Earlier this year, Christian became a co-owner in Nocar Cargo - a pedal-bike courier service in central Wellington. The company had already been operating for several years when the opportunity came up to purchase the business with a friend.
“It was a no-brainer, really. Nocar Cargo is a small, low-risk business that I’m passionate about. Since we took over, we’ve tripled the revenue - and I think that’s down to two things. Our passion and energy for the service we’re providing, and a growing concern from our clients to actively reduce their carbon footprint.”
Reducing his carbon footprint is something Christian has been passionate about for a number of years. He completed a Master’s in Sustainable Development at Uppsala University in Sweden, researching how shorter working weeks can have a beneficial effect on humans, the economy and the environment.
“Yeah, it’s not necessarily a popular view, that’s for sure! But I’ve found the concept works for me. I’m able to use my downtime for personal leisure and to give back to my local community in different ways. I’m also involved in social enterprises like Kaicycle and Bikespace, the council-funded community workshop. I can use my skills to benefit others. That might not be something I could do if I had a traditional 9-5 routine."
When Christian returned to New Zealand after his studies, he researched the most ethical KiwiSaver scheme providers available at the time. “It was difficult to find comparative data, so I really had to do some research. But Booster’s socially responsible investment funds most closely matched what I was looking for.”
However, one thing niggled away at Christian. At that time, Booster (then Grosvenor)’s SRI funds were still investing in fossil fuels.
“It just made no sense to me that you could call a fund ethical if it still invested in fossil fuels. So, I contacted Booster about it. Hoping to convince Booster to update their investment strategy for their SRI funds.”
Christian didn’t hear anything back straight away, so figured Booster hadn’t taken his request seriously. About six months later, much to Christian’s surprise, he received an email from Booster to let him know that they were removing fossil fuels from their socially responsible investment funds.
“That was awesome! It was just a little thing, but it made me feel like my voice had been heard. That I’d been listened to.”
I invest in Booster's SRI funds because they avoid investing in fossil fuels. Because I actively minimise my environmental impact, that's really important to me.
“After that, I spoke to a lot of my friends about Booster’s SRI funds and encouraged them to think about where their KiwiSaver money was being invested. I think people don’t realise how simple it is to change your KiwiSaver provider - it takes about two minutes online!”
Christian’s advice to anyone thinking about KiwiSaver is to do your research first.
“Think about where your money is being invested. It’s so easy to invest your money ethically - and it just makes sense. But definitely get on board with KiwiSaver as early as you can. And, if you contribute just over $20 a week, you’ll also get the full annual top-up from the government.”
After years of flatting, Christian has just purchased his first house. True to his ethos, he has purchased a tiny home - just 50sqm - with a friend. “Ha! Yeah, it’s all been a bit of a rush. We weren’t really thinking about owning a home, but our circumstances changed quite suddenly. Actually, this was the first place we looked at - and we made an offer straight away.”
“It will mean living a minimalist lifestyle - but I’m ok with that!”
Photo credit to: Dani Fuenzalida