Independent super fund survey enters third year Media Release

Nov 04, 2010 - 11:00am

The third year of Australia’s most comprehensive, independent survey of superannuation funds’ readiness to manage the risks and opportunities of climate change was launched today by The Climate Institute and the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).

“The Asset Owners Disclosure Project is the only independent, market wide survey for asset owners regarding the management of climate change risks and opportunities and we are pleased to be partnering with the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees for the third year,” said Julian Poulter, The Climate Institute’s Business Director. 

“This year’s survey has been improved through industry feedback and consultation and has for the first time gained the support of organisations representing millions of Australian super fund members such as the ACTU, Australian Conservation Foundation, GetUp!, WWF, Australian Council of Social Service and Greenpeace.

“It will be exciting to see how Australian super funds’ carbon management capability has progressed given recent comments by BHP chief Marius Kloppers on the inevitability of global action and the risks for Australia’s economic competitiveness.

“Whilst no one can predict accurately how and when a global carbon price will occur, leading super funds are looking at innovative ways to protect their portfolios over the long term in advance of carbon regulation that will inevitably produce sudden revaluations in high risk companies. Those funds whose strategy doesn’t cater for that inevitability are pointing to a volatile future for the management of their members retirement nest eggs.”   

The survey has features that keep it as the “world standard” for fund disclosure including: 
  • Linkage to the new global Asset Owners Disclosure Project launched in London in October that will allow Australian funds to benchmark themselves against funds from all over the world as well as Australia.
  • Release of the 2011 Climate Leaders Index, the top quartile performers
  • Disclosure of emissions and emissions reduction strategies (similar to investors’ requests of companies in the Carbon Disclosure Project);
  • Reporting and assessment of low carbon and pollution intensive investments
  • Rating of climate change practice and performance
  • Focus on management of the systemic risk represented by climate change
Every Australian super fund, with more than $300 million in funds under management, will receive an invitation to participate in the survey this year which seeks disclosure on every aspect of how they manage, or plan to manage, the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.

Fiona Reynolds, AIST Chief Executive Officer said the Survey would shed valuable light on how individual super funds were integrating climate change risks and opportunities into their investment strategies whilst also serving as a benchmarking tool for the industry. 

The deadline for the completion and return of the third round of the survey is 31 January 2011.

For further information: 
Julian Poulter | Business Director, The Climate Institute |  0402 488 877 
Harriet Binet | Communications Director, The Climate Institute |  02 8239 6299 or  0402 588 384
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