Our new giving model: champions of people, our planet and animals.

John Berry

09 May, 2024

3 min read

An update on our charitable giving

You may have noticed that our Charitable Giving page is no longer on our website...we have some news.

But first, a bit of background:

Pathfinder KiwiSaver Plan started life in 2019 as a social enterprise – we were on dual missions:

One: generate strong returns by avoiding harm and investing in good.

Two: support New Zealand charities.

Good plus good equals really good, right?

We donated 20% of our KiwiSaver management fees annually, culminating in $1.35 million dollars donated over four years. We let our members (that’s you) choose which charity to support and these selections drove the distribution of funds given. The donations were untagged, meaning the charities could use them as they saw fit.

Our brilliant charity partners have done some amazing mahi over that time and we’re so proud to have been a part of such a wide range of initiatives; from food literacy training, to defending nature in Aotearoa to challenging companies to find alternative methods to animal testing.

After four years of funding our charity partners we’ve decided it’s time to step up the way we do things to have a more direct impact on the pillars our investing stands on.

Introducing our new giving model: champions of people, our planet and animals.

From 1 April this year, we have been dedicating 1% of revenue from across our whole business (this covers all our retail managed funds as well as our KiwiSaver funds) to support our vision for a better future happening faster.

This means that as more members join us, we’ll be able to direct funds towards a range of exciting endeavours in our own backyard.

We’ll continue to support charities whose work actively improves our planet and the lives of people and animals, but we’re broadening our horizon to also include:

Scholarships - sponsoring underrepresented or under-supported people in their development, including into sectors capable of making systemic societal change (such as finance, business, law and environmental studies).

Social enterprise grants: supporting purpose driven businesses with potential to create positive change (this could include early-stage solutions to pressing challenges faced by our planet or communities.

Education and awareness: supporting initiatives where we see potential to promote positive change. This could, for example, be in the sphere of business or youth development.

How will this be decided

To qualify any potential recipient will need to meet two thresholds:  "impact" and "connection".

Connection:  Does the proposal have a sufficiently strong connection to the pillars of our investment approach (being people, planet and animals)?.

Impact: Will supporting the proposal contribute to measurable improvement either directly (in the form of immediate action) or indirectly (in the form of slower long-term systemic change)?

We consider each pillar as follows:

Planet: the protection, or even enhancement, of our ecosystem's climate stability or environmental sustainability.

Animals greater protections and dignity, prevention of harm, preservation of rights, improved quality of life and/or non-commodification.

People: an improvement in (and/or protection of) human rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with a particular focus on dignity, well-being (mental and physical) and social equality.

In simple terms: will this proposal make a measurable impact on one or more of the categories we strive to help improve: people, our planet and animals?

A new beginning

As members of our KiwiSaver or investors of our managed funds, we’ll share with you the projects we undertake. For example, we’ll introduce you to scholarship recipients, keep you up to date with social enterprises we’ve helped fund (so you can check them out in the market) and report on our wider positive impact.

We’ll report on our funding/donating in our annual Sustainability Report and on our ‘Insights’ page on our website.

For those of you who were passionate supporters of the charity you selected, we get you may feel disappointed. With that in mind, we’ve created afeedback survey so you can share what you loved most about the charity you picked. This way we can review our members' priorities against our principles as a business, which can help us allocate our 1% giving over the coming years.

This is the beginning of us being able to support more great endeavours more directly. Thank you again for picking Pathfinder and for joining a movement that demands we invest in better (for us, for our family and for our collective future).

Author: John Berry,
CEO & Co-founder Pathfinder.

John Berry

John is committed to making ethical investment accessible to all NZ investors. Before co-founding Pathfinder in 2009 John worked in law firms and investment banks in Auckland, London and Sydney. He has a BCom/LLB(Hons) from Auckland University and is a board member of Men’s Health Trust. In 2023 John was awarded as the Sustainable Business Networks Sustainability Superstar.