Sustainable Investment Market Report 2017 – Sustainable investment market in Germany, Austria and Switzerland makes significant gains yet again

02 June 2017

Berlin/Vienna/Zurich, 1 June 2017 – Sustainable investments are continuing to increase in importance. In 2016, this market again saw disproportionately high growth in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with overall growth standing at 29 per cent. The latest annual statistics from FNG – Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen for these three countries put a figure of almost 420 billion euros on investments in which not only financial but also environmental and social criteria are taken into account. If investments which factor in one or more sustainability aspects or strategies are also included, the total comes to over four trillion euros.

The strongest growth in sustainable investments was recorded in Switzerland (+39%), followed by Austria (+24%) and Germany (+15%). "Each year, we see increasing numbers of investors opting for sustainability in the management of their assets," says Volker Weber, Chair of the Board of Directors at FNG, commenting on the latest market figures. "Institutional investors, in particular, are increasingly being won over, while we know from asset managers that more and more of them see factoring in non-financial criteria as a normal part of their fiduciary duties."

The current FNG market report shows that public pension and reserve funds are ahead of the field among institutional investors in Germany and Switzerland, with market shares of 43 per cent and 47 per cent respectively. In Austria, by contrast, pension insurance funds are out in front (59%). However, insurance companies, occupational pension funds, religious institutions and charities, as well as foundations, all to varying degrees account for considerable volumes, depending on the country.

This year's FNG market report includes a special focus on human rights issues. Asset managers see the following sustainable investment strategies as being particularly effective in this regard: excluding companies and countries from the investment universe, exercising voting rights and engaging in dialogue with companies (engagement), as well as checking investments for their compliance with standards. The ILO’s core labour standards and the UN Global Compact are particularly relevant here.

"The survey shows that large numbers of asset managers already see human rights as an intrinsic part of their responsibility," explains Claudia Tober, FNG’s Executive Director. "Further important motives include reputational management and customer demand. Overall, human rights are more and more being systematically taken into account in the financial sector, a development driven to a great extent by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, published in 2011.

This year, the annual statistics on sustainable investments are being published to coincide with European Sustainable Development Week.

FNG collects the data for the FNG Market Report itself. The chapter and the separate publication relating to the Swiss market were produced by FNG in collaboration with Swiss Sustainable Finance. The FNG market report could not have been produced without the support of a few very committed association members. Particular thanks are due to the following sponsors and supporters: Union Investment, oekom research AG, BIB – Bank im Bistum Essen eG, Deutsche Bildung AG,, GES Switzerland, NKI – Institut für nachhaltige Kapitalanlagen, KlimaGut Immobilien AG, Pictet Asset Management, Qualitates GmbH, Raiffeisen Kapitalanlage GmbH, RobecoSAM and South Pole Group.