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Mindful Money Launching New Ethical Investment Platform

There is a revolution taking place in financial investment. Investors are seeking to limit the harm from their investments and increase the social and environmental benefits. This is no longer a niche strategy – it has become good investment practice for investors, ranging from the world’s largest investment managers through to growing numbers of individual investors.

Barry Coates, Mindful Money’s founder and CEO explained:

Our surveys show that investors want to invest ethically, so they can feel good about their investments. Investing ethically (or responsibly) can be one of the most powerful actions that people can take for sustainability. And research shows that investing ethically provides good financial returns, at least as high on average as conventional investing.

Feel good, do good, earn good returns. It’s no wonder that Kiwis are waking up to ethical investment.”

Mindful Money is at the forefront of this movement in New Zealand. In only one year of operation, this small charity has made a massive impact. Now Mindful Money is gearing up for the future.

Mindful Money brings radical transparency to investing

On Wednesday this week, Mindful Money, a charity promoting ethical investing, will launch analysis of all 390 New Zealand managed investment funds onto its new website.

This extends the analysis of 281 KiwiSaver funds that Mindful Money launched a year ago to now cover all KiwiSaver and retail managed funds.

For the first time, New Zealand investors have the opportunity to see what companies their managed funds invest in. This is information that all investors should be able to access. Mindful Money makes it quick and easy.

Barry Coates commented: “Mindful Money is unique. There is no other source for this information in New Zealand. From our understanding, this level of transparency does not exist in any country. Mindful Money makes it available to all members of the public for free. This is radical transparency in action.”

Investment funds are still invested in companies they would like to avoid

Annual surveys undertaken jointly by Mindful Money and the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia show that most New Zealanders would like to avoid investing in sectors and companies such as fossil fuels, weapons, products tested on animals and human rights abuses. Mindful Money tracks investments in ten sectors/companies of concern. Only a few ‘Mindful Funds’ exclude most of these companies or show that they engage with companies to improve their practices.

Mindful Money’s analysis shows that around $2.3 billion of managed funds is invested in the ten sectors. This amounts to 4.76% of total managed funds of around $50 billion. A report on the analysis, together with an updated analysis of KiwiSaver portfolio holdings, will be launched on Wednesday this week.

Barry Coates observed:

The typical reaction we hear from people who use the Mindful Money website is shock. They do not realise their funds are invested in companies that are so inconsistent with their values. Mindful Money’s fund finder helps them find investment options that meet their criteria.

Mindful Money conference: Investing for a sustainable recovery

Mindful Money will hold a conference at KPMG on Wednesday evening. Jane Wrightson, Retirement Commissioner will open up the conference, talking about public outreach during the current Money Week. A panel on engaging the public about ethical investing will follow, including leaders of managed funds that are launching onto Mindful Money’s website: David Beattie, Booster; Hugh Stevens, Smartshares; Sarah Whitelock, Mercer; and Brian Henry, Amanah.

The conference will conclude with a panel discussing investment action on climate change, with leaders from other managed funds on the Mindful Money website: Rebekah Swan, AMP Capital; Sam Stubbs, Simplicity; and John Berry, Pathfinder.

Mindful Money Crowdfunding campaign

As a small and new charity, Mindful Money is raising $30,000 of public funding to get the message out to the wider public.

Barry Coates explained:

We want to reach across New Zealand society, young and old, those saving dollars or millions, and those from all walks of life. Our surveys show that the main thing that counts is whether people care about issues like climate change, a good environment and fairness. That describes most of New Zealand.”

We aim to build a movement of Kiwis who shift their money to companies that do good. That will channel more funding into renewable energy, clean water, affordable housing and companies with high ethical standards. Companies that pollute and abuse human rights will be starved of funds and face pressure from investors to clean up their act. This is the pathway to transform the investment sector and mainstream sustainable finance.”

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