The study authors Armand Colard and Josef Obergantschnig. Copyright by ESG+/Ethico.

Study confirms: Ecolabel funds very sustainable

Sustainable funds are in vogue. But are green funds in Austria as sustainable as they declare themselves to be? A analysis by AK OÖ in cooperation with CLEANVEST shows clear differences among 180 self-proclaimed sustainable funds in Austria. First of all: with the Austrian Ecolabel you are on the safe side.

To the study

In cooperation with ESG Plus, a domestic sustainability data provider and operator of the transparency platform CLEANVEST, the consumer protection organisation AK OÖ developed 23 sustainability criteria with 122 thematic sub-criteria on the basis of which the 180 sustainable equity, bond and mixed funds on the Austrian market were evaluated. The details of all funds in the AK analysis including their sustainability results, development and costs can be found atö.

The 10 most sustainable funds

The top-ten funds include eight bond funds and two equity funds. Five of these funds bear the Austrian Ecolabel. 100 percent of the maximum sustainability points are achieved by the ecolabelled bond fund IQAM SRI SparTrust M, followed in second place by the Schoellerbank Vorsorgefonds (99 percent), also awarded the Ecolabel.

The top ten most sustainable equity funds were also evaluated separately. The ranks one to nine are exclusively occupied by Ecolabel funds. This is yet another study confirming the high sustainability quality of Ecolabel funds. At the beginning of the year, another analysis already showed that Ecolabel funds are more sustainable than Article 8 or Article 9 funds.

Tip: From the point of view of sustainability, the Austrian Ecolabel certification should be taken into account when choosing a fund.

Background: Article 8 and Article 9 funds

With the so-called Disclosure Regulation, the EU has adopted rules to create more transparency. Since then, fund providers have to disclose the consideration of sustainability aspects in their investment strategies and fund products. In addition to conventional funds, there are now also Article 8 funds that take sustainability aspects into account but do not have an exclusive focus on sustainability. The dark green Article 9 funds, on the other hand, must fulfil more precise criteria. However, clear definitions of when and how a fund must be classified are still missing.

Only one of the top ten equity funds from the AK study, namely the eco-label certified Erste WWF Stock Environment, has been classified by Erste Bank itself in the highest sustainability category "Article 9", i.e. as a fund with concrete sustainability goals, according to the EU Disclosure Regulation. All others are "Article 8 funds", i.e. according to the self-classification they have only taken sustainability aspects into account without focusing exclusively on sustainability.