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Major focus on sustainability expected during next five years,

21 January 2020

More than 90% of real asset investors will increase their focus on sustainability over the next five years, according a recent report released by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA).

While their aim is to see enhanced returns on their investment, these will also be intended to achieve improved alignment with the expectations of the community, according to Infrastructure Intelligence.

One of the issues to overcome is the shortage of environmental, social and governance (ESG) skills, says the report, which will allow improved integration of sustainability within investment frameworks.

The MIRA report is based on the results of a survey conducted with an international cohort of 150 institutional investors involved with managing assets of approximately $US20 trillion.

Regional differences were revealed in the report, including the overview that while 72% of respondents in the EMEA had dedicated ESG functions, this figure fell to 24% for the Americas and 21% for the Asia region.

It additionally shows that the focus on ESG considerations has changed dramatically from a level of 58% in the previous five years to 91% in the five years ahead.

Additional findings by the study include the response from 78% of respondents confirming that enhanced investment performance can result from improved sustainability strategies.

Further expectations were identified around building on "exclusion-based" ESG investment models, including a more deliberate approach in the future to focus on higher quality and less volatile earnings.

Macquarie Asset Management client solutions group head Phil Peters said: "Investors in the real asset sector have reached an inflexion point, with a growing consensus agreeing that sustainability strategies can be pursued whilst delivering value for investors and driving positive change in communities.

"To harness this exciting opportunity, our industry needs to bridge the ESG skills gap and significantly improve measurement and reporting tools," he said.

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