EUROPE - The volume of socially responsible invested (SRI) assets has risen by almost a third over the past year in Germany, Austria and Switzerland - with institutional investors in two of the countries dominating the market, according to data by the sustainable investment group Forum Nachhaltige Geldanlagen (FNG).

According to the research, the share of SRI assets increased by €14bn to €51.9bn in 2010 in the segments mutual funds, mandates and other financial products.

SRI assets under management in Switzerland and Germany have risen by 23% over the past year, totaling €33.6bn and €15.9bn, with Austria's €2.4bn in 2010 an increase by 17%.

While in Switzerland assets invested by retail customers make up the majority of SRI-investments (57%), institutions are still the dominant investors for the asset class in both Germany and Austria, with market shares of 77% and 74%, respectively.

For Germany, the FNG noted that the share of institutional investors in the segment has increased considerably from 55% in 2009 and that shareholder engagement was the most important SRI-strategy in use followed by the best-in-class approach.

Among the German institutions using SRI-approaches were mainly church and charity organisations, followed by foundations and NGOs as well as occupational pension funds and public authorities, according to the study.