The vast majority of climate damage is being done by a relatively small number of companies around the world. This is who they are: the Climate Wreckers Index. Out of the tens of thousands of companies our superannuation funds could invest in, Market Forces has for the first time identified a global list of the 180 companies doing most of the climate wrecking.
Our new analysis of the default or largest investment option of 32 of Australia’s largest super funds reveals the average option has over 6% of its members’ share investments in Climate Wreckers Index companies.
If this average were consistent across the $3.5 trillion superannuation industry, over $100 billion of Australians’ retirement savings – an average of over $4800 per member account – would be invested in this small but devastatingly dangerous group of companies driving us towards catastrophic climate change!
Our superannuation industry is making a $100 billion bet against the goals of the Paris Agreement, on behalf of millions of members. We need member pressure to take that dirty bet off the table.
The worst of the worst companies…
The Climate Wreckers Index is made up of the 180 publicly-listed companies from all over the world with the biggest plans to expand the scale of the fossil fuel industry. Specifically, the list includes:
- The top 60 oil and gas producers by expansion plans
- The top 60 coal miners by expansion plans and coal reserves
- The top 30 companies by new gas power plant development plans
- The top 30 companies by new coal power plant development plans
Together, these companies are planning new coal, oil and gas production and power generation projects that could add the equivalent of almost 200 years of Australia’s national annual emissions!
The Climate Wreckers Index companies could add the equivalent of…
of Australia’s national annual emissions!
Emissions detail & comparisons
Combined, the companies on the Climate Wreckers Index are pursuing:
- New or expanded oil and gas fields with combined expected production of 114,350 million barrels of oil equivalent
- The estimated carbon dioxide emissions from combustion of this much oil and gas is more than 43,450 million tonnes, equal to 75 times Australia’s annual emissions
- New or expanded coal mines with combined reserves of 19,649 million tonnes
- The estimated carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) from combustion of this much coal is 37,723 million tonnes per year, equivalent to 65 times Australia’s annual emissions
- New coal plants with combined capacity of 120.7 GW
- Based on GEM emissions data, the total emissions from these coal plants is estimated to be 18,429 million tonnes of CO2-e, equal to 31.7 times Australia’s annual emissions
- New gas plants with combined capacity of 138.7 GW
- Assuming that of these plants will be modern combined cycle plants, the total emissions is estimated to be 10,178 million tonnes of CO2-e, equal to 17.5 times Australia’s annual emissions
These companies are pursuing their rampant expansion plans despite the fact that achieving the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C warming limit leaves no room for new coal, oil or gas development, which has been confirmed by the IPCC and IEA, among others.
“Investing in new fossil fuels infrastructure is moral and economic madness. Such investments will soon be stranded assets – a blot on the landscape, and a blight on investment portfolios.” – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
The Climate Wreckers Index is not an exhaustive list of companies involved in coal, oil and gas expansion, just the worst of the worst climate wreckers that our super funds can invest in.
Check out the full list below and see our case studies for examples of some of the dirty companies that make up the Climate Wreckers Index.
…Supported by our retirement savings!
UniSuper topped the list, with 8.36% of its “balanced” option’s share investments in the climate wreckers, largely the result of its outsized investment exposure to BHP.
It turns out net zero by 2050 targets, or other emissions targets, do little if anything to prevent investment in climate wrecking companies. This means that, despite having emissions targets, funds are often failing to take the immediate action required to facilitate a net zero emissions outcome or the Paris climate goals.
Of course, funds that have implemented fossil fuel exclusion policies or taken fossil fuel divestment action reaching into both the coal and oil and gas sectors were generally among those with the lowest overall exposures to the Climate Wreckers Index.
At a whole of fund level, the super funds profiled account for over 60% of all superannuation assets under management, and over 90% of all assets under management by APRA-regulated super funds.
How much of your retirement savings is invested in climate wrecking companies? Find out and take action!
