Show #174 – Professor Stuart Palmer: Ethics, philosophy and using your money to change the world


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Love our new show tune in the intro/outro? It’s talented Australian independent artist Melanie Horsnell’s song “Birds”. So proud to support this wonderful Aussie artist and have her grace the show with her wonderful words and song!


And onto this week’s show!

The power of your money: Values-based financial decisions and management can be key to turbocharging our impact in the world – to quite literally invest in the change we want to see in the world. I invite Stuart Palmer, BA, LLB, MLitt, PhD former banker, lawyer and now head of ethics research for Australian Ethical Super, to discuss ethics in investments and how we can influence the world as a powerful collective when we start investing in line with our values. I hope you enjoy the show and don’t forget you can find further information below, along with our podcast show supporter offer to help you make your low tox swaps a little lighter on!

The Questions I asked Stuart:

  • When did numbers first become fascinating to you in your life? 
  • When was it that the impact of money came into your consciousness and when did you feel you wanted to then work in ethical investment? 
  • What are the ethics to be considered when investing for someone wanting the 101 on Ethical Investment? 
  • Can you recommend an exercise we could all do to connect to our ethics? I say things because often, people get culturally conditioned to a point where we have lost touch with a moral compass / or perhaps because who pays us forces us to justify a certain position? It can be a confronting experience to go deeper, think about your values and what one considers ethical (I know things through taking people through the food system/chemical industry to uncover the truth and then if one’s working for a big multinational that’s been doing the wrong thing by people/planet/animals the realisation that they need to work somewhere else is a big realisation, uncomfortable and raw before it becomes exciting and empowering, for example) 
  • What are the powers of Ethical Investment that you’ve already seen first hand? 
  • What are the unsustainable business models of the past that we need to move away from? 
  • When you’re looking at potential investments, what’s your screening process? 
  • How does a ‘just transition’ look when considering investments (ie if we all jump ship into renewables/no factory farming/no gambling etc really quickly, where does that leave those families?
  • Just how powerful is our climate action vote, when we do it with our money/superannuation? 
  • What are some of the most exciting things you’ve seen in the investment shifts happening at the higher levels that we might not realise are happening as people simply putting away our 9.5% each week?
  • At Australian Ethical, how do you keep tabs on the investments made to ensure the standards/ethics aren’t changing/drifting? Is there an independent watchdog or is this on your internal analysts to watch? 
  • How are you finding ethical investments performing in the market? 
  • How do you feel about our current PM stating that boycotting companies shouldn’t be allowed? 
  • Where do you see the major shifts in the next 10 years? Is there to be a tipping point where unethical business and the politicians they fund will be caught red-handed, unable to continue with business as usual? 



Other helpful links:

To know more about ethical and sustainable investing:

Follow them on Instagram @australianethical or Facebook


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Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show on your app – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world.

Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet

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