Time to clean up our super

Superannuation allows Australians the opportunity to retire with a greater level of comfort and security. But what if the super that we retire with has been funding the environmental destruction and runaway climate change we need to avoid? What if, by being invested in fossil fuels like coal mining and coal seam gas, our super funds deliver us a polluted world to retire into?

The reality is that many of Australia’s superannuation funds are invested in these dirty industries. Market Forces is campaigning for super funds to divest from coal and gas. We’re also here to help Australians make sure their retirement isn’t funded by environmental destruction.

Super Switch

Market Forces has recently launched a new website, superswitch.org.au, to help people find out whether their superannuation fund is exposed to the fossil fuel industry through its shares in Australian and international companies.

Super Switch also makes it easy for you to take action, calling on your super funds to divest from the fossil fuel sector. There are also resources that will help you find and switch to a super fund that does not invest in dirty fossil fuels.

Super Switch Slider

Coal mining and coal seam gas: a $247 billion issue

huntervalleycoalmine

Open cut coal mine – Hunter Valley. Credit: Max Phillips (Jeremy Buckingham MLC)

Market Forces commissioned The Australia Institute to survey superannuation fund members’ attitudes towards environmental and ethical investment. The results were stunning. A quarter of those surveyed said they would be prepared to change their superannuation fund if their current one was found to be invested in coal mining and coal seam gas. That means out of the nearly $1 trillion of managed super funds in Australia $247 billion could be shifted purely on the basis of environmental concerns of coal and coal seam gas.

Click here to see the full survey results

Click here to read the paper by The Australia Institute, which reached the $247 billion figure

The survey also asked whether, in meeting the “long-term interests” of its members, super funds were only required to provide a good financial return, or if ethical and environmentally friendly behaviour of companies invested in also mattered.

The most common response was that superannuation funds should be looking after their members’ long-term interests by considering ethical and environmental issues, as well as the financial return provided. Super funds might like to think their members only think about money, but the reality is that people believe in their retirements being funded on ethical grounds.