On aligning Everything with our Values or Doing Well by Doing Good

Recently I made a significant change with my own money, and decided to make its investment consistent with my values. I invested ethically.   

Money and ethics aren’t always natural bedfellows, but there is a way to combine the two.

In recent years we’ve seen the rise of 

what are called “ethical” or “responsible” investment” funds – funds which avoid certain companies such as gambling or tobacco, or favour clean & green companies. They’re still small scale in New Zealand, but o

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s are big and growing. In Australia over $500 billion is “ethically screened” and they have quite a number of funds for investors such as you and I. While there’s only a handful available in NZ, there are several, and  at least two KiwiSaver schemes have got “ethical investment” options.

 
 

It used to be that people worried that ethical funds mightn’t do as well as mainstream ones, but all the latest evidence is that they do at least as well and often better.  The Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA) came out with a report last year which showed that Australian ethical funds had consistently outperformed others.   (more on that below)  

 

That’s really “doing well by doing good”!


My adviser and guide in this area is Peter Lee, principal of C2C Partners, formerly Natural Edge Consulting.  Peter’s a former CEO of the main financial advisory professional body, the IFA, so he knows a thing or two about wise investing. Even more important for me, Peter’s also had years of experience in the ethical investment area, having launched two ethical investment funds. We also share a common commitment to business sustainability – Peter was a founder director of the Sustainable Business Network.

 

According to Peter, while the NZ market isn’t yet complete, if you’ve got money to invest it’s still possible with good advice to put together a good mix of ethical funds to achieve the sort of diversification that’s important.


Fortunately you don’t have to have large lump sums to be able to invest ethically – you can start with KiwiSaver. Given most of us are probably already in KiwiSaver, we can make an immediate impact by switching to an ethically-screened KiwiSaver fund.  It was the obvious starting point for me. Getting good advice is always important, so I found Peter’s wise and sensible advice really helpful in explaining the various options here and in identifying  the right KiwiSaver scheme and fund for me, especially as some are only available through an adviser.

 

In my case I’ve decided to work with Peter and to switch my KiwiSaver across to an ethical fund in the Grosvenor KiwiSaver Scheme. Grosvenor is an NZ-owned and managed fund manager, which I liked, and seemed to be committed to ethical investing. While Peter cautioned me not to focus too much on short-term results, my particular fund has done reasonably well in the past year.  There are other schemes and funds available, so as always, it’s worthwhile getting advice.

 
 
 

I’m also looking forward to working with Peter to invest an upcoming lump sum in ethical funds.  

 

Last Wednesday morning Peter and I were talking about ROI and for the following reasons we believe that ethical companies will out-perform other companies in the long term.

Put simply they will have better performing teams because they will be values aligned – it is proven that companies with a strong values culture do better than other companies by a factor or 3 or 4.











 

 

So what are the main ways values influence a business?


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–  a system of shared beliefs and values passed on through behaviour and learning





 

  • Once we’re clear on what we believe and value we can direct our attention, energy onto what we have decided is important.  We can direct our behaviour and that of those working with us.
  • With clarity about beliefs and values we know what behaviours to instil in the business.  Without this direction people will make up their own minds about what is important and make decisions based on their own values – leading to confusions, frustration and very often to conflict at all levels in the business.






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Strategy – a plan for moving in a deliberate direction towards a vision, strategic objective or goal. 


 

 
 
 
 
 
 


 

Leadership  –  The role of a business owner or leader should be primarily focussed on the effective alignment of everything in the business in order to achieve the desired end game.

  • Consider a leader – you – building a relational values based business and then being a controlling leader.  Anyone you were hoping to lead – board members, employees or customers – will be very confused.

 

Systems

First people systems – quite possibly the most important.  Personal values direct attention and decision making.   This has enormous implication because unless clearly directed by a culture, leadership, and structures people will disregard or ignore instructions determined by the extent or degree to which their personal values align or misalign with their tasks and roles.  The thing most business owners report struggle with is getting their team to do what they want them to.  Aligning values is the simplest and most effective way to resolve this – forever!

Sales systems – 3 types of sales methodology and each one is based on one type of value.

– See more at: https://creatingwhatmatters.co.nz/articles/strategic-lever-values/

 

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