In the series on Investing for Positive Impact, Mindful Money will be covering different aspects of ‘impact investing’ – investing for social and environmental good. This is a rapidly expanding area of investment worldwide. There is interest and enthusiasm about the potential to not only earn a financial return but also deliver a positive return for people and our planet.
In our opening seminar, the panel talked about the foundations for impact investing in New Zealand. The panel members were drawn from the pioneers who have been working to build the impact investing sector:
David Woods is Deputy Chair of New Zealand Green Investment Finance, Deputy Chair of New Zealand National Advisory Board for Impact Investing, and a Director of Te Puna Hapori Fund
Rangimarie Price (whakapapa to Whakatohea, Ngai Tai ki Torere, Tuwharetoa and Te Ati Haunui a Paparangi) is a Director of The Connective, Chair of Taitokerau Education Trust, former CEO of Amokura Iwi Consortium and a member of the New Zealand National Advisory Board for Impact Investing
Jamie Newth is a Lecturer at University of Auckland, CEO of Soul Capital, Chair of Ember Innovations, Board member of New Zealand National Advisory Board for Impact Investing
David Woods opened up the panel discussion by describing what impact investing is, how it is different from ethical investing and the international context. As an example, he highlighted the potential for impact investing to complement and scale up social investments, with government paying for the delivery of defined outcomes.
Rangimarie provided a perspective from working with iwi in Taitokerau, where they have defined what they regard as ‘good’ and are securing finance that fits with their aims. The emphasis is on trust and the integrity of the process rather than detailed methodologies that measure impact.
Jamie outlined the different forms of impact investing that differ by asset, by use of funds, by the aims of the investors and by scale. He noted that extensive research has established that returns from ethical/responsible investing are as high or higher than comparable conventional funds, and suggested this is likely to also apply to much of impact investing. However, there will also be some investors that adopt an impact first approach, aiming to give priority to impact over returns.
There were other interesting issues highlighted during the seminar. Check out the recording.
With thanks to our principal sponsors - Generate KiwiSaver, Harbour Asset Management, Booster Asset Management, and Sustainalytics; contributing sponsors - AMP Capital, Harbour Asset Management, Mercer and Milford Asset Management; and supporting sponsor - Devon Funds Management.