New research by Mindful Money shows that the majority of New Zealanders are directly funding animal cruelty, with over 2 billion dollars of our KiwiSaver money currently directly invested in companies who test on animals.
Why is so much of our money supporting these companies?
KiwiSaver works like an investment fund. The money you put aside for your retirement or first home is managed and invested into companies on your behalf by your fund provider. At the moment, most traditional funds invest your money based on market trends and don't take into account the real-world impact. This is why we see our money funding companies that create nuclear weapons, commit human rights violations and test on animals. But this doesn't have to be this way, there is a growing trend in New Zealand towards ethical investment, and Kiwi’s speaking out about what they want their money to support.
But why is my money supporting animal testing?
It is estimated that up to 500,000 animals are harmed in animal testing each year according to Cruelty-Free International. This is a large amount of suffering - but what does the testing consist of?
The animal testing in your KiwiSaver funds mainly comes from the following types of industries:
🍴Food and Drink
You’ll be surprised to find that most of the world’s well-known brands are associated with testing on animals. This is because animal testing is required by law through the Chinese Food and Drug Administration for any products sold in China.
Will I still be able to earn good returns if I invest based on my values?
The good news is yes! There is growing evidence showing that well-managed ethical investments are, on average, bringing returns that are at least as high as those from conventional investing. There are many reasons why companies that do good also do well financially. For example:
- Companies that are well-managed in terms of strong environmental performance, good social policies, and good governance also do well financially. For example, companies that behave ethically avoid fines for environmental damage, have a better reputation (which is important for their brand value and customer loyalty), and have productive employees.
- Companies with strong social, environmental, and governance standards often have lower risks. There have been a string of companies that have behaved badly and suffered financially as a result - Facebook, VW, BP, Enron, Solid Energy (Pike River mine).
- Companies in unsustainable sectors typically risk market declines and stranded assets.
How can I stop funding animal testing?
Mindful Money is an NZ charity that can help you with that. They allow you to understand the companies that you’re invested in and any ethical implications that these may have. They have created a free fund checker tool, where you can see exactly how much of your money is going into each problematic industry. If you don't like what you see, you can use the Fund Finder tool which will suggest funds based on your values.
Author - Mindful Money
Mindful Money are a charity that promotes ethical investment. They offer New Zealanders objective information and research to compare the options for ethical investing. They aim to empower all New Zealanders to be responsible for how they invest their savings.