The Meeting Place

Super funds on the cusp of climate action

Superannuation sector efforts to address climate change risks are accelerating in Australia, according to a new report about Australia’s 20 largest licensed funds. 

The report found one-fifth of superannuation organisations studied have, in the past three months, publicly stated their intention to achieve net zero emissions across their investment portfolios by 2050, an indication of growing momentum in the sector.

Prepared by ClimateWorks Australia with the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, the report notes that three funds – Cbus, HESTA and UniSuper – have announced a net zero emissions by 2050 target across all of their investment portfolios.

It assesses these targets as ‘fully aligned’ with the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to keep global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. 

A fourth fund, Aware Super (First State Super), has said it will seek to transition to net zero by mid-century, but has not committed to an explicit target.

Twelve superannuation organisations – or 60 per cent of those assessed – were engaged in a range of activities to reduce portfolio emissions intensity but were not yet aligned with net zero by 2050.

Twenty per cent have disclosed no specific portfolio emissions reduction commitments or activities.

ClimateWorks Australia CEO Anna Skarbek says that recent announcements reflect increasing momentum internationally from leading investors. 

Ms Skarbek acknowledges that, until recently, the superannuation industry had lagged behind other sectors.

Many funds, she says, remain hesitant to set a net zero portfolio target, due to a lack of clarity around how they will achieve it.

“In 2018, superannuation funds owned almost half of Australia’s shares; by 2040, experts suggest they will own 60 per cent of ASX-listed equity. That means the decisions they make matter enormously to the rapid decarbonisation of the Australian economy,” she said.

The report indicates that, despite the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the superannuation sector is increasingly addressing climate risks.

Are you happy that super funds are starting to finally take action on climate change? Should they be doing more? What targets would you like to see?

8 comments

They'd better speed things up because lawyers will be laughing all the way to the bank if Mark McVeigh wins his case against Retail Employees Superannuation Trust, as it will set a precedent.  Mark is asking his super fund to provide him with disclosure about what it was doing to mitigate climate-change-related risks. He alleges REST has failed to protect his retirement savings from the financial devastation that will flow from climate change.

I hope he wins because it’a win for all of us - super fund trustees have a legal duty to consider climate change as a material risk to long term investment performance.

fortuantley my super fund is not caught up in the stupid climate change debate and instead is focused on returns for investors.

Here is australia we have an abundant supply of coal, gas and uranium (nuclaer no emmissions) and yet we continue to pander to the renewables industries.

Ever wonder why manufacturing has gone offshore - energy costs are too high.

Today we have somethign we can look at - Trump got out of Pairs - opened up shale gas exploration and reopended 3 coal mines and has nuclear - today middle america has energy pricing the same as we had in 2006 - in USA one just has to look at Calfornia - all in on renewables and they are losing industry to other states and costs are double middle amercia and oh! they have blackouts.

Climate change investments (actualy they are costs) are a wealth hazard.

Nealry all of the absurd precications have not come to pass and finally 3% is man made, 1.4% is australia's contribution to carbon emmision which make up 0.04% of the atmosphere and yet the government has wasted $10b in past few years tackling climate change.  Money could have been better spent building new HELE cooal fire power stations, more gas explorartion and build a nuclear plant - we do not have enough dispatchable base load power and it will never ever come from renewbales (wind and solar coming from overseas and a cost to australia)

Just plain dumb and un Australian

Would you please name your fund.

 

The reason I ask is that if any fund I had money in

were to go along with this nonsense I would switch

to another fund.

No I will not name my find but it hass been in the top 10 super funds over the apst 20 years - a good conservative fund.

Not fooled my this climate change nonsense.  A waste of tax payers money - don;t beleive me look at USA - Calforinia all in on renewabels and has the most expensive energy cost sin USA and over 1 million people and many munfacturing plantrs have left in past year alone - also they have blackouts.

Whereas in Trump cuntyr - middle america with coal, gas, nuclear they have energy cost that are the cheapest in the world and where we were at in 2006 before our idiot politicians got hooked o this renewables.

We have some smart policiticans in Craig Kelly and Mayy Canavan and Keith Pitt who know we must rely on gas, coal and nuclaer if we could in order to have affordable energy cost.

Teh absolute BS i read makes me sick and to all the climate change zealots - your un Australians and should be locked up for treason

Discon, the figures you give from America are totally false, at the end of 2019, Annual U.S. coal production reported to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration was just 703.6 million tons in 2019, a decrease of 6.9% compared to the prior year and the lowest level of annual production in modern U.S. history. The U.S. produced roughly 3.4% fewer tons of coal in 2019 than what companies mined in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration.

This was despite an increase in coal export, the which I believe Trump has now killed.

The research shows that the amount of electricity produced by coal generation in the US is 14% of the total electricity produced, and at the end of 2019, Moodies downgraded the credit rating of coal mines as they used to use the undug coal as collateral. - so as Moodies determined that the coal industry would be lucky to produce 11% in 2020, they removed the use of undug coal for collateral as they believe it won't be dug up.

