We're doing conscious consumerism all wrong

You’re a conscious consumer. You make good decisions. You shop at businesses that care about the environment. You ask yourself questions like, How long will this item last me? How long will I have it? How long is it going to be in landfill? If you don’t need it and you feel guilty about the answers to those questions, you don’t buy it. You recycle, you compost, you have a bamboo toothbrush. You buy organic, you buy local, you avoid plastic, and you take public transport. You’re awesome. You deserve a pat on the back for making decisions that are good for the planet. Conscious consumerism is morally righteous, bold, and good.

But I’m afraid it’s not good enough. Even if every one of us did all of these little things, it wouldn’t be enough. The little things are important, but we have to think bigger. We need to focus some attention on the true powerbrokers – the big industries that contribute to our big problems, like fossil fuel exploration, nuclear power, controversial weapons and tobacco production.

You wouldn’t send a $10 note to a nuclear power plant, so why would you invest your money in it? You can choose where you invest your money. If you didn’t know this, your investments may be supporting damage to the environment or unethical companies, right now. This is just another small switch in your already-conscious life that you can take to make a big difference.


It’s easy if you’re with KiwiSaver. Here’s what you can do:

Step One: Find out in your online account who your scheme provider is.

Step Two: Contact your scheme provider and ask if they offer ethical investment funds.

  • If they don’t, change your scheme provider. The potential transfer fee is worth every penny.

  • If they do, hang tight. First ask if they are certified by RIAA.

    • If they aren’t, change your scheme provider.

    • If they are, say hallelujah and ask them to put your money where your heart is.

 Step Three: Feel good about investing in open, honest and ethical companies.

Step Four: Keep doing all of the other amazing stuff you’re doing.


I know ethical investment sounds like a mouthful, but it’s easier than it sounds. It’s simple math! 

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If math’s not your strongsuit, try this tool. You can search for a KiwiSaver provider based on issues that are important to you. It was developed by our trusted badge partner Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA), so you’re in good hands.

Make sure your money is in good hands, too, and be sustainable in every way.