I just got back from a fantastic morning at the launch of The Climate Institute's Climate Smart Super report with Blair Palese (350.org), the stellar John Hewson (of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) and former leader of the opposition), John Connor (The Climate Institute) and Bill Hartnett (Local Government Super).
This panel were discussing how to divest the $1.7 trillion in Australia's super funds from a fossil fuel based economy ASAP - powerful stuff.
Dr John Hewson - Chair, OADP - spoke about the role of boards and directors in recalibrating portfolios which were inherently risky. The AODP's report found that 60% of investments were exposed to carbon-intensive assets - a risk which undermines super funds' responsibility to manage the funds of all Australia's retired population.
Blair Palese - Communications Director at 350.org Australia - noted the increased interest and activism from civil society. A heartening amount of people are demanding to know how their super is being invested and are acting by moving their money out of funds that were not investing it safely.
Bill Hartnett - Head of Sustainability at Local Government Super - spoke from an investment perspective and as the leader of a company who has become the number one at super fund at managing climate risk, according the AODP's survey and climate rating, also release today. Interestingly, Local Government and Super divested entirely from tobacco, armaments and gambling by 2004, and were able to make the financial case for doing so and adhere to fiduciary dury. They hope to do the same while moving from a high to low carbon investment portfolio.
See below for the top 10 Australian super funds managing climate risk:
The Climate Institute's report - Climate Smart Super - is and is essentially a very readable how-to guide for any Australians who want to become superannuation activists or simply protect their money from carbon and climate-change risks. It's free and available to download here - we've got ours!