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Sustainable Investment Market Report 2012: Sustainable investments in Germany, Austria and Switzerland once again show strong growth – exclusion criteria join the mainstream // 24.09.2012

The volume of sustainable investments in these three countries stands at 103.5 billion euros / “Cluster munitions” exclusion criterion used in the investment of over one trillion euros / Insiders anticipate further growth surges and see institutional investors as the major drivers of growth

The upward trend in sustainable investments seen in previous years continued in 2011. According to the Sustainable Investment Market Report 2012 published by Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG) in Berlin on 24 September, the sustainable investment markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland together recorded growth of just under ten per cent.  The total market volume for all three countries combined stands at 103.5 billion euros. Furthermore, policy decisions by investors mean that over one trillion euros of investment capital is not being made available to manufacturers of cluster munitions.

“The investment strategy of excluding from the outset any investment in ethically questionable areas has become mainstream,” says FNG Chairman Volker Weber, expressing his delight at the trillion-euro figure. “The fact that more and more financial institutions are turning off the tap to manufacturers of cluster munitions represents a huge step forward for all of us,” adds Weber, an expert on finance and sustainability.  Weber describes the strong growth in the sustainable investment markets as “a considerable and important contribution to a sustainably oriented economy.”

Germany and Austria, with growth rates of 11 and 62 per cent respectively, have been the main contributors to the growth of the sustainable investment markets in the German-speaking countries, which extends beyond the exclusion of manufacturers of controversial weapons. The sustainable investment market in Switzerland, despite the difficult environment, remained stable with an upward trend. In Austria and Switzerland, institutional investors were able to increase their market shares in the mutual funds and mandates segment. In Germany, by contrast, this segment saw an increase in the market share of private investors.

However, Claudia Tober, FNG’s chief executive, points out that in all three countries it is demand from institutional investors which is expected to be the main driving force behind further market growth. “Asset managers are extremely optimistic about future market trends,” adds Tober. “With regard to the future development of the various sustainability strategies, many of those surveyed anticipate that integrating environmental, social and governance criteria into traditional financial analysis is likely to increase in importance.”

In 2011, the use of exclusion criteria was followed by the best-in-class strategy as the next most important investment strategy overall in all three countries. Under this approach, asset managers invest in those companies which perform best in terms of sustainability. The third most popular investment strategy was that of integration.

The “Sustainable Investment Market Report 2012 – Germany, Austria and Switzerland” is the sixth such report to be published by FNG. The data for this study has been evaluated by FNG, in Switzerland with the assistance of an external partner. The data will also be included in the Eurosif study on the sustainable investment market in Europe, due to be published on 4 October 2012.

This year, FNG has been fortunate enough to obtain the following supporters and sponsors for its market report: Absolute Portfolio Management GmbH, Absolut Research GmbH, Bankhaus Schelhammer & Schattera, Green City Energy AG, Swisscanto Asset Management AG and Union Investment. We would like to express our special thanks to them.

Download the press release.


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