88% of Aussies want responsible investment options in super

3 December 2019

Almost 60% of Australians would pay closer attention to their superannuation if their provider reported on environmental and/or social impact of their investments, according to a survey.

A Franklin Templeton survey found interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) style investing could be used to enhance member engagement across all demographics.

An average of 88% of the 2,000 respondents thought their super fund should offer a responsible investment option. Of these, 44% of Baby Boomers and 36% of Gen X said this was a ‘very important’ issue, compared to 34% of Gen Y.

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Source: Franklin Templeton

Another 56% of Gen Y respondents said they wanted their fund to offer investment options that aimed for a positive impact, along with 44% of Gen X and 41% of Baby Boomers.

Franklin Templeton managing director, Matthew Harrison, said the survey reflected a shift in the current landscape of responsible investments in Australia due to a growing appetite.

“What these findings seem to be telling us is that people are not apathetic about their retirement finance and communicating with people about how their investments might address environmental and social concerns may be a good avenue to strengthen member engagement,” he said.

“While there is growing discussion at the board room level about ESG issues and investing for impact, it is likely there is more that can be done to ‘join the dots’ for everyday Australians so they better understand the role their money can play. We believe asset managers, super fund providers and financial advisers all have a crucial role to play in this.”

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I wonder if this also applies to non-super investments and if so what are advisers doing about it in terms of sourcing socially responsible or impactful investments in areas like affordable and disability housing, renewable energy, rural farmland and co-investing in rent-to-own, for a portion of their client portfolios.

IF these "60%" or the "88%" really cared that much about it, and i find that rather questionable given there is many super funds already with an a green or ethical bent, also lots of investment options within super platforms (and non-super) with similar approach ... so why is the take up rate very low?

Because when asked a leading question that aligns with their ideals, they respond positively to that question.
Other than that, the vast majority of average Australians are relatively lazy and non-committal to seeking advice, paying for advice or acting on advice regarding their superannuation.
Many just want someone to do it for them for next to nothing.
If they were asked a question whether they would prefer a return on their investment of 44% on a Geared Share fund that is not specifically environmentally focused or a return of 8% on an environmentally conscious and specific investment option that had the same risk profile and volatility factors it would be more accurate as to attitude.
There is not much point in calling for green house emissions and global warming to be addressed by Govt , if you are driving around for 20 years in a clapped out motor vehicle belching black exhaust smoke and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere but want your super fund to be a clean, green investment vehicle.
The future benefits of superannuation funds investing heavily in renewables and environmentally sensitive options in terms of driving capital injection is immense, but Trustees also have to be careful they are also offering the availability of options that are in their members best interests and have the potential to provide meaningful returns and retirement accumulation.

Well said Agent 86, i would add that a lot of people are also lazy to even open their annual statements. And again if they really wanted to offset that "20 years in a clapped out motor vehicle belching black exhaust smoke and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere" they can already just need the real will to do it

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