Analysts say “ethical investing” is growing in Australia, as moral views are used to push corporations to improve their practices.

Activists are using financial mechanisms to strike a blow against companies involved in building and maintaining asylum seeker centres, and environmentally-destructive mining in particular.

New figures from the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) demand for investment in companies with an “ethical” lean is growing.

Investment in ethical funds has risen from $15.2 billion in 2012 to $31.6 billion in December 2014, the report said.

Meanwhile, activist shareholders are pressuring companies such as Transfield - which runs detention centres - to think about the moral implications of their investment.

The RIAA report said Australia’s responsible investment industry comprises 11 asset managers managing $597.9 billion worth of funds.

The analysts say many ethical funds even outperform the broader market, and regularly beat the ASX by around 11 to 15 per cent.

The full report is accessible in PDF form, here.