Stubbing out tobacco investments

Tayla Nalder
Stubbing out tobacco investments

Joining a growing chorus of financial institutions, Westpac New Zealand and its investment arm BT Funds Management have recently become signatories to the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge.

‘The Pledge’ as it’s more commonly called, highlights leading organisations that have moved to tobacco-free finance, to encourages others to follow suit. With 87 Founding Signatories and 34 Supporters - including Westpac NZ, BTNZ, AMP Capital, BNZ and BT Financial Group - The Pledge is quickly gaining traction around the world.

Westpac New Zealand is covered by Westpac Group’s Tobacco Position Statement, which states that Westpac will not provide finance for the purposes of growing tobacco or manufacturing tobacco-based products.

“For BTNZ, becoming a signatory to The Pledge is a continuation of our current strategy, given the divestment of all investments in companies involved in the manufacturing of tobacco products last year,” says Anna Boyle, Portfolio Manager Investment Solutions at BTNZ.

“We will continue to encourage more local and global asset managers, and our peers to become signatories to The Pledge.”

The Westpac KiwiSaver Scheme is managed by BTNZ, the investment arm of Westpac in New Zealand. With a specialist investment team, BTNZ are one of NZ’s leading fund managers, with over $10 billion of funds under management.

With seven million deaths worldwide each year and a forecast of one billion deaths this century due to tobacco-related illnesses, global and multi-stakeholder collaboration is needed to tackle the devastating impact of tobacco on society, as well as on the environment. The global finance sector is starting to see itself as part of the solution. Addressing the financing of tobacco companies across lending, insurance and investment is essential to global tobacco control efforts.

Click here  to watch an excellent TEDx Talk with Dr Bronwyn King. Dr King has been instrumental in the anti-tobacco movement in Australia, and the video explains why it’s reasonable to take a strong position on tobacco and why WNZL and BTNZ have taken this stance on behalf of our customers.

If you would like more information on The Pledge, you can visit the website here.

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