New Zealanders demanding ethical Kiwisaver investments - survey

New Zealanders are demanding their Kiwisaver money is invested ethically, and are prepared to switch providers if investments don't match their values, a new survey has revealed.

Survey results released by Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) and Mindful Money show 83 percent of people want their money - including that from Kiwisaver - to be invested responsibly and ethically. That is a jump from 72 percent in 2018.

More than half want their investments to have a positive social or environmental impact in the next year, while 80 percent want to avoid problematic industries. 

  • 89 percent want to avoid investing in companies that don't pay their fair share of tax
  • 86 percent want to avoid social media companies that breach privacy
  • 86 percent want to avoid companies that practise predatory lending

The poll also revealed that two in three Kiwis would consider switching their Kiwisaver or investment provider if their current fund was engaged in activities inconsistent with their values. About six in 10 Kiwis want their fund managers to be aware of responsible investment options.

RIAA's chief executive Simon O'Connor said in a statement that Kiwis' demand for ethical investment is something the banking and wealth management sector should be aware of.

"The rising consumer sentiment around ethical investing is reflected by the continuing growth in the responsible investment sector in NZ," he said. 

"The challenge lies with fund managers to develop and provide consumers with suitable products which match their interests, concerns and values."

Mindful Money's founder and chief executive Barry Coates agrees.

"The survey shows that New Zealanders want to avoid investing in companies that do not reflect their values - human rights violations and labour rights abuses top the list."

But it's not just the younger generation wanting to see their money put into ethical ventures. The survey found support is higher among those over 60 years old. Support was also stronger among women.

The survey was conducted nationwide by Colmar-Brunton in September.