If the 6.26% average were consistent across the entire superannuation industry,
per member account
would be invested in the Climate Wreckers Index companies.
|wdt_ID||Fund||Investment Option Profiled||Exposure to Climate Wreckers Index (% of listed equities)*||Net zero emissions target||Interim emissions target|
|2||Active Super||Accelerator-High Growth||6.08||2050|
|4||Australian Retirement Trust||Lifecycle Balanced Pool||6.28||2050|
|6||Aware Super||High Growth||3.50||2050||30% by 2023 (listed equities)|
|7||BT Financial Group||Panorama||7.08||2050|
|9||CBUS||Growth (MySuper)||4.78||2050||45% by 2030|
|10||Colonial First State||FirstChoice Wholesale Growth||7.07||2050||30% by 2030|
*In order to compare funds with different allocations to publicly-traded company shares (listed equities), we calculated each fund’s investment exposure to the Climate Wreckers Index as a proportion of its total allocation to listed equities, minus any investments in pooled or managed investment fund products, such as Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs). This allows us to properly compare funds’ direct investments in Climate Wreckers Index company shares. You can read the full methodology below.
Highest and lowest climate wrecker exposures
Of the options profiled, UniSuper Balanced had the highest investment exposure to the Climate Wreckers Index, despite UniSuper publicly announcing it had significantly reduced investments in fossil fuel companies last year. UniSuper’s exposure is largely due to its very large stake in BHP, which alone accounts for 6.10% of this option’s 8.36% exposure to Climate Wrecking companies (as a proportion of all listed equities). South 32 and Santos were the next two highest individual climate wrecker company exposures in the UniSuper’s Balanced option’s listed equities investments.
Similarly, BHP, South 32 and Santos were the highest individual exposures of the option with the second highest overall exposure to the Climate Wreckers, Care Super Balanced. The option with the third highest Climate Wreckers exposure, TWU Balanced, had the highest investment exposure to Santos of all options profiled, with BHP and Woodside the other companies in this option’s top three Climate Wrecker exposures.
At the other end of the scale, Aware Super’s High Growth had the lowest investment exposure to the Climate Wreckers Index (still concerningly high at 3.50%). Vision Super Balanced Growth had the second lowest exposure at 4.22%, followed by AustralianSuper Balanced at 4.42%.
Divestment delivering results
Unsurprisingly, there was a strong correlation between funds that have implemented fossil fuel exclusions policies or taken fossil fuel divestment action and low overall exposures to the Climate Wreckers Index.
The four options with the lowest exposures to the Climate Wreckers Index have some level of fossil fuel exclusion policies or divestment activity in both the coal and oil and gas sectors.
The outlier to this finding is UniSuper’s Balanced option. Despite the fund having taken some divestment action in both the coal and oil and gas sectors, the outsized investments in BHP, South32 and Santos in this option mean it is investing a higher proportion of its members’ listed equities investments in companies actively undermining the Paris Agreement than all other fund options we profiled.
Super fund options with fossil fuel exclusion policies that only cover undiversified thermal coal miners did not necessarily have lower exposures to the Climate Wreckers Index than options with no public fossil fuel exclusion policies. This shows that any super fund claiming to be supportive of the Paris Agreement must go much further than just a thermal coal exclusion policy in order to meaningfully reduce its members’ investments in climate wrecking companies.
Self-proclaimed ‘leaders’ failing to back it up
Far from being the leaders they claim to be when it comes to responsible investment and climate action, Active Super and HESTA’s investment exposures to climate wrecking companies demonstrate these funds have been failing to live up to their climate rhetoric.
HESTA claims “We’ve let our actions do the talking to establish ourselves as an industry leader in climate action.” HESTA’s actions include directing 5.83% of its Balanced Growth members’ share investments to companies on the Climate Wreckers Index, with significantly higher investment exposure to some of the worst of the worst fossil fuel expanders like Adani and Woodside compared to most other options profiled. These actions do plenty of talking, but they scream climate failure rather than leadership.
Active Super’s default option’s 6.08% exposure to the Climate Wreckers Index is also disappointing for a fund that says it was “among the first super funds to move on climate change issues”. Active Super has had thermal coal mining and coal power investment exclusions in place for the best part of a decade, and recently announced it had restricted investments in around 30 oil and gas companies. Given Active Super’s High Growth option was in the top half of funds’ exposures to Climate Wreckers Index (according to the 31 December 2021 disclosures), and had a particularly high investment exposure to Santos, we need to see Active Super’s new oil and gas restrictions drastically cut the fund’s dirty investments. Members will be watching the next round of disclosures closely to see if this is the case!
