BetaShares launches Australian ESG fund

Following on from its global offering, BetaShares has launched an exchange-traded fund targeting ASX companies meeting specific sustainability criteria.

The BetaShares Australian Sustainability ETF, traded under the ticker code FAIR, screens out ASX stocks engaged in the fossil fuel industry as well as "gambling, tobacco, armaments, uranium and nuclear energy, destruction of valuable environments, animal cruelty, chemicals of concern, mandatory detention of asylum seekers, alcohol, junk foods, pornography, human rights and supply chain concerns and payday lending."

BetaShares managing director Alex Vynokur said the new ETF reflects Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) research which indicated that 90% of Australians expect their investments to be "responsible and ethical," and that 80% would consider switching products if their current investments did not match their values.

"Demand for sustainable investing products is on the rise in Australia. More and more investors, especially younger Australians, are conscious about where their money goes and what kind of business activities they support," Vynokur said.

"What started as a niche area for not-for-profit investors and religious groups has now evolved into a strong and positive trend of increased consciousness regarding financial investments. We believe responsible investing will only continue to gain relevance."

As above, the new product follows the launch of the BetaShares Global Sustainability Leader ETF (ETHI). Investing in 100 global climate change leaders across developed markets, excluding Australia, the ETHI only invests in companies that are more than 60% more carbon efficient than its industry's average.

The ETHI's portfolio is weighted toward information technology, consumer discretionary and healthcare sectors, and also invests in companies with the potential to profit from the movement toward sustainability and healthy living.

"We believe ETHI will have particular appeal for the millennial generation, a demographic that is emerging as a driving force of both the ETF and the ethical investing industry," Vynokur said at the time.

Read more: AustraliaETHIASXAustraliansAlex VynokurAustralian ESGBetaShares Australian Sustainability ETFBetaShares Global Sustainability Leader ETFInvestment Association Australasia
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