Investment fund managers are taking a more active approach to responsible and ethical investing rather than simply avoiding the well-known taboos.

New Zealand’s ethical investment has grown three-fold to $188 billion in the past five years and accounts for more than 70 percent of assets under management, according to the latest report from the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia.

Association chief executive Simon O’Connor said the country had now become a market leader.

“New Zealand now has the highest proportion of commitments to responsible and ethical investment of any major market globally.”

O’Connor said attitudes and investing strategies were changing.

He said fund managers were doing well excluding things such as cluster munitions and tobacco investments, but have now started to move towards a positive strategy, looking for investments that advance the ethical and social goals they want.

“It’s an acknowledgement by the finance sector that their role is not only to avoid harm, which most New Zealanders do expect in the way their KiwiSaver and managed funds are managed, but also to really seek out how does the finance sector contribute strongly towards the national goals of New Zealand such as the Zero Carbon Bill,” O’Connor said.

The full report can be found here.

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