Emissions targets almost meaningless
The majority of funds profiled (19) have net zero portfolio emissions by 2050 (or earlier) commitments, and 8 of these funds have clear interim (2023-2030) emissions reduction targets. However, these targets did not necessarily prevent funds retaining significant exposures to climate wrecking companies.
In fact, there almost as many super funds with net zero commitments in the top half of options by exposure (9) to the Climate Wreckers Index as in the bottom half (10). This demonstrates the utter ineptitude of net zero commitments that are not backed by immediate action to reduce investments in companies actively undermining our chances of achieving that goal.
There are several reasons why funds’ targets fail to drive the near-term action we need to halt fossil fuel expansion. These include:
- Funds’ targets fail to account for the full emissions profile of companies that produce carbon intensive products, only applying to companies’ scope 1 and 2 (or “operational”) emissions but not the emissions generated when their products are sold and burned. This is especially relevant for fossil fuel producers, as the end use of their products tends to produce roughly 10 times the company’s own operational emissions.
- Necessary action is kicked down the road, allowing a fund to do nothing more than hope its portfolio companies reduce their emissions despite those companies continuing to head in the opposite direction. Targets can be met with last minute divestments, while companies have continued to increase emissions in the near-term.
- Some targets could be met through funds “offsetting” portfolio emissions by investing in renewable energy projects or carbon reduction programs, which is something they should be doing in any case, but does not necessarily prevent them supporting companies increasing coal, oil and gas production at the same time.
Ultimately, both the Paris Agreement and the IEA have made clear there is no room to expand fossil fuels, but the targets currently being set by super funds fail to prevent them investing members’ money on companies doing exactly that.
Potential policy breaches
One fund that claims to exclude thermal coal investments has disclosed holdings in Whitehaven Coal and New Hope in the option we profiled.
Commonwealth Super Corp says “From 5 March 2021, CSC portfolios started to exclude undiversified companies that derive 70% or more of their revenue from thermal coal production/extraction.” Yet CSC’s PSS Default option had investments in both Whitehaven and New Hope on 31 December 2021.
The Climate Wreckers Index companies
The table below shows the full list of the 180 companies that make up the Climate Wreckers Index.
As mentioned, this is not an exhaustive list of companies involved in coal, oil and gas expansion, just the worst of the worst climate wreckers that our super funds can invest in.
For example, we were unable to capture all of the engineering and other key contractors developing new fossil fuel infrastructure, but we will seek to include these companies in future updates to the index.
We also considered including companies on the basis that they were developing LNG import and export infrastructure, but found many of the key companies involved in those projects were also captured on the gas plan developers list.
|wdt_ID||Company name||Primary fossil fuel activity||Other identified fossil fuel activity|
|1||ACWA Power||Coal power plant developer||Also developing gas plants|
|2||Adani Group||Coal miner||Also developing coal plants|
|3||Adaro Energy||Coal miner|
|4||AES Corp||Gas power plant developer|
|5||Aker BP||Oil and gas producer|
|7||Alliance Resource Partners||Coal miner|
|8||Anglo American||Coal miner|
|9||Antero Resources||Oil and gas producer|
|10||APA Corporation||Oil and gas producer|
|Primary fossil fuel activity|
Woodside is pursuing massive new oil and gas projects consistent with the failure of the Paris Agreement, including the monstrous Scarborough gas field off the coast of Western Australia (WA), and the associated Pluto Train 2 liquified natural gas (LNG) processing plant. The proposed Scarborough-Pluto project could result in the emissions equivalent of 15 coal-fired power stations running for 30 years, threaten to accelerate degradation of the Murujuga rock art (proposed for World Heritage listing) due to industrial emissions, and would also cause significant impacts to the local marine environment. Independent analysis has concluded the Scarborough-Pluto combined project “…represents a bet against the world implementing the Paris Agreement”.
One of the many pieces of rock art at Murujuga. Image courtesy of CCWA.
In late 2021, the company also agreed to take over BHP’s entire petroleum business, which would roughly double Woodside’s oil and gas production capacity and make it a global top ten independent oil and gas company. This takeover will be voted on at the company’s 2022 annual general meeting (AGM), and, if it goes ahead, this means Woodside could be spending around $26 billion on expansionary oil and gas projects by 2030 that are incompatible with the Paris climate goals.
