As a pioneer in ethical and sustainable investment, we’re always keen to encourage and support other initiatives in this area.
C2C’s principal Peter Lee has been actively involved in ethical investment for nearly 20 years. Until only a couple of years ago, there was a real lack of awareness and interest, and consequently not many options for those who were. However, since 2017, Peter has noticed a massive upswing right across the board.
So, why the change? We don’t know – and nobody else does either. However, it seems to be part of a number of issues that have suddenly gathered steam – everything from the #MeTo movement through to the real impacts of global warming being felt through to the long-term threat that microplastics pose. Suddenly, more and more of our clients and potential clients are declaring that they are keen to know just where their money is invested, and to make sure that it is invested according with their values.
The investment industry is responding, first with a much-improved range of products and more latterly with simple ways for people to find out more. We commented in an earlier blog, ‘Cool the planet with your investments’, that there are now a number of well-diversified, low-cost funds that actively seek to avoid the biggest carbon emitters – increasingly, the issue that our clients are telling us matters most to them.
But investors are looking to move from simply avoiding certain stocks to having their money make a difference. Just two weeks ago NZ based responsible fund manager Pathfinder launched CareSaver, a KiwiSaver scheme that actively seeks to encourage more women on to New Zealand boards. They freely admit that it’s only a start, and their voice may be small, but it is certainly an issue that is growing in importance. The Institute of Directors has an active policy to encourage its members to seek much more diversity at board level, including women. Pathfinder also wants to help those members to make a difference by donating 20% of the CareSaver revenues it earns to a selection of charities, from which members can choose themselves. This is a great initiative and we’d love to see more.
Two months ago, former green MP Barry Coates launched Mindful Money, an online website to help people choose ethical KiwiSaver funds. It simply wouldn’t have been possible even a year or two ago, but we are seeing more and more ethical KiwiSaver funds come to market, and again it’s great to see this sort of initiative. We’re always aware that only a small number of clients are ever likely to need the services of a professional financial planning firm such as C2C Partners, so Mindful Money’s ability to reach out to younger and less savvy KiwiSaver investors is wonderful.
If you’re keen to find out more about aligning your investments with your values, please get in touch. It’s what we do and what we know – Peter Lee, Larry Stead and Mark Holtom are not only adviser members of the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia, but represent nearly a third of the country’s entire adviser membership! C2C Partners is also the first – and so far only – financial advice group member in New Zealand.