In the spotlight: climate change and gender equality top concerns for investor Indi Tansey

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Written by Katie Braid

4 Jun 2021

Indi Tansey is no stranger to understanding the value of purposeful business – she’s a director of Women in Technology, has a role at Queensland homelessness and housing peak body Q Shelter, plus a mix of other paid and volunteer consulting and mentoring work.

“I need to align my working life with my values and I want to be impactful,” she said.

“So when I came across Responsible Returns, it was like I could apply the same model of what I was doing in my life, to how I use my money.”

When she set out on her search to find a new bank, like many others, for Indi, one issue was front of mind – climate change.

“Now that we know how bad directly financing the coal and gas sector is, I couldn’t support a bank that knows how damaging this is and is still doing it.

“To see that some of the banks are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in these industries… it doesn’t make any sense.”

‘Fossil fuels’ is the category Responsible Returns users most search for to avoid in their investments, and similarly ‘Renewable energy and energy efficiency’ is the top category users search for to support.

RIAA’s 2020 consumer research also showed 80% of Australians and 87% of New Zealanders feel environmental issues are important when it comes to the investment of their money.

Followed closely behind climate change however, Indi was concerned about what impact her investment decisions would have for gender equality in Australia and abroad. While many banks and funds were advertising their fossil fuel free or low carbon credentials, Indi identified a gap in information and tools showing how super funds or banks are performing on this increasingly prominent issue.

“It would be really interesting to see a comparison of banks or super funds on how they do on gender equality – a percentage of women in leadership or board roles for example.”

She believes having a diverse leadership team drives the way an organisation is shaped and runs.

“From my own experience on boards and also in organisations where the boards aren’t representative of the staff, the stakeholders and the customers - when you don't have a balanced view at that strategic top level - it shows. And you can't create products or services that will truly serve the people you exist to serve.” 

Her advice to anyone looking to dip their toe into ethical investing – “Talk to people who are already doing it,” she says.

"Once you find something good, be one of those people that talks loudly about it."

“The same goes whenever you want to do anything new. Talk to people who care about this or have some experience with it, even if that is online – there’s a multitude of people talking about these topics.

“But then once you find something good, be one of those people that talks loudly about it. Do the research, but then once you learn, share it with other people.

“I think that is how change will happen,” she says.

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About Katie Braid

Katie is the Communications and Media Coordinator for the Responsible Investment Association Australasia where she is responsible for helping build awareness of and participation in responsible, ethical and impact investing through creative communications and media campaigns.