Super Funds Push Climate Change on Election Agenda
Tuesday, 7th June 2016 at 9:35 am
A social enterprise is campaigning to switch the federal election hot topic of superannuation away from tax to the potential for super funds to address climate change.
The social enterprise also donates to its charity partners, including Friends of the Earth, Nature Conservation Council NSW and Healthy Future, for every switch someone makes.
The ethical super campaign supports the three funds “most focused on divestment and renewable energy” – Future Super, Good Super and Australian Ethical.
Ethical Switch head of business partnerships Sam Marshall said the ethical super campaign was launched in time with the federal election to push climate change onto the agenda.
“All the major parties are talking about superannuation and how it’s going to be taxed and contributions are going to be taxed this way and that way, but with all this money in superannuation the focus should be on how the super funds are actually investing the money, not necessarily on… how can we tax the contributions as much as possible,” Marshall said.
“I think the debate is skewed, so what we want to do is bring attention to this issue [because] the major parties aren’t at all talking about climate change, it’s been really pushed down to the bottom list of priorities this election.
“We want to bring climate change back up on the list of priorities. If they’re talking about super why can’t we tie climate with super because people want to know this stuff. [Ethical investment] it’s the fastest growing segment in superannuation, and up to 50 per cent of the total assets managed are now being invested in socially responsible investments in Australia.
“People are wanting this information and… we want to be as loud as possible and say, you should be talking about climate change and you should be talking about how super funds are investing their money.”
He said Australians were “crying out” for ethical super options, shown by the uptake of socially responsible investment in the industry, which has over $2 trillion in funds under management.
“Socially responsible investment has doubled since 2013 to 2015, so the key message is the general population of Australia is crying out for this movement and things are not happening because it’s getting stuck at federal level,” Marshall said.
“But that’s not to say people aren’t interested and people aren’t wanting to do this. There’s a massive movement from the lower levels so it just has to be funnelled up the line.”
Together with the super funds and charity partners, Marshall said Ethical Switch would try to get as many people as possible to make the switch to raise awareness of the issue.
“The more people who get involved with this the more the politicians and people in power are going to have to sit up and take notice. Already there’s a bunch of people who are showing interest and what we want to achieve is getting people to switch their funds to ethically managed funds,” he said.
“That’s the outcome that we’re really going for, we want to create a change movement.”