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May 13, 2014

Sustainable Investment Increasing in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland
    by Robert Kropp

Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen, a Eurosif member and the sustainable investment industry association for the three countries, reports that overall market now exceeds $184 billion.

SocialFunds.com -- The Sustainable Investment Market Report 2014, published this week by Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG), finds that the sustainable investment market in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland has increased by 12% in the space of one year. “The overall market in these three countries is now valued at 134.5 billion euros ($184.4 billion),” FNG stated.

FNG is the sustainable investment industry association for the three countries, and a founding member of Eurosif, the European sustainable investment forum, as well. The results of FNG's study will be incorporated into a study of trends across Europe that will be published by Eurosif later this year.

Increases in sustainable investment funds and mandates occurred in each of the three nations, with Austria leading the way at 29%. In Germany and Switzerland, funds and mandates increased by 17%.

The report also noted that sustainable investment in all three countries grew at a higher rate than did the mainstream market.

“In Switzerland and Austria, corporate pension funds are the most frequent investors in sustainable investment solutions, while in Germany religious institutions and charitable organizations account for the lion’s share of sustainable investments,” FNG Executive Director Claudia Tober said. “But private investors also have a significant market share, of 41 per cent in Switzerland, 25 per cent in Germany and 14 per cent in Austria.”

It's unclear from the organization's press releases how much of sustainable investment fund have been earmarked for the all-important transition to a low-carbon economy. FNG highlights a traditional strategy of exclusion, reporting that manufacturers of cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines are excluded from investments totaling almost 2.5 trillion euros ($3.4 trillion).

In its 2012 survey of sustainable investment in Europe, Eurosif found that almost half the total assets under management in Europe now exclude weapons such as cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines.

“Continued and increasing focus on investors by national and EU legislators is the likely cause of this as legislators make moves to safeguard Europe from future financial turbulence caused by short-sighted behavior,” the report stated.

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