Environmental, Union and Social Groups Pressure Super Funds on Climate Risk and Opportunity Media Release

Feb 10, 2011 - 10:30am

Leading environmental, union and social organisations representing hundreds of thousands of members have written to the CEOs and Chairs of the largest superannuation funds urging them to participate in Australia’s most comprehensive independent survey of Funds’ ability to manage climate change risk and opportunity, The Climate Institute said today. 

Funds are being encouraged to participate in the Asset Owners Disclosure Project - an initiative of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) and The Climate Institute.

The Climate Institute’s Business Director Julian Poulter said: “This is a unique collaboration that can help reshape the way financial institutions manage long-term risks.

“Leading environmental, union and social organisations recognise the impact climate change will have on their members’ interests and are asking superannuation funds – who manage millions of dollars in retirement nest eggs - to better manage the risks and opportunities of climate change.” 

Eight organisations (ACTU, GetUp, Greenpeace, ACF, WWF, The Wilderness Society, AYCC, and ACOSS) have written to the Chairs and CEO’s of Australia’s largest superfunds urging them to disclose their plans for managing climate change risk via the Asset Owners Disclosure Project.

Getup’s National Director Simon Sheikh said: “Superfunds are detached from both their customer base and the investments they make on our behalf. We believe that the time has come for people, especially younger people, to make the link between the type of world they will be forced to live in once climate change impacts become more severe, and how these funds currently invest their money.”

Linda Selvey, CEO Greenpeace Australia, said: Australian's retirement funds are invested in sectors carrying a high carbon pollution risk. People have a right to know how much their retirement funds are at risk. The Superfunds should come clean about how much their investments are exposed and what they are doing about it.”

Dermot O’Gorman, CEO of WWF Australia said: “The link between the environment and the economy becomes clearer every day. The Asset Owners Disclosure Project is available to these funds to show their members they are taking climate change seriously and not just investing money into short term markets.” 

Every Australian super fund, with more than $300 million in funds under management, has received an invitation to participate in the survey which seeks disclosure on every aspect of how they manage, or plan to manage, the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

The deadline for the completion and return of the third round of the survey is late February 2011.

For further information: 
Julian Poulter | Business Director, The Climate Institute |  0402 488 877
Harriet Binet | Communications Director, The Climate Institute |  02 8239 6299

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