Top 5 ESG Funds For April 2023

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by KnowESG
Image of yet more plants growing out of coins: ESG investments

It is now simpler than ever before to invest ethically with mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that specifically address ESG metrics - environmental, social and governance concerns applicable to publicly traded stocks. There are numerous possibilities available for socially responsible investors.

These three key areas are all quite different. However, they are related in that they look to put a priority on something more than financial profit alone. As the consequences of anthropogenic climate change continue to exert themselves on our societal and economic systems, we need to make more respectful and effective use of resources to both address the challenge of climate adaptation, as well as develop more robust mid- to long-term strategies that will shape how businesses may thrive. 

What is the meaning of ESG Investing?

Sustainable investing, or ESG investing, means not only investing in companies that abide by ethical practices for profit but also avoiding those businesses that don't meet evolving environmental, social and corporate governance standards. For example, a chemical company polluting excessively, or one with poor labour policies, would be avoided when considering an ESG portfolio. As more investment funds have adopted this model of late, sustainable investments are on the rise globally, with a remarkable 143% growth between 2016 and 2020. 

A quarter of all sustainable investments integrate these funds as part of their portfolio. When considering that ESG funds prioritise environmental and social progress over financial yields, are they really any different from socially responsible investing, or an evolution of it that captures more areas for investment consideration?

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How does ESG investing work?

ESG investing offers a unique approach where investors can choose their investments through evaluating the company's ESG impact. Both individual and institutional investors have many options to explore when it comes to ESG investing - they may select specific investments that live up to their sustainability standards or exclude companies with high-risk grades. Additionally, this form of investment also allows for negative screening opportunities wherein an investor does not put money into companies which do not satisfy predetermined ESG parameters.

An additional approach to ESG investing entails actively searching for businesses and funds that specialise in doing the necessary research and selecting only those companies which meet all of the ESG criteria.

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Top 5 ESG Funds in 2023

Figuring out which ESG funds are worth investing in can be tough, so we have identified some of the top ESG funds for April 2023 to help inform your decision.

iShares ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF

This fund holds large positions such as Apple, Microsoft and Tesla - along with following the S&P 500 index to make sure money isn't being invested into unlawful activities like nuclear weapons, tobacco, civilian firearms or thermal coal. It has also been performing incredibly well financially this year - making it our top pick for the list of top ESG funds for April 2023.

Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund Admiral Shares

This particular fund prohibits investments into industries such as alcohol, tobacco, fossil fuels and nuclear power, to name a few - emphasising its commitment to promoting eco-friendly practices. Furthermore, interested companies must meet certain diversity criteria to gain access; this further emphasises the importance of ethical business values that align with the United Nations Global Compact’s (UNGC) Sustainable Development Goals.

Extensively used by tech giants like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft - this ESG Fund has proven itself best suited for entrepreneurs within the technology industry looking to make an assertive impact on their environmental footprint.

Nuveen ESG Mid-Cap Growth ETF

Investing in this specific ESG fund gives you the opportunity to assist US enterprises with mid-cap growth and specifically focuses on information technology and healthcare – two sectors that have seen a notable 16% increase over the past five years. As demonstrated by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, improving access to quality healthcare for all has become an increasingly vital goal.

Consequently, this makes it a superb investment option for those investors who want to be part of something bigger than themselves while also building their financial portfolio at the same time.

Calvert International Responsible Index Fund

This is an ESG portfolio that invests in large-cap companies from outside the United States. Companies such as Roche and Nestlé are among its largest shareholders, along with a commitment to limiting exposure to alcohol, weapons, gambling and animal testing enterprises. With more than 800 available stocks, this ESG fund offers investors passionate about a cruelty-free world a great opportunity for ethical investing.

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Pax Ellevate Global Women's Leadership Fund

In contrast, this fund helps further equal rights for women in both corporate and business life by promoting a more diversified board of directors at multiple companies, better leadership opportunities, and fairer employment practices such as wages, instruction, and recruitment policies. Estée Lauder is one of its top stakeholders, along with Microsoft and Amazon. Companies looking to express their commitment towards female empowerment should consider investing in this fund.

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ESG Ratings: A Benchmark For Performance

Benefits of Investing in ESG Funds

It may be tempting for investors to presume that ESG funds won't yield the same financial returns as other investments, but this isn't necessarily true. As these strategies become more popular due to public demand, successful ESG funds are sure to follow suit. What's great about these types of investments is they provide a far more sustainable and multi-faceted return compared with conventional options – making them an attractive choice for those looking to make their money work hard while also doing some good in the world.

As with any ‘novel’ technology or opportunity, early adopters help foster growth and development. The same applies to ESG funds - as more people invest in them, there will be an increased amount of research into their efficacy, which will compound the development of the transparent ratings frameworks that support them. To compare the ESG performance of specific companies across different sectors, via published ratings and reports, can be found here.

ESG funds not only offer a number of advantages, but can also facilitate energy efficiency, reduce emissions, and provide assistance to targeted communities. Furthermore, these investments promote transparency and embody fair business practices.

Takeaway

ESG funds provide investors with the unique opportunity to invest their money while still aligning themselves with important environmental and social causes. These tools stand not only to provide returns similar to ‘traditional’ investments, but they can also fulfil a personal desire to actively contribute towards addressing global issues. Therefore, investing in ESG is both rewarding and socially conscious.

Pragmatically, whether investors are determined to make their money work in a meaningful way or not, investing in ESG funds can yield beneficial outcomes for everyone involved. 

Follow more regular ESG investment news and headlines here.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best fund to invest in 2023?

Everyone's financial situation, risk appetite, and investment objectives are unique. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Before purchasing a fund, it’s crucial to research its past performance records; fees and charges; the approach adopted by the team of professionals managing it; and other such factors. To make sure that your investments yield maximum returns with minimum risks in mind, we highly recommend seeking professional guidance before taking any decisions related to investing funds in stocks or bonds.

What are the best performing ESG funds?

Investing in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) funds can be a savvy way to make money while also supporting companies that adhere to certain criteria related to the environment, social issues, and corporate governance. The performance of these funds will depend on the actual criteria used by the fund as well as how stocks are performing overall. A few popular examples include iShares MSCI KLD 400 Social ETF, Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund, or Calvert Equity Fund - caution should still be taken as past results do not guarantee future returns.

Which is the best ESG mutual fund?

When it comes to choosing the right ESG mutual fund for you, much of this decision should be based on your particular financial circumstance, risk tolerance level and investment objectives. A few recommended ESG funds include Parnassus Core Equity Fund, TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund and Domini Impact Equity Fund. In any case, make sure to do some in depth investigation and consult a professional before making any final decisions surrounding investments.

What are ESG themes for 2023?

As the world moves towards 2023, the key ESG themes to consider for any investment portfolio are rapidly evolving. In particular, investors should pay close heed to renewable energy and clean technology initiatives, social justice progressions and advancements in corporate governance transparency. However, it is essential that all decisions take into consideration individual circumstances and be backed up by thorough research; professional advice may also prove invaluable when constructing an effective strategy.

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