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Our approach to responsible investing

We're committed to responsible investing. Environmental,
social and governance (ESG) issues are considered by our
in-house investment management team when making
decisions about investments.

We’re part of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment framework.

In 2020 Kiwi Wealth became a signatory to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment framework. Find out why that’s important and what that means.



Our commitment to responsible investment

Globe with leaf

Applies to everything
we do 

We identify opportunities and vote for positive change on ESG issues in organisations we invest in. And, none of our funds have holdings in tobacco or controversial weapons companies, directly or indirectly. We not only exclude companies based on what they produce, we also exclude based on their behaviour and impact on people and the environment.


Performance is always
a priority

The investment approach we've taken provides greater opportunity to generate better market returns. Our responsible investment decisions reflect good long-term business sense. Members can feel good about doing the “right thing” without compromising potential returns.

World location

We’re in control of
where we invest

Our New Zealand-based global investment management team has control over which industries and companies our funds are invested in. Decisions about what is or isn't invested in is in our control, guided by our Responsible Investment Policy.

How we apply our Responsible Investing Policy

Our Responsible Investment Policy sets out how we will incorporate responsible investing principles and practices into our investment decisions. This includes decisions to invest in securities and decisions to appoint investment managers.

We do our research

We subscribe to MSCI ESG Research who provide us with in-depth research, ratings and analysis of the impact on the environment, social issues (like work conditions for employees) and governance-related business practices of thousands of companies worldwide. Their research provides us with critical insights that help us identify ESG risks and opportunities that traditional investment research may overlook.

Influencing positive change where we invest

Using the collective power of our investors we can use proxy voting to influence positive change on ESG issues in organisations we invest in. Through world class research provided by ISS we identify opportunities and, where relevant vote for change as a Socially Responsible Investor. Longer term, these votes make good business sense.


For exclusions we focus on:

See our exclusions

1. Zero tolerance exclusions

Companies which are involved in any of the following product areas will be excluded for both direct and indirect investment:

Tobacco - the tobacco industry’s products are both highly addictive and highly detrimental to health. In addition, their products are aggressively marketed in emerging economies, amounting to widespread human victimisation. We exclude companies where tobacco is the primary industry.

Controversial and nuclear weapons – controversial and nuclear weapons are characterised by being particularly likely to cause civilian casualties either due to their intended usage or due to unintended casualties. This category covers weapons such as cluster bombs, landmines, depleted uranium weapons, chemical and biological weapons, nuclear weapons. We exclude any company identified as being involved in this category.

Whaling and whale meat processing – the whaling industry has decimated many whale populations. The New Zealand government is strongly committed to anti-whaling efforts and whaling remains a deeply unpopular industry in New Zealand. We exclude any company identified as being involved in this category.

2. ESG exclusions

Companies which fall into this category exhibit highly unethical behaviour, particularly in the context of:

  • Abuse of the environment
  • Human rights abuses
  • Endemic illegal activities, whether by New Zealand or local law.

These companies will be excluded from directly held investments only, including where such investments may be made by another investment manager under an IMA.

3. Areas of sensitivity

The following industries are considered areas of sensitivity, due to their increased likelihood of victimising people and/or the environment:

  • Defence and firearms
  • Gambling services
  • Thermal coal
  • Nuclear power
  • Palm oil

Investments may be made in these sensitive areas in special cases where the general concerns for the industry in question have been sufficiently mitigated by the company. Some of these may end up on our exclusion list.

We also use the New Zealand Superannuation Fund exclusions list to help us identify companies for our exclusion list.


Our KiwiSaver funds are all responsibly invested

All of the investment funds in the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme are certified by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), the key local industry body representing responsible and ethical investors across Australia and New Zealand.**

Who we invest in

Transparency is a core value of Kiwi Wealth, here is what we invest in for each of our six KiwiSaver funds:

Here's what our members think about responsible investing


of respondents believe that it is of at least some importance that KiwiSaver funds consider environmental, social, governance and/or ethical factors.


of respondents expect their KiwiSaver and other investments to be responsibly invested.


of respondents stated their choice was influenced more by ESG factors than their desire to maximise financial returns


of respondents stated that they would be more likely to invest in a KiwiSaver fund that is certified by an independent body as a 'Responsible Investor'.

Source: Kiwi Wealth Responsible Investment Annual Member Survey, November 2018

**The investment funds in the Kiwi Wealth KiwiSaver Scheme have been certified by RIAA according to the strict operational and disclosure practices required under the Responsible Investment Certification Program. See www.responsibleinvestment.org for details.
The Responsible Investment Certification Program does not constitute financial product advice. Neither the Certification Symbol nor RIAA recommends to any person that any financial product is a suitable investment or that returns are guaranteed. Appropriate professional advice should be sought prior to making an investment decision. RIAA does not hold an Australian Financial Services Licence.

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