Responsible Investment News

Calls mount for ACC to distance itself from fossil fuels, after Parliament report

ACC is already required by law to invest ethically. The ACC Act requires it to invest in a way that avoids "prejudice to New Zealand's reputation as a responsible member of the world community". 

The fund has so far held onto its fossil fuel investments, and the Government has refused to step in and force it to sell, opening it to the charge that it is financially vested in, and benefiting from a fossil fuel future at the same time it is trying to reduce the country's emissions. 

It can be difficult to work out what is "ethical" in the view of most New Zealanders, so ACC has developed several methods of gauging the sort of investments it believes most New Zealanders would be comfortable with. 

ACC believes the country's laws are the best gauge for its ethics. It doesn't invest in areas that touch on things like anti-personnel mines, nuclear explosives, and North Korean weapons.

Following the Christchurch terror attack and subsequent military-style semiautomatic gun ban, ACC prohibited investment in this class of weapons too. 

But ACC believes laws aren't the only gauge on what a country thinks is ethical. In 2006, ACC ended its investment in tobacco companies.

It explained this to the committee by saying that Government policy restricting the sale of tobacco made it clear that "most New Zealanders do not consider smoking an acceptable activity," despite it remaining legal. 

It also used public opinion polling to work out what kiwis deemed to be ethical. 

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