Australia’s largest superannuation fund, AustralianSuper, has announced it will offer members a coal, oil, and gas-free investment option from May 30th.
According to AustralianSuper, the superannuation investment fund is “making changes to our sustainable investment options based on research of what our members want.” Specifically, according to AustralianSuper, members valued “long term returns, impact on environment and climate caused by fossil fuels, and human and labor rights.”
As such, AustralianSuper is introducing ‘Socially Aware’, one single investment option which reflects the views of the funds’ members. Socially Aware will not invest shares in companies which:
- have investments in fossil fuel (coal, oil, and gas) and uranium reserves
- have been flagged as having human rights, labor, environmental, or governance controversies
- are tobacco, cluster munitions, or landmine producers
- have single gender boards, ie, exclusively male or female boards
“With more than 2 million members and $90 billion in assets under management, AustralianSuper is our nation’s largest super fund,” said Isaac Astill, 350.org’s Divestment Campaigner, commenting on the news. “This fossil free announcement follows more than 2 years of work from members who don’t want their retirement savings fueling the devastating impacts of climate change.”
350.org Australia also called on AustralianSuper to “come up with a plan to apply these changes to the entire funds under management.”
“We look forward to AustralianSuper divesting their entire fund from fossil fuels, starting with coal,” continued Isaac Astill. “Members shouldn’t have to opt out of dirty fossil fuel investments that are bad for both to the planet and their portfolio.” Globally, the world’s largest fund managers are rapidly moving their money out of fossil fuels. This is no surprise when you look at the trend of fossil fuels. In the US alone, 30 coal companies have gone bankrupt and the coal market has lost 95% of its share value in the past 5 years.
“Aside from the financial risks, coal cripples communities and wreaks havoc on our climate. Do we really want our nest-eggs invested in this dirty and dangerous industry?”