Sustainable investments in Germany, Austria and Switzerland continue to grow – exclusion of cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines becomes standard practice // 07.05.2014
Overall volume of the market in all three countries totals 134.5 billion euros – institutional investors are the key drivers of growth – almost 2.5 trillion euros of investments exclude cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.
Ever-increasing numbers of private and institutional investors are choosing to invest their money sustainably. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the volume of investments where not only financial indicators but also environmental, social and governance criteria are taken into account in the investment process has increased by twelve per cent within the space of a year. According to the Sustainable Investment Market Report 2014, published by Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG) on 7 May, the overall market in these three countries is now valued at 134.5 billion euros.
Looking at the latest market figures, Volker Weber, Chair of the Board of Directors at FNG, says, “The sustainable investment markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland have been showing positive growth for years.” The finance and sustainability expert adds, “Sustainable investments enable investors to align their financial goals with their particular values. In academic and political circles, sustainable investments are also increasingly being perceived as important drivers of sustainable development. The focus of attention is now shifting increasingly to the impact of sustainable investments.”
There has been particularly strong growth in the area of sustainable investment funds and mandates in Austria, which saw an increase of 29 per cent, but Switzerland and Germany have also recorded significant growth in this area (each with 17 per cent). In all three countries, the market for sustainable investments has also grown at a rate higher than the average for the conventional market. In a comparison of the three countries, Austria is leading the way here with a 4.5 per cent share of the sustainable segment.
Claudia Tober, FNG’s Executive Director, highlights the fact that institutional investors, in particular, attach great importance to sustainable investment criteria in the management of their assets. The sustainable investment expert points out, “In Switzerland and Austria, corporate pension funds are the most frequent investors in sustainable investment solutions, while in Germany religious institutions and charitable organisations account for the lion’s share of sustainable investments. But private investors also have a significant market share, of 41 per cent in Switzerland, 25 per cent in Germany and 14 per cent in Austria.”
Another important trend in all three countries is the application of the “Cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines” exclusion criterion to all assets under management. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, banned weapons are now excluded from investments totalling almost 2.5 trillion euros. “There is a clear movement here toward a standard which increasing numbers of financial players feel obliged to adopt,” stresses the financial and sustainability expert Volker Weber.
FNG has been publishing comprehensive data on the sustainable investment markets in Germany, Austria and Switzerland annually in its market reports since 2005. The data for this study was collected by FNG. Besides being used in the market report, the data will also be incorporated in the SRI Study by the European umbrella organisation Eurosif (European Sustainable Investment Forum), which will be published in October 2014. Publication of FNG’s Sustainable Investment Market Report 2014 would not have been possible without help from the following sponsors and supporters: Union Investment, GLS Bank, Kepler Fonds Kapitalanlagegesellschaft m.b.H., oekom research AG, Swisscanto Asset Management AG, Absolut Research, Bankhaus Schelhammer & Schattera, Inrate AG and RobecoSAM AG.
The Sustainable Investment Market Report 2014 – Germany, Austria and Switzerland and the English version of the chapter on Switzerland, Sustainable Investments in Switzerland – Excerpt from the Sustainable Investment Market Report 2014, are available for download free of charge.