This is pretty damning information, Discon, however many coal mines keep a caretaker working, so they dont have to admit to being closed as then they would have to clean up their messy  rusting Stranded Assets, the reality is that in a survey a couple of years ago, coal is twice as expensive as wind powered electricity, per megawatt hour, and Nuclear is 3 times as much, - which would you buy to power your factory?.

With Nuclear power, at least two stations have closed, and several reactors within several more and two othersat least have filed intention to close, plus several others survive only on strong municipal support.

The history is clear, Nuclear was built on defence money, is totally uneconomic to build now in the world of capitalism, Coal has killed Nuclear, Renewables and gas is killing coal, and Connected Renewables is killing gas plus the enormous damage gas does to the watertable, and therefore the farming industry.

In Australia, the Govt is supporting the dying coal fired generators, and forcing the owners to keep them despite that they are now unprofitable, eg. Liddell, owned by Australian Gas Light, not allowed to sell it, despite half it's generators no longer work, - I suppose that's better than Hazelwood, another 2 megawatt dinosaur, when closed had only .75 of a megawatt, yet the hysterical hue and cry from the coal possessed.. - or was it the Warming Deniers, - not much different I suppose.

Trump left the Paris agreement, despite the wishes of the majority of Americans, - on a par with his success of losing the Trade war with China, and his management of covid 19, with the highest death rate in the World, - oh yes, let's follow Trump down to whatever nether regions he is ensnared by, or wanting to grope. 

Those who think they are entiled to be innocent of how their money is used are living in a fools paradise, it is the same as paying someone else to kill someone you hate, - by Law you are also responsible, - to quote, Exodus 20,- 28,29, 28 “If a bull gores a man or woman to death, the bull is to be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull is to be stoned and its owner also is to be put to death.

So the Investor is the owner of the bull, and has been told about Climate change and it's effect on God's children, and their is more than enough proof that climate Change is Happening, that it is caused by Humankind and is going to cause a bad end, so you and all other investors (and you too Horace) in monetary returns only are guilty of Mortal sin according to the Old Testament, the which the right wing of the Liberal party is also believers of. 

Well, Discon, tough titties, you have chosen to follow that path, but you also have to answer to the real world of logic, - How can a power generation system that has to dig up whatever and feed it into a generator then dispose of the waste, be cheaper than Wind or Solar that has free input, - ie requires no fuel whatever.? - now that those two technologies are more mature and getting cheaper by the day, Gas is like last weeks fish, and getting smellier by the day.

 

Loader,

I have been in the uSA and they are not false - i have flok who have shown me their bills and i have discused at lenght with them - you afe a deliusional anti australian - and your data is false and only telss half gtrugths - as does the kool aid cljmate change renewable energy zealouts.  Howevder peole aroud the world are rejecting it and good on them.

Climate change has been happening forever - and please dont; quote the bible at me - i am christain but an intelligent one who is more interested in proividing the workld with cheap energy and jobs 

you climate change zealots make me sick and your views are repugnat and repulsive to me

"Are you happy that super funds are starting to finally take action on climate change? Should they be doing more? What targets would you like to see?"

No, I expect my super fund to get me the best possible investment with the minimum of risk. Their remit is all about investing in profitable enterprises regardless of what they do as long as it's legal. I note that the major funds that are doing this are industry funds and are following the Labor/Greens policies. It's interesting that Labor has different policies for different audiences. SE Queenslanders think Labor is against mining and northern Queenslanders are assured that Labor is pro mining.

Well said Horace - could not have said it any better

Funds should be only seeking the best return for their members, not basing investment decisions on dubious claims of 'green' investments.

If they don't, they are failing their duty and should be proscecuted for this failure.

"greenie," kindly read my reply to Discon above and you will find you have no evasion of responsibility for where you invest your money, - nor should you, because in modern legal parlance, you are covered by the Law of Torts, "A has a responsibility, to take Care,"  - your investment in companies that cause or aid Climate change is not taking care, and a company that pretends it's duty is to ignore the responsibility of the law of Torts is the one actually liable for prosecution, right now today.

Greenie - totally agree - but "greenies' are mostly watermelons and don;t think that way!!

lookfar - I woud prosecute the liars preaching more renewbles due to climate change -the great man Donald trump has clled them out for the garbage it is and the morons that have bought into it - un Australians and group think idiots that are causing massive economic damage to Australia's competitiveness for zero benefit. 

Another nail in Morrisonscoffin.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/17/angus-taylors-gas-plan-is-an-astoundingly-bad-idea-on-so-many-levels

lockfar - no self respecting conservative reads the toilet news from gaurdian with a redership of less than 5% - group think idealoges 

DISCON, if you only read things you agree with you will never learn anything, that practice may be why you can only name call as you are way out of touch with what is happening.

Perhaps time to start opening up your mind and learning new things.

8 comments