Is your Super Fund destroying the climate?

During this summer, Australia was hit hard by destructive bushfires, succeeded by heavy rains causing flash floods, and is now dealing with the crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. It clearly demonstrates the necessity for taking measures to combat climate change and advocate for worldwide sustainability. This might include changing our individual behaviors, pushing companies to embrace green methods, or making certain that our leaders hear us and enact legislation that protects our tomorrow. No matter the level of effort, it’s crucial that we commit ourselves to this endeavor.

Often what is forgotten, is that our super funds, every Australian’s largest asset, is also capable of turning the climate change dial. Super funds are simply our savings stored away for our future. The money stored away in the super fund is invested by an administrator, which normally we couldn’t care less about, because use of these savings is normally so far down the track in our lives.

Though, I believe, this is a good thing for Australians to save money for their future retirement super, many super funds are investing in businesses that harm the environment. There is over one trillion dollars held in superannuation, which ironically is being invested in companies and assets that will ultimately destroy our future.

The majority of Super Funds have invested in mining shares, bank shares that lend to mining companies, manufacturers that have high waste material and energy companies that require burning fossil fuel.

It is therefore imperative to understand where your super is being invested. And to move to a different super fund which is investing for the good of our future.

Is your Super Fund investing in these companies?

If you don’t know where your super is being invested, then Google your Super Fund and click on their site! On their site, they will provide you details of their investment strategy. And if, there are no details then, Leave a Message via their contact form and ask them to provide to you a break down of where super money is being invested.

Investment Strategies of Super Funds

To go about finding the investment strategies of Super Funds, it is relatively easy. Google your super fund and go to their investment page. Some may be a little harder to find than others, such as REST which hides their details after clicking through to “Join”, very sneaky. Others, simply disclose a broad brush statement that their investment strategy is aligned with Environment, Social and Governance goals. Whatever that means, is anyone’s guess.

Below we list our some of the big Super Funds and their investment strategies.

Elevate Super – Move your Super out to a fund that really cares about Climate Change

There are only a handful of Super funds that truly care about Climate Change.

One of them is a new fund called Elevate Super. They truly align their goals to the 20 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). If you look through their history, and their strategy, can you see that they firmly believe in investing for the benefit of the world and not just bandy around empty slogans.

It’s also extremely easy to join up to. All online, three simple clicks and you will be with them in no time. Pull your money out of the big super funds which are investing in mining shares and invest in a sustainable future.

AustralianSuper – Investing in Environment, Social and Governance

AustralianSuper (AusSuper) is Australia’s largest superannuation by member count and member balance. It is a non profit organization which means all profits are returned to their members and they invest in a strategy that is described as Environment, Social and Governance (ESG). What the hell does this mean? I understand that consideration is given to it, but there is no clarity as to where they have invested their monies.

Making sure ESG factors are considered starts before we make an investment and continues for as long as we keep it, whether we’re investing directly ourselves or through external managers.

Great, thanks for considering.

UniSuper – investing in Woodside Petroleum

UniSuper invests for stable returns and they list out their major investment holdings which includes the likes of the big four banks, Woodside Petroleum, James Hardie (The company that was sued for millions of dollars for producing asbestos material), Rio Tinto and BHP.

If you are a University teacher, student, employee that has their super fund with UniSuper, I would highly recommend you consider withdrawing from their fund and moving elsewhere. Their investment strategy is far from being climate friendly.

REST Super – Investing in Environment, Social and Governance

Just like AustralianSuper, a Super Fund that has aligned its investment strategy to Environment, Social and Governance. No where on their site, do they provide details of their underlying share that they have purchased. They do however list our the investment managers that they use to execute the investment strategy, but that tells us nothing.

It’s no wonder then, that REST Super is being taken to court for being negligent in investing in assets that are destroying the climate. Mark McVeigh is a member of REST Super, and he will be representing a class action against REST Super in July.

QSuper – investing heavily in mining

If you have a QSuper fund and really want to make a difference to climate change, then you really need to pull your money out of this fund. QSuper invests in the following mining companies:

  • BHP
  • Woodside Petroleum
  • Fortescue Metals Group
  • Newcrest Mining
  • Rio Tinto

It really cannot get more unsustainable than QSuper. Well actually, you could if you have a super fund with First State Super.

First State Super – Super Hypocritical

Of all the super funds, First State Super is probably the most hypocritical. At first glance of their website their slogan is “Investing for the Greater Good”. And yet when you review their investment holdings in Australian shares, they have invested in the following:

  • BHP
  • Woodside Petroleum
  • Rio Tinto
  • Fortescue Metals Group
  • Santos
  • South32 (a steel maker spun off from BHP)
  • James Hardie (previously sued for asbestos products)
  • Oil Search Ltd

Is this Super Fund the gold star of hypocrisy?