Perennial Partners funds recognised by RIAA

RIAA Perennial Perennial Partners ESG greenwashing

7 June 2024
| By Laura Dew |
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Amid growing demand from clients for sustainable products, two funds from Perennial Partners have been certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA).

The Perennial Better Future Trust and Perennial Better Future Fund (Managed Fund) have both been classified as Sustainable Plus by the organisation under a new certification.

Perennial Better Future Trust, which was launched in 2018, is described as “authentic ESG-focused fund that seeks to invest in smaller and mid-cap companies that are positively shaping a better future”. 

The ASX-listed Perennial Better Future Fund is an actively managed portfolio of small and mid-cap companies seeking to invest in sustainable themes such as healthcare, renewable energy, low-carbon technology and improving social welfare.

The trust was first certified by RIAA in 2020, while the ASX-listed version was certified at the start of 2024; Perennial Partners is one of RIAA’s Responsible Investment Leaders. 

RIAA’s sustainability classification introduces funds as Responsible, Sustainable or Sustainable Plus and is particularly relevant given ASIC’s focus on greenwashing enforcement to prevent funds from making misleading statements on their fund materials.

In the case of Perennial, the classification of the two funds signifies a product has met all the criteria in that:

  • Sustainability objectives are clearly stated in legal documentation and are binding and measurable.
  •  Measurement is disclosed.
  • Investment selection and ownership activities align with sustainability objectives.
  • Performance against one or more stated objectives and/or targets is tracked and reported.

The new sustainability classifications build on RIAA’s existing Responsible Investment Certification Program which has been running since 2005.

“In today’s market, the diversity of investment products can be overwhelming. RIAA’s sustainability classifications cut through the complexity and allow your product to be differentiated, attracting a growing segment of investors who prioritise sustainable and responsible investments,” the organisation said.

In this year’s federal budget, the government said it will provide $17.3 million over four years from 2024–25 (and $3.1 million per year ongoing) to promote the development of sustainable finance markets in Australia. As well as funding to allow ASIC to take action on greenwashing misconduct, it will also support the design of a labelling regime for sustainable retail investment products.

Estelle Parker, RIAA co-chief executive, recommended this proposed labelling regime takes examples from RIAA’s own Responsible Investment Certification Program.

“A regime that is informed by RIAA’s extensive experience in sustainable investment labelling can establish a leading practice for Australia,” she said.

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