In fact, there has been a 29 per cent rise in ethically managed investment over the past two years. According to a report by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, the total number of assets managed responsibly in the Australasian region rose from 34 per cent in 2016 to 63 per cent in 2018.
This is not just the big players making an impact. New technology is making it possible for individuals to drive change through personal investment.
One app released in November 2018 allows users to match with investment opportunities based on their values.
It’s called Goodments, and it works by asking users to identify issues they care about, such as renewable energy or diversity in the workplace, as well as those they want to avoid, such as palm oil and fossil fuels.
It then offers a selection of appropriate shares and funds from a pool of over 2000, giving each a “Goodments score” out of 100 based on their sustainability performance.
This score is based both on “what they say they are doing, and what they are actually doing,” co-founder and chief executive officer Tom Culver told The Fifth Estate.
A Goodments score of over 70 is considered a strong sustainable performer, Mr Culver said.
“Those who are doing the best are doing what they are saying, the middle scorers say they are doing good things but aren’t acting on them, and those scoring the worst are neither saying nor doing anything sustainable.”
The app also offers users information about how each company is performing financially, and allows users to trade directly with the company of their choice, rather than requiring them to go through a fund as many other apps do. Although there is the option to go through funds as well.
Mr Culver explained this choice was important, as the common audience for Goodments were younger people who don’t always find funds attractive.
That’s the problem with funds. They are run by anonymous people, and in Australia, this is often old white men in sitting behind a desk making decisions based on what they think.”
The Goodments is planning to expand to the UK later in 2019.