Despite the urgent need for fossil fuel production to begin declining in line with global climate goals, Woodside plans to significantly increase the combined total of Woodside and BHP’s oil and gas production over the next five years. Beyond clearly contravening the IEA’s key conclusion that there is no room for new oil and gas production projects in the pathway to net zero emissions by 2050, a number of independent analyses of new oil and gas production projects being pursued by Woodside reveals how significantly out of line they are with global climate goals. Carbon tracker, for example, has found that Woodside’s proposed Pluto Train 2 facility is not even financially competitive in a catastrophic 2.7°C global warming scenario, let alone in a world where we achieve the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
The options with the largest exposures to Woodside were: Macquarie Superannuation Plan (1.25% of total listed equities), BT Financial Group Panorama (1.08%), and LUCRF MySuper Balanced (1.06%).
Santos is pursuing massive new oil and gas projects consistent with the failure of the Paris Agreement, including the dangerous and destructive Narrabri gas project in the Pilliga Forest, New South Wales (NSW). Santos has recently undergone a merger with Oil Search to make the combined business one of the 20 largest companies on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). This new fossil fuel giant has one main aim: produce more oil and gas. In fact, Santos is pursuing major new projects that would increase its production by at least 17% from 2020 to 2030, despite the urgent need for fossil fuel production to begin declining in line with global climate goals.
Santos plans to drill 850 gas wells throughout the Pilliga Forest and surrounding farmland near Narrabri, NSW. The company is still desperately pursuing this toxic project, despite years of opposition from local Gomeroi Traditional Owners and farmers, as well as former Chief Scientist Penny Sackett, who has confirmed the project is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement and net zero by 2050. Santos has even gone so far as to submit an application to the National Native Title Tribunal, in an attempt to extinguish Gomeroi Traditional Owner native title rights over the Pilliga. The Narrabri project makes it clear that Santos will stop at nothing in the pursuit of climate wrecking gas, including trashing Indigenous cultural heritage.
Community members voicing opposition to the Narrabri gas project in NSW, 2014.
Image courtesy of the Lock the Gate Alliance
Santos is also pushing ahead with its Barossa gas project, a massive new proposed gas field 300km North of Darwin, Northern Territory (NT). If the project goes ahead, Santos will transport gas from the Barossa field to an existing LNG processing facility in Darwin. The extremely high carbon dioxide (CO2) content of Barossa gas is three times greater than the Darwin LNG plant can handle, leading energy experts to state that the Barossa to Darwin LNG project looks like it’s shaping up to become “…a CO2 emissions factory with an LNG by-product.” Traditional Owners are suing Barossa’s financiers to try to stop the project, as “some Tiwi Islander and Larrakia elders fear the project will have detrimental impacts on their sea country and marine life.”
The options with the largest exposures to Santos were: TWU Balanced MySuper (1.45% of total listed equities), Active Super Accelerator (1.15%), and Hostplus Accumulation Balanced (1.00%).
Whitehaven Coal is the biggest undiversified coal mining company on the Australian share market. Whitehaven’s plans to massively expand the coal industry are completely at odds with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. To justify its business plans, Whitehaven refers to coal demand scenarios consistent with a catastrophic 3ºC of global warming.
Whitehaven is planning to spend around $2 billion on three new coal mines and expansions: Vickery, Narrabri Stage 3 and Winchester South. These mines have marketable coal reserves of almost 500 million tonnes. When emissions from digging up and burning the coal are added, over their lifetimes these three mines would unleash almost 1.1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions, the equivalent of almost twice Australia’s annual emissions.
Whitehaven’s monstrous Maules Creek coal mine has destroyed swathes of the Leard State Forest, NSW.
Image courtesy of the Lock the Gate Alliance
Whitehaven’s existing Maules Creek coal mine is one of Australia’s most controversial mining projects and was strongly opposed by local farmers and Gomeroi traditional owners. Despite a massive community campaign that included a two year blockade, Whitehaven bulldozed hundreds of hectares of critically endangered forest that provide important habitat for rare and endangered species like the Superb Parrot, Regent Honeyeater and Squirrel Glider.
