What does socially responsible investing mean to you? Some things seem glaringly obvious, like avoiding investment in companies that make money from landmines or cluster bombs. But all weapons manufacturing? How about tobacco? Pornography? Fossil fuels? Genetically modified organisms? Nuclear power? Gambling? Alcohol? Where do you draw the line?
"Ethical" will mean different things to different people. And investment funds have a variety of approaches to these questions.
That said, there are more socially responsible options than ever in KiwiSaver. According to the latest Sorted survey of providers, 38 per cent of KiwiSaver schemes now include an ethical option. Out of the 205 publicly available funds, 35 screen out a variety of "undesirable" investments.
Fisher Funds TWO Preservation Fund
Mercer Cash Fund
NZ Funds Income Strategy
Summer New Zealand Cash
Summer New Zealand Fixed Interest
Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Conservative Fund
Fisher Funds TWO Cash Enhanced Fund
Fisher Funds TWO Conservative Fund
Mercer Conservative Fund
Simplicity KiwiSaver Conservative Fund
AMP Fisher Balanced Fund
AMP Responsible Investment Balanced Fund
Booster Socially Responsible Investment Balanced Fund
Craigs Investment Partners Quaystreet Balanced SRI Fund
Fisher Funds TWO Balanced Fund
Mercer Balanced Fund
Mercer Moderate Fund
Simplicity KiwiSaver Balanced Fund
Summer Investment Selection
Superlife Ethica Fund
Booster Socially Responsible Investment Growth Fund
Fisher Funds KiwiSaver Growth Fund
Fisher Funds TWO Growth Fund
Mercer Growth Fund
NZ Funds Growth Strategy
NZ Funds Inflation Strategy
Simplicity KiwiSaver Growth Fund
Summer Global Equities
Summer New Zealand Equities
ANZ Sustainable International Share Fund
Fisher Funds TWO Equity Fund
Mercer High Growth Fund
Mercer Shares Fund
Summer Australian Equities
Summer Listed Property
Keep in mind that "ethical investment" is just one of the criteria you need to consider when choosing your fund.
The fund you're in also needs to be the right level of risk for you, have the level of services you want, with fees that seem reasonable. And of course it can't have consistently underperformed, either - which could be a sign of poor management.
You don't want to end up in the "ethically perfect" fund that doesn't suit your other needs. Still, in terms of investing ethically in KiwiSaver, it's good to know that you've got more options than ever.