BetaShareshas announced that its Australian Sustainability Leaders Diversified Bond ETF – Currency Hedged (GBND) fund has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).
To earn the recognition, BetaShares had to demonstrate investors were given access to detailed information about how GBND takes into account Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors and ethical issues into the investment process.
GBND, which was launched in November, 2019, aimed to provide access to a portfolio of high-quality bonds meeting strict responsible investment standards in a single ASX trade and utilise strict ESG screening processes to ensure that investors were accessing a ‘true to label’ portfolio of Australian and international bonds.
Bond issuers would be excluded if they had material exposure to the fossil fuel industry or were engaged in other activities that carried significant negative ESG risks e.g. gambling, tobacco or a lack of gender diversity at board level, the firm said.
“With interpretations of responsible investing varying widely, we’re finding investors are increasingly insisting that their money is being invested in a way that aligns with their values, rather than ethical in name alone. The strict screening process each bond must pass to be eligible for the portfolio enables GBND to offer ‘true to label’ ethical investment exposure, BetaShares’ chief executive Alex Vynokur said.
Ethical exchange traded funds (ETFs) with strong ESG principles were growing in popularity before the virus began, and since mid-February of this year BetaShares’ ethical ETF range attracted more than $60m in assets, despite a challenging backdrop for investors, Vynokur added.
“We are delighted to have our most recent ethical ETF, GBND, recognised by the RIAA certification program. The program has been valuable in helping investors make confident decisions about accessing transparent, sustainable options in Australia.”