Lock the Gate Alliance has compiled a comprehensive list of Whitehaven’s law-breaking over the last 10 years. This compilation shows the company and its subsidiaries have been found guilty or investigated 35 times and incurred almost $1.5 million in total penalties.
Of the options profiled, Hostplus Accumulation Balanced (0.15% of listed equities), Commonwealth Super Corp PSS Default (0.12%), and Russell Investments Goal Tracker (0.12%) had the highest exposures. 13 options had no exposure at all to Whitehaven Coal.
New Hope is an Australian-based undiversified coal mining company deriving more than 95% of revenue from the sale of thermal coal. Despite there being no room for new or expanded coal mines if we’re to achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement or net zero emissions by 2050, New Hope is pursuing a major expansion of its New Acland coal mine on some of Queensland’s best farming land.
New Hope plans to spend around $900 million on its New Acland Stage 3 coal expansion, one of the most contested coal mining projects in Australian history. New Hope has determined there’s a further 200 million tonnes of coal reserves at New Acland, and Stage 3 would increase the mine’s production capacity to 7.5 million tonnes per year and extend its production life by 12 years.
The New Acland coal mine in the Darling Downs, Qld.
Image courtesy of the Lock the Gate Alliance
Aside from the physical destruction of this prime farming land, there is deep community concern about the impact of the mine on local groundwater aquifers. According to the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, around 20,000 hectares of cropping land surrounding the mine is at risk of permanent groundwater impacts. Despite several rounds of water modelling revisions, expert scientists remained unconvinced by New Hope’s final water management plans.
New Hope also operates the Bengalla coal mine, which is licensed to extract up to 15 million tonnes of coal per year until 2039.
The options with the largest exposures to New Hope were: IOOF Balanced (0.10% of total listed equities), ACSRF Balanced (0.06%), and Colonial First State FirstChoice Wholesale Growth (0.05%). 14 options had no exposure at all to New Hope.
Adani really needs no introduction. The company is responsible for the most controversial coal mine in Australia’s history: Carmichael.
Despite immense community resistance helping to significantly reduce the scale of the first phase of the Carmichael mine, Adani still plans to dig the biggest coal mine in Australia. If it gets its way, Adani would extract up to 60 million tonnes of coal a year for 90 years, and create 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon pollution.
Adani Group’s other fossil fuel expansion plans include:
- Doubling its coal-fired power capacity by 12 gigawatts (GW) to 24 GW, giving it more coal power capacity than all of Australia.
- Owning, developing or operating 132 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of new thermal coal mining capacity, including the massive 60 mtpa Carmichael project in Australia, which would pave the way for more massive coal mines in the untapped Galilee Basin.
- New coal and LNG terminals at Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone’s ports.
- An obscure and highly polluting facility that would convert coal, including imported thermal coal, into plastics.
- 1,500 new retail fuel stations and 1,500 new compressed natural gas (CNG) stations.
Eight of the super fund options profiled had investment exposure to Adani Group companies (excluding Adani Green).
|OnePath ANZ Smart Choice 1970s||0.028%|
|HESTA Balanced Growth||0.017%|
|CommBank Group Super Accumulate Plus – Balanced||0.012%|
|Art Lifecycle Balanced Pool||0.008%|
|Russell Investments Goal Tracker||0.006%|
|MLC MySuper Growth||0.002%|
Coal from Adani’s ‘North Queensland Export Terminal (NQXT)’ coal port contaminating Caley Valley Wetlands after Cyclone Debbie, April 2017. Image credit: Dean Sewell / Oculi
Adaro Energy Indonesia (Adaro) is a pure play coal mining company with plans to expand. Adaro produced 54 million tonnes of coal in 2020 alone, and has coal reserves of 1.1 billion tonnes. Burning all of these reserves would release 2.2 billion tonnes of CO2-e, almost the equivalent of India’s total annual emissions.
Adaro has stated its plan to ramp up coal production through exploration for new coal reserves, expanding existing projects, and acquiring new mines. To justify its business plans, Adaro presents global coal demand forecasts that are even higher than the International Energy Agency’s 2.70C-aligned STEPS scenario.
