How responsible is your super? Is your fund in the top 13?

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The Responsible Investment Association of Australia (RIAA) has released its list of the 13 most ethical superannuation funds.

Consumer research conducted for the RIAA for its Super Fund Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2018 revealed that an overwhelming nine in 10 Australians expect their super or other investments to be invested responsibly and ethically.

Seven in 10 Australians would rather invest in a responsible super fund that considers the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues of the companies it invests in and maximises financial returns, rather than a super fund which considers only maximising financial returns.

Notably, four in five Australians would consider moving their superannuation or other investments to another provider if their current fund engages in activities not consistent with their values.

“If the superannuation industry is to realise its potential for fuelling a productive, prosperous, and healthy future for Australians, it needs to be one that embeds ESG considerations alongside traditional financial factors, avoids contributing to harmful activities and backs the building of tomorrow’s businesses, industries and communities,” the RIAA explained.

According to the RIAA’s report, 81 per cent of the largest super funds have now embedded a formal commitment to responsible investing (up from 70 per cent in 2016).

In 2016, the largest super funds offered 54 responsible investment options. That figure has now grown to 75, with 65 per cent of these options obtaining RIAA certification.

To rate the leading superannuation funds, the RIAA judges each fund on five pillars. These are:

  • Governance and accountability
  • Responsible investment commitment
  • Responsible investment implementation, measurement and outcomes
  • Transparency
  • Responsiveness

The report found 13 of the 53 funds they investigated demonstrated comprehensive responsible investment approaches across the five pillars.

The 13 leading responsible investment superannuation funds are:

Fund name

Fund category

Australian Ethical






Christian Super


First State Super


Future Fund

Public Sector



Local Government Super


Mercer Superannuation


NZ Super Fund






Vision Super


Does your superannuation fund make the list? Would you consider changing your superannuation fund to a more ethical fund?

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 20
  1. 0

    Ethical means many different things to super funds. None of these would pass my ethics.

    • 0

      Where’s Mick with his BS claims on super fund performances?? Must be off organizing the next ALP National Conference!

    • 0

      Trust the regular Lieberal-Party trolls here to poo-poo ethics. After all, Lieberals are greedy and 100% embrace the ‘ethics’ of self-interest.

    • 0

      Knows-a-lot, those “self-interested” individuals who you bag are the ones that pay taxes and are not living on OAP welfare
      They are working in the interest of those who need welfare, by :
      a) paying taxes
      b) not asking for government assistance in retirement

    • 0

      Yeah Knows-a-lot. They were let out of the morning Liberal Party meeting and primed to troll.

      It was interesting that not only do Industry Funds occupy the top of the performance ladder but they also fill 3 of the top 4 spots on ethical behaviour.
      Looks like the retail sector is as crooked as the banking sector which is now seeing staff personally charged. Go get ’em.

  2. 0

    I challenge the comment that:

    “Seven in 10 Australians would rather invest in a responsible super fund that considers the environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues of the companies it invests in and maximises financial returns, rather than a super fund which considers only maximising financial returns.

    Notably, four in five Australians would consider moving their superannuation or other investments to another provider if their current fund engages in activities not consistent with their values.”

    In my experience, any financial market will always have “self interest” as a short priced favourite.

    As with any poll, it’s not the results that are published, it’s the questions that are asked. It would be nice to see a copy of the questionnaire to see if the survey was loaded to provide the answers that those commissioning the survey were seeking.

    I’ve provided this link before from the TV show “Yes, Prime Minister” to show how a poll can be rigged to provide the answer needed.

    • 0

      I agree, given that about half of adult Australians vote for the Rightard parties, hence are motivated totally by feathering their own nests.

    • 0

      Only an idiot would not try and maximize his/her return on an investment such as super K-A-L. I suppose you go to the supermarket and ignore the specials??

    • 0

      OM – I see your point. I suspect most Australians would PREFER their funds to be ethical but that they would vote for returns ahead of this.

      Big Al – you may be the same sort of “idiot” who supports the coal industry and advocates burning the stuff until we all choke and the climate is no longer livable. Good for your bank account but not ethical. You through and through from your posts. Australia really needs citizens like that!

  3. 0

    What is “Responsible Investment” – NOT explained? I bet the 7 out of 10 people who voted for it didn’t know either.
    For example, if they were told that they may get less Returns because their Fund is investing as per “UN Framework Convention on Climate Change / Paris Accord” guidelines to lower the risk of Climate Change – would they accept the LOWER RETURNS? I DON”T THINK SO. A scary part is that the report also says the companies are hiring Managers who will support their list of “Responsible Investment” items – without ever having got a mandate for it.

    They MUST publish the “Responsible Investment” list of items for approval by Members of Super Funds and get acceptance by at least 2/3rd of Members to accept any such item (such as Climate Risk – presume supporting funding high-cost / low-return options against low-cost coal for energy, etc) to include such items which could REDUCE RETURNS. Members should be able to de-select such Options for investments as well (if they are being sneakily included without telling them).

  4. 0

    And only 5 are ‘industry’ funds!!! So much for industry super funds being ‘better’.

    • 0

      Gee KSS, whilst some of us thought that, you are the only one brave enough to voice your opinion. Bunker down and wait for the barrage from the usual suspects. Good luck.

    • 0

      Yes KSS, and did you notice that only two are retail funds and the public sector funds, which probably have restrictive requirements for entry (ie be government or local government employee), are well represented. How do we know that 11 – 20 are not all retail or industry funds. Before we make any comparisons we need to see possibly the top 100. By the way how does the performance of Australian Ethical stack up against the industry median?

    • 0

      My super fund made the list and is a public sector fund ……anyone can join, no restrictions.

    • 0

      KSS – this was a survey on ethical funds, not performance. By the way Industry Funds held 3 of the top 4 spots. Not bad by any measure.

    • 0

      So they are unethical in their performance then Mick?

      That’s alright then!

  5. 0

    Most superfunds include the option to invest in so called “ethical or green” investments
    If you believe in that tripe, you can instruct your superfund to allocate all or part of your money there
    Usually returns are not that great, so I dont bother
    Bit silly to invest in businesses that make low returns

    • 0

      Not according to K-A-L Raph. Anyone trying to max his/her return on super is greedy, according to our mate. So I guess he must be one of these types who will tell his boss not to bother paying him the award rate, because that is only for greedy people!!! Yeah, right!

    • 0

      You guys are so transparent. Cash for comment. As if readers cannot see through you.



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