Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's how to invest your money ethically. Hosted by Frances Cook.

Kiwis have shown over and over again that they're fans of ethical investing.

Take the scandal over KiwiSaver funds accidentally investing into tobacco companies and businesses that produced cluster bombs. While some might have seen this as the price of a good return, most New Zealanders were outraged and demanded a change.

Plucky upstart Sharesies, that company that lets you invest in shares for as little as $5, has also found hot demand for ethical options.


They opened for business in beta mode, actively looking for feedback from their customers.

One of the first requests was for ethical funds.

All of this is part of a sea-change happening in New Zealand investing right now. While there once was a bit of lip service to ethical options, many in the industry have now overhauled their funds to get serious about the issue.

Yes, it was partly triggered by the nightmare publicity of the KiwiSaver cluster bombs investing, but the outcome is still an interesting one.

In the recently released New Zealand Investment and Operations Outlook Survey, 64 per cent of local fund managers said they wanted to be seen as doing the right thing on environmental, social, and governance issues.

That's a huge leap from only 20 per cent the year before. As in, before the KiwiSaver scandal.

I called up Mark Lister, head of Private Wealth Research for Craigs Investment Partners, to find out what ethical investing actually means, and if there's any downside.

We talked about what counts as ethical in the investing industry, whether your returns will be as good, and what a new investor can look for to make sure their investments fit their own personal ethics.


For the interview, listen to the podcast.

If you have questions about the podcast, or an idea for next time, come and find me online. I'm on Facebook here and Twitter here.

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