Six of the super fund options profiled had investment exposure to Adaro.
|Colonial First State FirstChoice Wholesale Growth||0.006%|
|Spirit Super Balanced (MySuper)||0.003%|
|OnePath ANZ Smart Choice 1970s||0.003%|
|Mercer SmarthPath 1969-1973||0.002%|
Image: An aerial view of the Adaro coal mine in South Kalimantan, Indonesia. Adaro has 31,379 hectares of mining concession in South Kalimantan. Credit: JATAM – Indonesia Mining Advocacy Network
TEPCO & Chubu
TEPCO, Chubu and their joint venture JERA are betting against the climate goals of the Paris Agreement and undermining their own net zero emissions commitments by expanding the liquefied natural gas (LNG) and coal power sectors.
JERA is responsible for a whopping 169 MtCO2-e annually, or 15% of Japan’s annual emissions (2020). The company is currently constructing three additional coal-fired power plants – two in Japan and one in Indonesia.
JERA is also pursuing significant involvement in the LNG sector, including gas fields, LNG terminals and LNG to power projects in countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. This includes a stake in the new Barossa gas field, a controversial project in northern Australia opposed by First Nations communities, which has been labelled ‘both a major financial risk and a serious climate risk’. In addition, a recent court proceeding filed in Korea is raising doubts on the project’s ability to secure finance.
The options with the highest combined exposure to TEPCO and Chubu were AMP MySuper 1970s (0.043%), LGIAsuper MySuper (0.028%) and ACSRF Balanced (0.025%).
Mitsubishi Corp turned up in our research as expanding fossil fuels in three separate areas: gas power plants, coal production, and oil and gas production.
Mitsubishi is expanding its gas business by building gas fields, LNG terminals and LNG to power projects, contrary to the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ scenario (NZ2050), which makes clear that achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 means no new fossil fuel supply and an extremely limited and narrowing role for fossil fuels in electricity generation.
Meanwhile, Mitsubishi’s coal mining subsidiary is expanding its metallurgical coal mining operations in Australia.
The options with the highest exposure to Mitsubishi Corp companies* were AustralianSuper Balanced (0.07%), HESTA Balance Growth (0.07%) and ACSRF Balanced (0.06%).
Protestors calling on Mitsubishi to get out of the Vung Ang 2 coal power station in Vietnam.
*Excluding non-fossil fuel-related subsidiaries (see methodology below)
General Electric (GE) has historically been heavily involved in coal power generation, both in the United States and also as a developer of coal power plants internationally. While the company announced it is exiting new coal power builds, it is planning major expansions in the LNG and gas power sectors.
Market Forces’ research has found GE is involved in new LNG to power plants in Vietnam and Bangladesh with combined capacity of 24.6 GW.
The options with the highest exposure to GE were CSC PSS Default (0.29%), MLC MySuper Growth (0.21%), and CareSuper Balanced (0.18%).
Constructing the list of 180 companies (the Climate Wreckers Index)
Data was pooled from several sources (the ‘primary sources’):
- Global Energy Monitor (GEM)’s ‘Global ownership of coal plants’, sorting by plants in development by MW capacity (‘coal plant developers’).
- GEM’s ‘Global ownership of gas plants’, sorting by plants in development by MW capacity (‘gas plant developers’).
- Urgewald’s Global Oil and Gas Exit List (GOGEL), ordered by short term expansion plans in million barrels of oil (MMBOE) equivalent (‘oil and gas expanders’).
- GEM’s ‘Global coal mine tracker’, by aggregating each mine by company and creating two lists: one ordered by ‘probable and proven’ reserves in currently operating coal mines in million tonnes (excluding any companies that had no coal expansion plans), and one ordering by size of expansion plans in million tonnes per year.
The companies on the list were screened to only include publicly traded companies. The final list of 180 companies was composed of the top 30 public gas plant developers, the top 30 public coal plant developers, the top 60 public oil and gas expanders, and 60 companies from the coal mine tracker consisting of 35 companies based on reserves, and 25 companies based on expansion plans.
- Public companies that appeared on multiple lists were kept on the list they appeared highest, removed from the other list(s) and replaced by the company with the next-highest value. If a company was at the same position on multiple lists, the priority was given to the coal plant list, then coal mine reserves, then coal mine expansion, then oil and gas expansion, then gas plants.
