July’s top 10 performing sustainable investment funds

Written by Rebecca Jones on 1st Aug 2019

In our series produced in collaboration with 3d Investing, we 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.



Global funds were the clear winners in July, as vehicles investing in companies solving sustainability issues outside of Europe dominated our top tables over one month and three years.

In July our top performer was Robecco SAM Smart Mobility, which celebrates it’s first birthday with a return of 7.6 per cent over the month. This is a welcome boost for the fund, which invests in companies in clean transportation like electric vehicles, and which has had a choppy 12 months.

In second place is Alquity Latin America, another volatile fund that also delivered 7.6 per cent in July. The fund invests in companies across the developing South American market, with a focus on financial and transportation companies.

The International Public Partnerships Trust took third place, the only UK focussed fund to make the top table last month and only one of two to make it either in July or over three years. Investing in UK infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, primary healthcare centres and police stations, the trust returned 7.4 per cent last month.

Investors have been pulling billions from funds investing in British companies since 2016, with the UK equity fund sector shedding £12.4 billion between 2016 and 2018 – the only one to have seen three consecutive years of losses. Funds investing in European companies are also starting to feel the heat, shedding £1.8 billion between January and April this year, according to figures from the Investment Association (IA).

These outflows are also now starting to drag on performance, with the worst performing sectors in the IA universe last month and over the past year all investing in UK and European companies.

 

Top performing 3d 3 star rated funds 1 month to 31 July 2019

Fund Total % return 1m Rank in sector Total % return 1yr Rank in sector Total % return 3yr Rank in sector
1 RobecoSAM Smart Mobility 7.6 2 / 54 3.1 48 / 49 n/a n/a
2 Alquity Latin America 7.6 7 / 37 19.8 19 / 37 14.9 34 / 36
3 International Public Partnership Trust 7.4 1 / 6 6.6 6 / 6 16.2 5 / 6
4 Kames Global Sustainable Equity 6.8 7 / 258 19.8 6 / 195 56.8 7 / 146
5 Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity 6.4 24 / 283 15.7 30 / 264 56.6 19 / 225
6 Baillie Gifford Positive Change 6.0 51 / 283 10.2 105 / 264 n/a n/a
7 Quilter Investors Ethical Equity 5.9 67 / 283 8.9 131 / 264 27.6 195 / 225
8 Schroder ISF Global Sustainable Growth 5.6 37 / 117 18.7 6 / 96 60.0 2 / 72
9 Lyxor UCITS ETF PEA World Water 5.3 192 / 588 14.5 142 / 586 26.8 128 / 509
10 Mirova Europe Sustainable Equity IAE 5.0 3 / 241 2.1 87 / 229 25.5 118 / 202

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

Over three years, some more familiar global favourites made our top three, with the Impax Environmental Markets Trust topping the table with a return of 65.9 per cent since July 2016. This was followed by Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth with a return of 60.7 per cent.

Both funds invest in companies with strong environmental credentials, including firms involved in renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean transportation. Schroder ISF Global Sustainable Growth came third with a return of 60 per cent over three years.

Our second and final UK focussed fund to feature this month is Bluefield Solar Income Trust, which came fifth with a return of 57.8 per cent over past three years while paying a handsome dividend of 5.8 per cent per year. The trust invests in 46 solar sites across the UK, including the 10.6 megawatt Sheppey site in Kent, which every year is expected to save nearly 4,560 tonnes of CO2 and provide green electricity for 3,210 homes.

Commenting on the figures, founder of 3d Investing John Fleetwood says: “Over both the very short (1 month) and medium (3 year) terms the global sustainability funds dominate the top ten. These are thematically driven funds that benefit from long term environmental drivers.

“The performance of the Bluefield Solar Income Fund is particularly notable as it was launched as a dependable income generating trust, but has delivered total returns that compete with the very best growth funds in the ethical and sustainable market.”

Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity was also notable for making both the one month and three year table, with a return of 6.4 per cent and 56.6 per cent respectively. A regular feature in our top 10, the manager seeks to actively invest in global companies whose products and services are considered as contributing to positive environmental or social change and has no exposure to oil and gas companies.

Top performing 3d 3 star rated funds 3 years to 31 July 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 2.9 1 / 3 16.0 2 / 3 65.9 1 / 3
2 Liontrust Sustainable Future Global Growth 4.6 162 / 283 19.8 15 / 264 60.7 11 / 225
3 Schroder ISF Global Sustainable Growth 5.6 37 / 117 18.7 6 / 96 60.0 2 / 72
4 3i Infrastructure Trust -4.2 6 / 6 18.4 1 / 6 58.4 1 / 6
5 Bluefield Solar Income Limited Trust -3.1 12 / 12 16.2 4 / 8 57.8 1 / 6
6 BMO Responsible Global Equity 4.6 158 / 283 14.8 41 / 264 56.9 16 / 225
7 Kames Global Sustainable Equity 6.8 7 / 258 19.8 6 / 195 56.8 7 / 146
8 Janus Henderson Global Sustainable Equity 6.4 24 / 283 15.7 30 / 264 56.6 19 / 225
9 Liontrust Sustainable Future Absolute Growth 4.1 57 / 278 17.1 2 / 259 54.9 4 / 210
10 Royal London Sustainable World Trust 4.2 30 / 305 16.0 2 / 291 51.1 1 / 259

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

 

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. This is more likely if you sell out in a down market. Remember, investing is for the long-term.

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