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Australian pension funds make net zero pledge

AustraliaAustralia’s biggest superannuation fund, AustralianSuper, has committed to having a net-zero carbon emissions portfolio by 2050. The announcement follows the dumping of its shares in mining company, Whitehaven Coal, earlier this month. AustralianSuper, which has A$188 billion in assets, is not the only Australian asset owner or manager to make such a commitment. Just days earlier, fund manager IFM Investors pledged to become carbon net zero by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. IFM, which has $114.6 billion in assets under management, intends to set up a multi-disciplinary taskforce, led by its investment team, to establish the necessary frameworks and policies to reduce emissions across its portfolio. “This is a natural step and an important one if IFM is to continue delivering on its purpose to protect and grow the long-term retirement savings of working people,” said IFM Investors CEO David Neal. Climate change has become a more important issue for Australian investors in the last 12 months, especially among pension funds. Three super funds made a zero net pledge between July and September: UniSuper, the fund for university workers, Hesta, the fund for health and community sector workers, and Cbus, the construction and mining industry fund. Meanwhile, the Retail Employees Superannuation Trust, a pension fund with $39.5 billion in assets, recently reached a settlement with one of its own members over a lawsuit connected to climate change disclosure. Mark McVeigh had sued the fund failing to disclose business risks linked to climate change, alleging it was a violation of Australia’s Corporations Act. © 2020 funds global asia

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