Growing consumer demand for ethical investing: 4 in 5 Australians prepared to switch funds


Simon O’Connor

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 Australian’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.

“Consumer sentiment mirrors the continuing growth in the sector with responsible investment more than quadrupling over the past 3 years and nearly half of Australia’s assets under management now being invested through responsible investments” said RIAA’s CEO Simon O’Connor.

“As more Australians show a desire for their investments and savings to align with their values, those already investing their money responsibly are enjoying strong financial performance,” he added.

“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. Other key issues of concern for consumers, in terms of their investments, include animal cruelty (69%), human rights violations (62%), and pornography (56%).”

Millennials are leading the charge as the most likely group to invest in a responsible super fund that considers environmental, social and governance issues in addition to maximising financial returns (75%) and are the most likely to consider making ethical and responsible investments in the future (69%).

A persistent challenge is access to information, with over half (56%)the population believing there is not enough independent information available regarding switching to a responsible or ethical super fund, or option within a super fund.

To meet this demand, RIAA has launched a webtool,, which connects Australian consumers who care about responsible and ethical investing, with products that match their values.

“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” said O’Connor.

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