The Human Rights Commission has today expressed concern at reports of KiwiSaver funds being invested in companies linked to human rights abuses.
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue says she is extremely concerned by the reports.
"I think all KiwiSaver members would be shocked to learn that their money might be being used to fund land mines, cluster bombs and big tobacco."
"This report comes on the back of the Business and Human Rights forum the Commission held last week. At the forum, there was a focus on responsible investment and how business has a responsibility to respect human rights not only in their direct supply chains, but also activity beyond this that is connected to their operation.”
"This isn't just about how we source products and services - it is also about making sure our investments are being made responsibly too."
"The recently released Responsible Investment Benchmark Report 2016, shows increasing consumer demand for investments that deliver strong returns as well as better social and environmental outcomes.
“It also showed that investments perform better when they are invested in sustainable companies and assets with a total of almost $79 billion being responsibly invested in New Zealand - an increase of 28% from the previous year.
“I encourage all kiwis to play an active role in understanding where their money is going, even when it is with government-appointed default schemes.”
“In a similar vein, I encourage New Zealand business to invest responsibly with the money kiwi employees entrust to them through investment.”
"Businesses run the risk of serious reputational damage from increasingly discerning customers if they invest irresponsibly, but are also in a powerful position to create positive social change,” Dr Blue says.