April’s top 10 performing sustainable investment funds

Written by Rebecca Jones on 8th May 2019

In our series produced in collaboration with 3d Investingwe take a regular monthly look at the top performing funds in the sustainable investment universe, tracking trends and trendsetters in one of the fastest growing areas of global finance today.

Our universe consists of funds rated three stars and above by 3d Investing, which has rigorously screened thousands of funds available to UK investors to come up with just 210 that meet this standard. We sort this list by the top performers of the month and then again by three years, giving a comprehensive overview.

April was a strong month for Good funds investing in companies providing solutions to some of our most challenging sustainability issues; from clean transport to social infrastructure to green energy. Funds invested in the UK also enjoyed a boost as markets took a break from Brexit blues.

Posting the strongest return of the month is the RobecoSAM Smart Mobility fund, which delivered an impressive 9.4 per cent in April as the £111 million fund comes out of the stalls with a start since its launch in July last year (since when it has returned 5 per cent in total).

The fund is involved in all things transport and invests worldwide in companies that provide technology, products and services in the sectors of electromobility, digital networking and autonomous vehicles.

The International Public Partnership Trust, which invests in public or social infrastructure projects in the UK, Europe, US and Australia, was the second best performer, delivering 7.7 per cent last month and propelling it’s 1 year return to more than 16 per cent.

The Liontrust Sustainable Investment team saw two of it’s UK funds take top spots: Liontrust UK Ethical and Liontrust Sustainable Future UK Growth, which both returned more than 7 per cent thanks in no small part to a rally in UK markets on a lack of Brexit-doom.

Over the long term the two funds are also some of the strongest performers in their mainstream UK sectors – beating most competitors over 1, 3, 5 and 10 years (as well as 1 month).

The team invests according to criteria mapped against the UN sustainable development goals and none of their funds hold fossil fuel, mining, tobacco or arms companies (which most mainstream UK funds do). Instead, the team targets companies that are contributing directly to the global sustainable economy and future. The UK Ethical fund also omits any company involved in animal testing.

 

Top performing 3d 3 star rated funds one month to 30 April 2019

Fund

Total % return 1m

Rank in sector Total % return 1yr Rank in sector Total % return 3yr Rank in sector
1 RobecoSAM Smart Mobility

9.4

1 / 53 n/a n/a n/a n/a
2 International Public Partnership Trust

7.7

1 / 6 16.2 4 / 6 28.6 4 / 6
3 Liontrust UK Ethical

7.6

18 / 282 8.6 18 / 273 47.9 16 / 259
4 Jupiter Ecology

7.2

7 / 279 5.4 180 / 265 38.6 169 / 223
5 Castlefield B.E.S.T Sustainable European General

7.2

2 / 107 4.2 12 / 104 n/a n/a
6 Liontrust Sustainable Future UK Growth

7.2

25 / 282 8.6 20 / 273 49.5 13 / 259
7 Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity

7.1

8 / 279 11.8 61 / 265 61.3 21 / 223
8 WHEB Sustainability

7.1

10 / 279 8.6 114 / 265 50.7 71 / 223
9 Guinness Sustainable Energy

6.8

3 / 96 2.2 23 / 92 27.6 29 / 89
10 Montanaro Better World

6.6

4 / 237 15.8 10 / 187 n/a n/a

Performance data sourced from FE Analytics and is to 30 April 2019.

 

Impact-focussed funds WHEB Sustainability and Montanaro Better World also featured in the top ten thanks to returns of 7.1 per cent and 6.6 per cent respectively last month. One of the longest established funds in the sector, WHEB also boasts a 50.7 per cent return over three years while Montanaro celebrated its first birthday this April with a one year return of nearly 16 per cent.

Over three years to April, global funds took centre stage with six out of ten of the top performers taking a worldwide view. Many of these funds also have a large weighting to the US, which dominates global indices and whose economy continues to perform exceptionally well.

The top performer was the Impax Environmental Markets trust, whose shares have delivered an impressive 82 per cent over the three years to 30 April. Established in 2002, the trust invests in companies involved in providing cleaner and greener energy, energy efficiency, water treatment and pollution control, as well as waste technology and resource management.

Top performing 3d 3 star rated funds 3 years to 30 April 2019

Fund Total % return 1m Rank in sector Total % return 1yr Rank in sector

Total % return 3yr

Rank in sector
1 Impax Environmental Markets Trust 5.6 2 / 3 13.9 2 / 3

81.5

1 / 3
2 3I Infrastructure Trust 4.6 4 / 6 35.8 1 / 6

73.4

1 / 6
3 Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth 5.5 35 / 279 20.0 14 / 265

69.5

10 / 223
4 Schroder ISF Global Sustainable Growth 4.1 29 / 112 18.9 3 / 96

67.5

2 / 70
5 Alquity Indian Subcontinent -4.5 45 / 46 -12.2 45 / 46

64.6

1 / 41
6 BMO Responsible Global Equity 5.7 28 / 279 13.8 40 / 265

61.9

19 / 223
7 Liontrust Sustainable Future Absolute Growth 5.4 8 / 278 18.2 2 / 245

61.3

2 / 216
8 Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity 7.1 8 / 279 11.8 61 / 265

61.3

21 / 223
9 Pacific Assets Trust 2.1 9 / 15 17.7 1 / 15

60.7

9 / 15
10 Kames Global Sustainable Equity 4.0 61 / 237 12.9 24 / 187

59.2

14 / 144

Performance data sourced from FE Analytics and is to 31 March 2019.

The Liontrust team also saw another two funds make the top ten over three years: Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth and Liontrust Sustainable Future Absolute Growth, posting returns of 70 per cent and 62 per cent respectively.

The latter fund, managed by head of the sustainable investment team Peter Michaelis alongside Simon Clements, is the second best performing fund among 216 funds in its sector (IA Flexible Investment) over the period, as well as one and five years.

Alquity Indian Subcontinent, a regular in our top 10 performing sustainable funds series, also made the top ten for its three year return of 64.6 per cent. Over one month, however, the fund has shed 4.5 per cent, demonstrating the volatility inherent in the Indian market.

The Pacific Assets Trust, which also invests in India among other Asian nations, is the ninth best performer over three years with a near 61 per cent return, while the fund also returned 2.1 per cent in April.

For the full list of 3d 3star rated funds see the latest Good With Money and 3d Investing Good Investment Review – your guide to the brightest and best sustainable funds on the market

To invest in any of these funds see our guide to the Top 10 Sustainable Investment Platforms, or speak to your financial adviser or wealth manager.

Risk warning: Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income derived from them may go down as well as up, so you could get back less than you originally invested.

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