Creating a sustainable investment fund for New Zealand

3 February 2014

As the global campaign for fossil fuel divestment gathers momentum, the Sustainable Business Network has kickstarted a project across New Zealand to try and discover or create a sustainable investment fund.

Building on our own and our members’ frustration with the apparent lack of a sustainable Kiwisaver investment fund, the project aims to create a fund based on criteria determined by our members.

Rachel Brown, CEO of the Sustainable Business Network, launched the project at the Responsible Investment Conference in November last year.

“We know we’ve got natural advantages in New Zealand and a growing number of businesses who are providing solutions which are aligned to these. The idea is to develop criteria that see greater investment behind them so we can grow them,” she says.

“We are now working with members to formulate a set of positive criteria which aligns well with our aim of NZ being a model sustainable nation. This includes areas such as Clean Tech, sustainable agriculture and more.”

Stage 1 of the project – to determine criteria for the fund – commenced in Auckland, with additional meetings taking place on 13th February in Wellington and 5th March in Tauranga (please note the revised date). If any of our members are interested in joining the discussion we’d love you to join us. We’ll also be holding meetings in Christchurch and Hamilton, though these dates have yet to be confirmed.  

Once the initial criteria have been established by our membership, Stage 2 will be to take the findings to the finance industry to find a solution.

One of the issues we’ll be exploring is our members’ opinions on the movement to divest from fossil fuels.  If you’re interested in finding out more, Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, writes about it in The Guardian. He says that the campaign is gathering momentum around the world, with church groups and university students joining the movement, which is supported by climate science.

Meanwhile, at the end of January the New York Times reported that 17 US foundations, together controlling nearly US$1.8 billion in investments, have united to pull their money out of companies that do business in fossil fuels.

We’ll be reporting on the outcome of our meetings on a sustainable investment fund – so watch this space.