BlackRock has announced the launch of its new unlisted iShares ESG-focused Global Bond Index Fund for Australian institutional and retail investors.
The fund would aim to offer an access to a core fixed income exposure to global fixed income securities for environmental, social, governance (ESG) aware investors, the firm said.
It would apply the MSCI’s SRI methodology and exclude issuers across right core categories: tobacco, alcohol, gambling, military weapons, civilian firearms, nuclear power, adult entertainment and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Further to that, it would also exclude sovereign and government-related issuers with an MSCI ESG Government rating below BB.
The company said that, similar to the iShares ESG Australian Bond Index Fund, its newly-launched fund was developed in partnership and seeded by $23 billion superannuation fund VicSuper.
VicSuper’s chief investment officer, Andrew Howard, said: “Our members are increasingly concerned about ESG-related issues, and they are taking action by choosing to invest their retirement savings in a way that aligns to their values.”
Craig Vardy, head of fixed income at BlackRock, stressed that sustainable investing was no longer a niche area and was growing in the mainstream, mostly due to increased access to more granular data and better societal understanding of sustainability.