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What is socially responsible investment, and are environmental and social issues important to you when investing?
From 1 July 2020, QSuper now manages its own Socially Responsible investment option, focusing on the environmental and social considerations members have told us they care most about.
But what does socially responsible investing mean and what are the different ways positive impacts can be achieved?
There are many terms and descriptions associated with investment strategies that are labelled as socially responsible.
Because it is a strategy, socially responsible investing does not necessarily mean investing only in products or businesses that work in the environmental, sustainability or social fields.
Rather, key to QSuper’s socially responsible investment approach is considering the impacts of an investment as well as the financial performance.
Most companies and investments have negative and positive impacts on people and the planet.
According to the Responsible Investment Association Australasia, responsible investment is the belief that companies or assets won’t thrive while ignoring issues around the environment like pollution, climate change and water resources, as well as social issues like local communities, employees, or health and safety.
There are numerous approaches to investing responsibly, including targeting positive impacts. This approach aims to measure and generate positive impacts of an investment and reduce the negative impacts.
Globally, more than US$30.7 trillion of assets are being professionally managed under responsible investment strategies, according to the RIAA.
Australians share this interest in wanting savings and super to be ethically and responsibly invested. A survey on socially responsible investing attitudes1 of 1,135 Australians aged over 18 commissioned by the RIAA in February 2020, found 86% of Australians expected their savings and super to be invested responsibly and ethically.
The research showed younger generations were prepared to back their concerns with their money. It found 73% of Gen Z respondents and 71% of Millennials (also known as Gen Y) said they would save and invest more if they knew that their money would make a positive difference. The study found this compared to 31% of Baby Boomers.
A survey of QSuper members2 also found that members prefer a socially responsible investment philosophy oriented towards maximising positive impact, with the most important issue being a positive impact on the environment.
From 1 July 2020, QSuper will manage its own Socially Responsible investment option, making changes to management of the option and the assets it invests in.
The QSuper Socially Responsible investment option seeks to contribute positively to the environmental and social challenges QSuper members have identified and prioritised.
The QSuper Socially Responsible investment option is targeting assets with positive environmental and social impacts, rather than just avoiding assets with negative impacts.
The option also aims to deliver on the same financial investment objectives of strong returns with fewer ups and downs, in line with QSuper’s unique investment approach.
Find out more about QSuper’s Socially Responsible investment option here.
1. Media Release, 18 March 2020, Australians’ looking to finance sector to deliver for society - new research, Responsible Investment Association Australasia, at https://responsibleinvestment.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/From-Values-to-Riches-2020-media-release-FINAL.pdf2. An online survey of 875 QSuper members carried out between 27 August and 9 September 2019The views expressed by the above-mentioned survey may not necessarily reflect the opinions of the QSuper Board. No responsibility is taken for the accuracy of any of the information supplied and you should seek advice for your circumstances.
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