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Responsible investment is becoming more important for Australians

Australian consumers are placing more of a focus on responsible investment than ever before, a new report has revealed.

The Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) has conducted research to explore how Australians feel about the investments that affect their lives, finding that nine in ten now expect their superannuations or other investments to be carried out ethically and responsibly.

Such is the growing focus on ethical investments than four in five survey respondents even said they would consider switching to another fund provider if their current one did not match with their values. However, over half (56 per cent) felt that there wasn't enough information available on providers' ethics to help them to choose a more responsible one.

In addition, more than half of those questioned by the RIAA revealed they were planning to invest in an ethical or responsible manner themselves in the next 12 months to five years, with millennials most likely to be considering ethical investments.

Examples of responsible investment that consumers would like to see more of included putting their money in companies that were committed to building a cleaner energy infrastructure and avoiding any that supported factors that could be damaging to communities, such as weapons manufacturing.

Other common themes that Australian investors wanted to avoid as they pledged to spend their money more responsibly included animal cruelty, which 69 per cent were committed to avoiding, human rights violations (62 per cent) and pornography (52 per cent).

Simon O'Connor, chief executive officer of the RIAA, commented: "Consumer sentiment mirrors the continuing growth in the sector with responsible investment more than quadrupling over the past three years and nearly half of Australia's assets under management now being invested through responsible investments.

"As more Australians show a desire for their investments and savings to align with their values, those already investing their money responsibility are enjoying strong financial performance."

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