responsible investment sector has found the market is undergoing a period of huge growth, with total funds under management in Australia and New Zealand in broad responsible investments increasing by 13% to $153billion.
13 February 2014
The RI Academy is pleased to announce the launch of new partnerships in Canada and India working with the Responsible Investment Association of Canada (RIA) and the Responsible Investment Research Association of India (RIRA).
28 November 2014
Most Australians (54%) would rather invest in a responsible super fund than a super fund which only considers maximising financial returns (46%), according to a national poll released today by RIAA.
11 July 2013
Whilst investment returns have strengthened to levels last seen before the Global Financial Crisis, responsible investment funds have surged even higher, outperforming both the benchmark and the average of mainstream funds over short and long term, in both Australian and international equities, according to the 2013 Responsible Investment Benchmark Report released today.
24 April 2013
The RI Academy today announces the launch of its first advanced course, Enhanced Financial Analysis, to help investors improve the practice of integrating these environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into fundamental investment analysis and stock valuation.
29 January 2013
The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA) today released a report on the size and trends within the sustainable investment industry which finds that globally at least US$ 13.6 trillion worth of professionally managed assets incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns into their investment selection and management.
21 January 2013
The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Simon O’Connor as its new Chief Executive. Mr O’Connor’s appointment follows Louise O’Halloran stepping down at the end of 2012 after more than a decade leading the growth of responsible investment in Australia.
17 August 2013
After 11 years at the helm of the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, Executive Director Louise O’Halloran has decided to step down to take a break from executive duties.