Australian Ethical - making money do good
A pioneer in Australia's investment industry, it was only natural that Australian Ethical became a certified B Corp given their corporate values. With more than 30 years in operation, Australian Ethical is dedicated to working towards creating a better world. We speak with Allyson Lowbridge, Chief Customer Officer at Australian Ethical.
Why is Australian Ethical a force for good?
Australian Ethical has been at the forefront of ethical investing for more than 30 years, and we’ve seen tremendous growth in the past couple of years which proves we’re entering an era of values and value – where values matter to people as much as value when investing for their future. Ethical investing can deliver on both fronts - providing strong returns while working towards a more sustainable future. And ethical investing isn’t niche anymore. What used to trickle in the backwaters of investing now runs strongly in the mainstream. As an ethical super fund, we are making the investments of our members do good not just for their futures, but also the future of the planet, people and animals. It’s the best of both worlds.
Why is it important for us to be thinking about who we invest with and the impacts of our investments on the world?
For most of us, super is likely to be one of your largest investments. When you think about your investment nest egg, it’s important to know what your money is supporting. It’s a simple concept, but something not many of us have thought about before.
Does your current super fund invest in companies that are involved in, or support, oil, tobacco, gambling or coal seam gas? If so, are you really comfortable with this? It’s important to understand where your money is invested, and then look closely at your own beliefs to consider why you’re investing with those money managers.
Once you know, you can’t not know! And you can then make the right decision to either stay where you are, or switch to a super fund that aligns better with your values.
You’re the resident B Keeper at Australian Ethical. What does that mean to you personally, and to the organization?
I’m really proud to represent Australian Ethical along with other people from our business, to promote B Corps and the importance of certification to the wider community.
You were one of the 200 members of the B Corp community who attended the Champions Retreat in Alice Springs in May 2017. What were your impressions and learnings from the gathering?
It was incredibly inspiring to be part of this group of like-minded business people. Everyone came from different kinds of industries and different business models, but we were all aligned with the one purpose – to do great things for the world. I came away from the event with a sense that I am part of this amazing tribe. All of these passionate people shared the same vision for the future and were committed to making a positive contribution.
The conference generated new initiatives for B Corps to work together to build recognition of the brand and encourage more businesses to commit to creating business models that benefit the community by looking beyond the bottom line.
B Corp is a global movement but the level of commitment needed to get the certification means it can get really personal for those involved. We can all help these great businesses by spreading the news about B Corp certification. I really do think that B Corps working together will help drive positive change all around the world.
‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ - Mahatma Gandhi
What are your own lived experiences of the values in your work and your everyday?
At Australian Ethical, we have four values:
- Wisdom (because balancing ethical and financial considerations is complex, requiring insight and thoughtfulness);
- Authenticity (by being honest and transparent we engender trust from others);
- Action (we believe no change is achieved without action – so we aim to lead and inspire others); and
- Empathy (we’re really conscious of our impact on the world around us).
Aligning with those values comes quite naturally for me and my team because our whole business is about being ethical, from the way we invest through to the way treat our customers and each other. So those values translate to examples like the decisions we make when we prioritise our workload, or the way we look out for each other, or even the way we try to keep a healthy balance between business and family. We’re really customer focused and everything we do is ultimately about growing the good.