Released today, the Responsible Investment Association Australasia’s (RIAA) study into the ethical investing behaviours of Australian investors has revealed that 82 per cent of Australians “consider important social issues” when investing.
Further, nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) of Australian investors or super fund members expect their money to be “invested responsibly and ethically”.
For 69 per cent, this means avoiding ventures that involve animal cruelty, while 67 per cent will think twice about companies with links to human rights and labour rights violations.
Women are more concerned (65 per cent) about investing in companies with ties to pornography than men (46 per cent) and gambling, with 38 per cent of men expressing concern as compared to 51 per cent of women.
“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,” the RIAA CEO 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,” he added.
The report also highlighted the way attitudes diverge when it comes to investing in and purchasing from companies with concerning ties.
Most (79 per cent) of Australians have at least one social issue, such as renewable energy or sustainable practices, in mind when they invest while 65 per cent think about these issues when they’re spending money on products and services.
However: “When thinking of issues to avoid supporting with their money, there is virtually no disparity between where they invest and from whom they purchase,” RIAA said, pointing to the 87 per cent who consider issues to avoid supporting when investing and the 86 per cent who keep these in mind when purchasing goods and services.
Breaking it down by generation
When it comes to purchasing goods and services, Baby Boomers are the generation most deterred by animal cruelty (73 per cent), while 69 per cent of Millennials and 63 per cent of Generation X consider it a turn-off.
Companies with links to pornography are also considered unpalatable by 62 per cent of Baby Boomers, 39 per cent of Millennials and 43 per cent of Generation X respondents.
As for investment decision, Millennials are the most likely to think investing in ethical companies (69 per cent) is a good idea, followed by Generation X (53 per cent) and Baby Boomers (39 per cent).
However, a quarter will “never” considering investing ethical funds, companies or super.
“Baby Boomers are the most likely to be decisive: they are most likely (26 per cent) to be already investing in ethical companies, funds or superannuation funds, yet are also the most likely to never consider doing so (35 per cent),” RIAA.
The report was released today to coincide with RIAA’s Responsible Investment Australia 2017 Conference and launch of its Responsible Returns web-tool. The tool allows consumers to connect with products that “match their values”.
Mr O’Connor said: “From investing in sustainable transport and education, to avoiding investing in armaments and fossil fuels, Responsible Returns allows users to filter products based on their areas of interest and location.”