If there’s a will, there’s a way (to invest ethically)
10 March 2020 at 8:35 am
Just 2 per cent of Australians believe investing with an ethical superfund will make a difference to climate change
Concern over climate change is having little influence over the way Australians invest their finances and superannuation, new research shows.
An Australian Ethical report found that even though 83 per cent of people surveyed believed climate change was happening, only 2 per cent thought investing in an ethical superfund would do anything to save the planet.
Despite the low percentage of ethical investors, the report found that nearly three quarters of people surveyed wanted to do more to help reduce their environmental impact, and regularly used their shopping dollar to buy environmentally friendly products.
A knowledge gap
Allyson Lowbridge, Australian Ethical chief customer officer, said the results in the report show that many Australians are unaware of the influence they have over where their money is invested.
“I think when you ask people what they think makes a difference, superannuation isn’t top of mind for most, because we know that apathy exists around knowing where superannuation is being invested,” Lowbridge told Pro Bono News.
“It seems that Australians are simply unaware of the power of their money.”
With $3 trillion currently invested in superannuation in Australia, Lowbridge said there was the potential to “transform capitalism”.
“Being able to collectively move our money so we can restrict capital from going into industries that are unsustainable, like coal mining, and then put it into companies that are figuring out solutions to all of our challenges, is really powerful,” she said.
“The demand is there, we just need to help people connect the dots.”
She said that ultimately, it was up to the financial service industry to be more transparent around where their customer’s money was going, and to invest in options for a sustainable future.
“That includes making some tricky decisions, that includes better education, and it includes having more transparency around the investing process,” Lowbridge said.
She added that organisations outside of the world of finance could also make a number of small but influential changes.
“If you’re thinking about your business and its impact and your supply chain and your employees, where have you suggested they put their super? What’s your default fund?” she said.
“It’s these small actions that will ultimately drive the popularity of ethical investing.”