Original, independent, thought leadership
Stock Trading and Exchange Chart for Finance & Economy and Currencies

Chart of the Week – May 20, 2024: Largest sustainable investment funds

Home » Research » Chart of the Week – May 20, 2024: Largest sustainable investment funds

Share This Article:

The Bottom Line: With one exception, the composition of the top ten sustainable investment funds by assets under management remains unchanged so far this year.          

Notes of Explanation: # Index fund. Total net assets as of April 30, 2024. Sources: Morningstar Direct; Sustainable Research and Analysis LLC. 

Ten largest sustainable mutual funds and ETFs

The largest ten sustainable mutual funds and ETFs as of April 30th managed $112.4 billion in net assets, or 34% of sustainable fund assets under management that stood at $333.4 billion as of the same date. With one exception, the composition of the top ten funds has remained unchanged since the start of the year. The exception involves the addition of the Putnam Sustainable Leaders Fund to the top ten list. The fund replaced the renamed Nuveen Large Cap Responsible Equity Fund that, effective May 1, 2024 , underwent a name change due to rebranding from the TIAA-CREF Social Choice Equity Fund and a modest investment policy change.

The top funds consist of seven mutual funds and three ETFs, including six actively managed investment vehicles as well as four index funds. All but one are equity funds, classified as Large Blend, Large Growth and Foreign Large Blend funds.

With one bond fund exception, top sustainable funds are all domestic and foreign equity funds

The one equity fund exception is the recently renamed Nuveen Core Impact Bond Fund which prior to May 1st was called the TIAA-CREF Core Bond Fund. This Intermediate Core Bond fund is the largest sustainable bond fund, offering five share classes with a combined total of $6.1 billion in net assets.

Funds employ a variety of sustainable investing approaches

The funds employ a variety of sustainable investing strategies or approaches, ranging from screening and exclusions that characterizes, for example, the Vanguard FTSE Social Index Fund, to ESG integration, applicable to the Parnassus Core Equity Fund, and to the broadest combination, as is the case with the Nuveen Core Impact Bond Fund with sustainable investing approaches that extend from ESG integration, exclusions and impact, that is, investments that provide direct exposure to issuers and/or individual projects that the adviser, through its proprietary analysis, believes have the potential to have social or environmental benefits. Index funds aside, in some cases management firms may also employ engagement practices with companies and other stakeholders to enhance due diligence and monitor the investment thesis.

Top ten funds recorded an average decline of 4.2% but are up an average 20.9% over the trailing 12 months

In April and since the start of the year, the largest funds recorded an average decline of 4.2% and a positive 20.9% total return, respectively. Based on the total returns posted by the best or worse performing share class where applicable, returns in April ranged from -5.51% posted by Brown Advisory Sustainable Growth I to -2.43% recorded by the Nuveen Core Impact Bond Fund Institutional Class. Year-to-date, returns range from a low of -0.04% registered by Nuveen Core Impact Bond Fund Institutional Class to a high of 32.04% achieved by Pioneer Fund A.


Premium Articles Access Priority Support 1 Fixed Price

Free Trial
30 Day

Access to All Data No Credit Card Required Cancel Any Time


Access to Premium Articles Priority Support Save 25%

Sign up to free newsletters.

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact


Research and analysis to keep sustainable investors up to-date on a broad range of topics that include trends and developments in sustainable investing and sustainable finance, regulatory updates, performance results and considerations, investing through index funds and actively managed portfolios, asset allocation updates, expenses, ESG ratings and data, company and product news, green, social and sustainable bonds, green bond funds as well as reporting and disclosure practices, to name just a few.

A continuously updated Funds Directory is also available to investors.  This is intended to become a comprehensive listing of sustainable mutual funds, ETFs and other investment products along with a description of their sustainable investing approaches as set out in fund prospectuses and related regulatory filings.

Getting started

Many questions have surfaced in recent years regarding sustainable and ESG investing.  Here, investors and financial intermediaries will find materials that describe the various approaches to sustainable investing and their implementation.  While sustainable investing approaches vary and they have thus far defied universally accepted definitions, many practitioners agree that they fall into the following broad categories:  Values-based investing, investing via exclusions, impact investing, thematic investments and ESG integration.  In conjunction with each of these approaches, investors may also adopt various issuer engagement procedures and proxy voting practices.  That said, sustainable investing approaches will continue to evolve.

In addition to periodic updates regarding sustainable investing and how this form of investing is evolving, investors and financial intermediaries interested in implementing a sustainable investing approach will also find source materials that cover basic investing themes as well as asset allocation tactics.

Inesting ideas

Thoughts and ideas targeting sustainable investing strategies executed through various registered and non-registered sustainable investment funds and products such as mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs), closed-end funds, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Unit Investment Trusts (UITs). Coverage extends to investment management firms as well as fund groups. 

Independent source for sustainable investment management company research, analysis, opinions and sustainable fund disclosure assessments