Responsible Investment News

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Apple, Facebook and the dawning of a new age in capitalism

Financial Review - 14 Jan 2018
Apple is the subject of a different activist campaign, one that could elevate the responsible investment movement beyond those concerned about climate change to those fearful about the mental wellbeing of their children.

John Berry: KiwiSaver firms weak on responsible investment (The Herald - 21 Dec 2017)

KiwiSaver investors care if their savings cause environmental or social harm. And many more would care if major fund managers backed up their commitments to responsible investment with action.

Mass starvation is humanity’s fate if we keep flogging the land to death

While directly not concerning responsible investment, this issue clearly has implications for what we invest in (Jonathan Neal).

Brexit; the crushing of democracy by billionaires; the next financial crash; a rogue US president: none of them keeps me awake at night. This is not because I don’t care – I care very much. It’s only because I have a bigger question on my mind. Where is all the food going to come from?

By the middle of this century there will be two or three billion more people on Earth. Any one of the issues I am about to list could help precipitate mass starvation. And this is before you consider how they might interact.

Martin Hawes: The importance of sleeping well at night

OPINION: Last week there was an interesting opinion piece on Stuff by Richard Meadows.

Entitled, "The case against 'ethical' investing," the article pointed out some of the very real difficulties with socially responsible investment.

Fair enough, I thought – there certainly are difficulties and there is every benefit to point them out.

However, I turned grumpy when Meadows said that ethical investing won't make a jot of difference and may do more harm than good.

Brokers can 'effect change' by promoting ethical lenders

Banks are "only ever" going to promote the good that they do, but brokers can "effect change" by educating clients about ethical lenders, a broker has said.

Karen Doust, associate and broker at Jenesis Finance, told The Adviser that brokers can have a role in enacting positive change by placing business with ethical lenders.

Jenesis Finance has a mandate to offer clients a panel of "ethical and sustainable lenders" that are "community minded and/or are operating in an environmentally conscious manner".

Ms Doust said that more often than not, these lenders are smaller banks, credit unions or non-bank lenders.

Sugar the next target for responsible funds

Sugar may become a negative value screen for the responsible investment portfolios of the future, according to Martin Currie Australia.

Speaking in Sydney yesterday, Martin Currie Australia portfolio manager Will Baylis said while sugar was not being negatively screened in their income strategies at present, it could escalate as an issue in years to come.

“I would suspect, down the track, that sugar may well become quite topical,” Mr Baylis said.

In March 2017 AMP Capital released a report that found sugar was emerging as an investment risk for the global food and beverage industry.

ESG alone is not enough, says Australian Ethical

‘ESG integration’ is only one of many factors that characterise responsible investment, according to investment manager Australian Ethical.

Aside from environmental, social and governance (ESG) integration, a number of other factors must be considered for responsible investment to truly live up to its name, according to Australian Ethical head of ethics Stuart Palmer.

Mr Palmer outlined a number of other "dimensions" to responsible investment, including negative screening, positive screening, the influence investors had on companies and governments, and the impact of the UN's 17 sustainable development goals.

It pays to turn some business away (when you're avoiding guilt by association)

In the first class of semester when I have a new bunch of university students studying business ethics, we always start with a quick task. I ask them which companies they think are “bad”. I then pick one, what we might call the worst of the worst. It’s usually Big Tobacco. Then we see what it would take to work for them.

As I raise the stakes, usually by offering a bigger and bigger salary, hands begin to rise indicating willingness. By $500,000 I can have a third of the class, with others seriously considering bending their own principles. But there are some who just won’t do it, ever. Not even if the salary is in the millions with a car thrown in.

Kiwi Wealth cuts weapons, tobacco and whaling companies from investment strategy

KiwiSaver provider Kiwi Wealth says it will cut out investments in weapons, tobacco and whaling companies as part of a new responsible investment strategy as well as companies with a poor track record in environmental, social and governance areas.

The move comes a year after Radio NZ and the Herald highlighted controversial investments made by KiwiSaver providers.

'Staggering' rise in demand for ethical investments

There's been a dramatic increase in ethical investments since the public outcry over KiwiSaver investments send fund managers scrambling to dump millions of dollars in weapons and tobacco companies.

Investment in ethical funds that exclude such companies jumped 2500 percent to $42.7 billion by the end of 2016, up from $1.6bn in 2015, a Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) report showed.

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