Sep 25, 2008 - 12:30pm
The world’s most comprehensive initiative designed to assist super
funds manage the risks and maximise the opportunities associated with
climate change was launched today at Parliament House by Federal
Minister for Superannuation, the Hon. Senator Nick Sherry.
the Australian Asset Owners Climate Change Initiative, it is the product
of a unique partnership between The Climate Institute and the
Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST).
initiative is designed to assist Australian superannuation and pension
funds adopt best practice and to lead international competitors in
managing the risks and maximising the opportunities in the response to
the challenge of climate change,” Climate Institute CEO John Connor
The initiative consists of a survey of 80 of Australia’s
largest superannuation funds, each with more than one billion dollars
under management, backed by best practice guidelines both of which will
be updated annually.
“The survey and best practice guidelines will
assist asset owners, who collectively manage more than a trillion
dollars of investor capital - equivalent to Australia’s annual GDP, to
better manage the material impacts of climate change and the
consequences of government policy,” Mr Connor said.
“In order to
look after the long-term interests of members, funds will be encouraged
to invest in and/or ensure companies have strategies in place to manage
climate risks, and to take advantage of emerging clean technology and
carbon permit markets.”
AIST Chair, Ian Robertson, said super
funds had a fiduciary obligation to address long-term risks for their
beneficiaries, and climate change would have to be the greatest long
term risk of all.
“Climate change is an issue that everyone thinks
someone else should do something about. As asset owners of more than
one trillion dollars, super fund boards are ideally placed to do
something constructive and poorly placed to avoid that responsibility,”
Mr Robertson said.
AIST’s partnership with The Climate Institute
on this unique initiative would build on other AIST research projects
such as recent work examining the carbon footprint of superannuation
funds, Mr Robertson said.