Socially Conscious launched in response to member research

We've launched our socially responsible investment option in response to extensive member and employer research, which revealed that 87% of those surveyed believe socially responsible investing is important.1

VicSuper was one of the first superannuation funds to offer an investment option of this kind when it launched its Equity Growth Sustainability option in 2001. In early 2017, VicSuper evolved it into the Socially Conscious investment option. The new look option allows VicSuper members to invest in a socially responsible way. All with comparable fees to a typical balanced investment option.

VicSuper Chief Investment Officer Andrew Howard commented: “VicSuper has offered a responsible investment option for years and we believe that it’s important to offer our members choice. We’ve built Socially Conscious so that it has competitive investment fees, and shifted the asset allocation to a medium risk profile to open up access to more of our members. I’m happy to report the number of members and the value of funds under management in Socially Conscious is already growing.”

When asked about the Socially Conscious option, 84% of surveyed VicSuper members indicated that they would consider moving some or all their investments to it.2 This sentiment is supported by recent social research undertaken by Sustainability Victoria, which shows that 4 out of 5 Victorians are willing to take action on environmental and social issues like climate change.3

VicSuper’s Socially Conscious investment option aims to help members:
  • take action on climate change by not investing in companies that hold fossil fuel reserves used for energy purposes or whose principal business revenue is derived from direct fossil fuel activities;
  • minimise social harm by not investing in companies that are materially involved in activities that potentially cause social harm, for example tobacco production, alcohol, gambling, military weapons, civilian firearms, pornography and genetically modified organisms;
  • protect human rights, labour rights and the environment by not investing in companies that have been involved in severe incidents and/or controversies, or have been found to not be adhering to widely accepted global conventions.
These objectives apply to the equities component of the option, which invests in companies sourced from a custom index designed for VicSuper that combines the MSCI Global Fossil Fuels Exclusion Index, the MSCI Global Socially Responsible Index and an additional fossil fuel direct activity screen. The other asset classes in the option integrate an environment, social and governance (ESG) approach. The Socially Conscious investment option has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association of Australia as a socially responsible investment option.4

VicSuper’s Manager of Corporate Responsibility Kirsten Simpson said: “Most people don’t realise that they can make a real difference through their super. VicSuper has had a long term commitment to sustainability issues, and now with our Socially Conscious option, our members can invest in alignment with their social and environmental values and not pay any extra to do it. The most recent Morningstar research shows that funds that are labelled "ESG" or "ethical" are generally more expensive than non-ESG funds.5


1 VicSuper member survey, 2016
2 VicSuper member survey, 2016
3 Climate Change Social Research
4 VicSuper’s Socially Conscious Option has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association of Australia (RIAA) according to the strict operational and disclosure practices required under the Responsible Investment Certification Program. Find out more. The Responsible Investment Certification Program does not constitute financial product advice. Neither the Certification Symbol nor RIAA recommends to any person that any financial product is a suitable investment or that returns are guaranteed. Appropriate professional advice should be sought prior to making an investment decision. RIAA does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence.
Ethical investment gathering momentum, Morningstar

We've launched our socially responsible investment option in response to extensive member and employer research, which revealed that 87% of those surveyed believe socially responsible investing is important.1

VicSuper was one of the first superannuation funds to offer an investment option of this kind when it launched its Equity Growth Sustainability option in 2001. In early 2017, VicSuper evolved it into the Socially Conscious investment option. The new look option allows VicSuper members to invest in a socially responsible way. All with comparable fees to a typical balanced investment option.

VicSuper Chief Investment Officer Andrew Howard commented: “VicSuper has offered a responsible investment option for years and we believe that it’s important to offer our members choice. We’ve built Socially Conscious so that it has competitive investment fees, and shifted the asset allocation to a medium risk profile to open up access to more of our members. I’m happy to report the number of members and the value of funds under management in Socially Conscious is already growing.”

When asked about the Socially Conscious option, 84% of surveyed VicSuper members indicated that they would consider moving some or all their investments to it.2 This sentiment is supported by recent social research undertaken by Sustainability Victoria, which shows that 4 out of 5 Victorians are willing to take action on environmental and social issues like climate change.3

VicSuper’s Socially Conscious investment option aims to help members:
  • take action on climate change by not investing in companies that hold fossil fuel reserves used for energy purposes or whose principal business revenue is derived from direct fossil fuel activities;
  • minimise social harm by not investing in companies that are materially involved in activities that potentially cause social harm, for example tobacco production, alcohol, gambling, military weapons, civilian firearms, pornography and genetically modified organisms;
  • protect human rights, labour rights and the environment by not investing in companies that have been involved in severe incidents and/or controversies, or have been found to not be adhering to widely accepted global conventions.
These objectives apply to the equities component of the option, which invests in companies sourced from a custom index designed for VicSuper that combines the MSCI Global Fossil Fuels Exclusion Index, the MSCI Global Socially Responsible Index and an additional fossil fuel direct activity screen. The other asset classes in the option integrate an environment, social and governance (ESG) approach. The Socially Conscious investment option has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association of Australia as a socially responsible investment option.4

VicSuper’s Manager of Corporate Responsibility Kirsten Simpson said: “Most people don’t realise that they can make a real difference through their super. VicSuper has had a long term commitment to sustainability issues, and now with our Socially Conscious option, our members can invest in alignment with their social and environmental values and not pay any extra to do it. The most recent Morningstar research shows that funds that are labelled "ESG" or "ethical" are generally more expensive than non-ESG funds.5


1 VicSuper member survey, 2016
2 VicSuper member survey, 2016
3 Climate Change Social Research
4 VicSuper’s Socially Conscious Option has been certified by the Responsible Investment Association of Australia (RIAA) according to the strict operational and disclosure practices required under the Responsible Investment Certification Program. Find out more. The Responsible Investment Certification Program does not constitute financial product advice. Neither the Certification Symbol nor RIAA recommends to any person that any financial product is a suitable investment or that returns are guaranteed. Appropriate professional advice should be sought prior to making an investment decision. RIAA does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence.
Ethical investment gathering momentum, Morningstar