AustralianSuper adds sustainable ETFs to platform

AustralianSuper has added two sustainable ETFs from VanEck to its Member Direct platform.

The VanEck Vectors MSCI International Sustainable Equity ETF (ESGI), VanEck Vectors MSCI Australian Sustainable Equity ETF (GRNV) will now be on offer to AustralianSuper members via the Member Direct option. A third, non-sustainable ETF, the VanEck Vectors MSCI World ex Australia Quality ETF (QUAL), was also put on the platform.

"Both superannuation and retail investors want to invest in products which have a positive impact and are socially responsible," said Arian Neiron, VanEck's CEO and managing director - Asia Pacific. "Both ESGI and GRNV leverage MSCI's leading Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) research capabilities to ensure only the inclusion of high ESG performers. ESGI screens for fossil fuels and socially responsible investments (SRI), combined with ESG leadership and low carbon impact. GRNV is a true-to-label Australian sustainable equity ETF encompassing both values-based and ESG investing.

"Both products have enjoyed robust inflows as investors globally move towards value-based investing. Climate change, various social awakenings driving systemic changes and the COVID-19 pandemic have focused investors' minds on ESG factors and more companies are being challenged for substandard behaviour and poor management of ESG factors, which ESGI and GRNV avoid.

Both ESGI and GRNV are certified as 'Responsible Investments' by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) according to the strict standards under the Responsible Investment Certification Program.

"VanEck's unique relationship with MSCI, the world's largest provider of ESG indices across both equities and fixed income, allows us to offer these low-cost and high performing sustainable investments to Australian investors," Neiron said.

These three ETFs join VanEck Vectors Australian Equal Weight ETF (MVW) and VanEck Vectors FTSE Global Infrastructure (Hedged) ETF (IFRA) on AustralianSuper's Member Direct platform.

AustralianSuper also lists the BetaShares Global Sustainability Leaders ETF (ETHI) on its investment menu as well.

"The Member Direct menu is updated annually to ensure that it meets members' investment needs," said an AustralianSuper spokesperson. "The new choices were part of the latest update in November 2020.

"The four new sustainable ETFs provide members with a broad choice of sustainable alternatives that cater to some members' investment values and which complement the Fund's Socially Aware option.

"The new additions replace two previous sustainable options that were offered to members."

ESG exchange traded products have shown booming growth recently. According to research from Rainmaker Information, the growth in ESG products has outpaced the wider ETP market. A July 2020 ETP report that focused on the growth of the ESG ETP sector noted that "since June 21017 the overall ETP market grew by 31% pa from $29.3 billion to $65.6 billion, Smart Beta products grew by 60% pa from $1.3 billion to $5.4 billion. ESG products meanwhile grew 76% pa from $325 million to $1.8 billion."

The Australian ESG ETP sector is has five participants - BetaShares, Russell Investments, Vanguard, VanEck, and InvestSMART, according to Rainmaker. UBS Asset Management withdrew from the Australian ETP market in May 2020.

Read more: VanEckAustralianSuperArian NeironRainmaker Information