The companies working for social change in our new Positive Impact Funds

31 October 2019 / Published in Your Money

We’ve recently launched our all new Positive Impact Funds available in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme and ASB Investment Funds. What makes these funds different? Focused on impact investing, part of each fund invests your savings in companies that are working to achieve positive and measurable social and environmental results. It’s a fund designed to encourage companies to work for the future and aims to generate solid long-term returns. But what organisations are included, and what are the issues they’re tackling? Read on to learn about some of companies focused on positive social outcomes.

Education is a basic human right, as recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Education reduces poverty and increases quality of life, providing greater access to job opportunities and income. Beyond just the individual impact, education underpins economic growth, as it drives innovation and productivity. For all these reasons, it’s important that our Positive Impact Funds recognise and support companies that focus on improving the quality of and access to education. One of those companies is Laureate.

Starting in 1999 with a single university, Laureate strove to bring education to lower socioeconomic populations, particularly in Latin America, and provide vocational schooling leading to job placements. By reducing inequality in education, Laureate hopes to increase the number of youth and adults with relevant skills for today’s in-demand industries, improving their overall wellbeing.

Today, Laureate is an international network with almost one million students across 25 countries. Last year alone, over $750 million in scholarships and discounts were given to those who might not have been able to afford education otherwise. It is one of the largest Certified B Corporations in the world, a certification recognising businesses that ‘meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose’.

Another basic human right is the right to clean water. It’s estimated that 844 million people lack access to safe water, while another 2.3 billion lack access to a toilet. The demand for fresh water only increases as populations grow, while the global supply decreases. Extreme environmental events such as floods or droughts decrease the quality of fresh water available, making it even harder to keep up with demand.

Thankfully, there are companies out there like Xylem. It tackles this issue by increasing water-use efficiency by ensuring a sustainable supply of and access to fresh water. By developing advanced technologies and improving infrastructure across the full cycle of water (collection, transport, treatment and the return of wastewater), it provides safe water and sanitation solutions to over 3.5 million people across 150 countries. It has just been included on Fortune’s “Change the World” list for the second year in a row, recognising companies making significant positive social impact. It’s for these reasons that our Positive Impact Funds invest in Xylem.

Laureate and Xylem are just two of the companies that each fund invests in. Find out more about our Positive Impact Funds available in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme and ASB Investment Funds and how you can invest in them.  Want to learn more about the companies working for positive environmental impacts? Click here.

The Positive Impact Funds invested in the companies outlined in this blog at the time of publishing.

Interests in the ASB KiwiSaver Scheme and ASB Investment Funds (the Schemes) are issued by ASB Group Investments Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of ASB Bank Limited (ASB). ASB provides administration and distribution services for the Schemes. No person guarantees interests in the Schemes. Interests in the Schemes are not deposits or other liabilities of ASB. They are subject to investment risk, including possible loss of income and principal invested. For more information see the respective Scheme’s product disclosure statement available from ASB’s website and the register of offers of financial products at www.disclose-register.companiesoffice.govt.nz  (search for ASB KiwiSaver Scheme or ASB Investment Funds).


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