Investing to change the world for good

Sustainable portfolios have attracted quarter of managed money

25 November 2018 - 00:09 By LAURA DU PREEZ

Can you use your investments to influence the attitudes of publicly listed companies on the environment, climate change or carbon resources? Can you force them to treat their workers, customers and shareholders fairly and honestly?
Advocates of sustainable investing believe that now, more than ever, you can play a role as global interest in sustainable investing rises.
Sustainable investing has until now largely been the preserve of big investors with long-term investment horizons, such as retirement funds, which can use members' funds to invest in private-equity projects with a social or environmental impact. These include infrastructure development and investments in renewable energy.
But sustainable investing is now going mainstream, Hortense Bioy, Morningstar's director of passive strategies and sustainability research, told the recent Morningstar investment conferences in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
$23-trillion invested
That is because of an increasing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in listed companies.
Bioy says that globally it is estimated that more than $23-trillion is invested in portfolios with an ESG focus - that is a quarter of all the money that is managed by professional managers around the world.
SA is seemingly following the trend. A recent survey by investment company Schroders among South Africans with more than €10,000 (R168,000) a year to invest found interest in sustainable investments was 13% higher than the global average.
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority has published a directive under the Pension Funds Act that, if implemented, will force funds to reflect on the sustainability of their investments...

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