- Companies known to have merged were treated as one company, with the values in the relevant sources added together. A list of merged companies is in the appendix.
- Where multiple companies owned a coal mine, the coal reserves were distributed pro rata based on ownership. Where this information was not provided in the primary source, it was assumed to be an equal split between owners.
- Companies from the primary sources were only included if they were publicly listed. For private companies, if they were wholly or almost wholly-owned subsidiaries of a public company (>95% ownership), the parent company was included on the list instead of the private subsidiary. We did not account for any cross-ownership between companies.
- For large conglomerates with multiple listed subsidiaries we captured investments in the parent company or those subsidiaries which were active in the fossil fuel industry. A table of subsidiaries excluded or included is in the appendix.
Oil and gas emissions were estimated by selecting companies from the Climate Wreckers Index from GOGEL, then adding up the total BOE-equivalent of near-term expansion plans for these companies. We applied emissions factors from the US EPA which only account for carbon dioxide produced on combustion. GOGEL combines oil and gas reserves, so we estimated the oil-gas split to be 50-50. In 2020, the global oil and gas production was 56% oil to 44% gas, so given the higher emissions from oil we have made a conservative estimate. It also does not account for non-CO2 emissions which also contribute to global warming, given the variety of conditions under which oil and gas can be combusted.
Gas plant emissions were calculated based on the total megawatts (MW) in development of Climate Wreckers Index companies featured in the Global Gas Plant Tracker. It uses the assumption that the new plants in development are Combined Cycle plants, which is the more advanced technology. Emissions factors came from the IPCC, and a capacity factor of 57% has been applied based on the US CCGT fleet. Plants were assumed to have an economic life of 30 years.
The coal plant emissions were aggregated at the plant level from GEM emissions estimates, for all coal plants in the GEM Coal Plant Tracker owned by Climate Wreckers Index companies (apportioning the emissions from each plant based on ownership percent).
The coal mine emissions were calculated by taking the total 2P (proven and probable) reserves of proposed new coal mines, and the extra 2P reserves from proposed expansions of existing coal mines. We applied emissions factors from the Australian Government based on the type of coal: Brown coal/lignite, anthracite, bituminous, and subbituminous. If GEM indicated that the mine was entirely for coking coal, we used the slightly higher emissions factor for coking coal, otherwise, we used the lower thermal values.
Super Fund Option Exposures
The scope of our analysis covers the default (or largest, by assets under management) investment option of Australia’s largest 40 super funds by assets under management, according to APRA’s June 2021 fund-level superannuation statistics [Table 1 and Table 2].
Where mergers between super funds have occurred since June 2021, the single merged entity is listed on the table (noting the previous fund name/s) and occupies only one position on the table, unless the merged funds were found to have clearly separate default options with different investments.
The final analysis pertains to 32 funds, for the following reasons:
- QSuper and Sunsuper have recently merged to form Australian Retirement Trust.
- Australia Post Superannuation Scheme has recently merged with Australian Retirement Trust.
- StateWide has recently merged with Hostplus.
- Media Super has recently merged with Cbus.
- Energy Super has recently merged with LGIA Super.
- HUB24, Netwealth and Suncorp do not appear to have default investment options comparable to the rest of those captured in the study.
The portfolio holdings disclosures were collected for the final 32 superannuation fund options (see sources in appendix 2 below). These holdings were filtered for listed equities, and we extracted all the investments whose names matched companies in the Climate Wreckers Index. We calculated and have presented the total investment exposure to Climate Wreckers Index companies as a percentage of total listed equities in the option, minus any allocation to pooled or managed investment fund products within the total listed equities allocation.
- Portfolio holdings disclosures are as at 31 December 2021.
- Total assets does not include derivatives.
Average Exposure Figures
To calculate the average exposure to Climate Wreckers Index companies, we took the average percentage of assets invested in Climate Wreckers Index companies for all fund options profiled, applied this average exposure to all superannuation assets, and divided by the number of accounts, per ASFA’s March 2022 Superannuation Statistics.
1. List of Company Mergers
|Company 1||Company 2||Merged Entity|
|Cenovus Energy||Husky Energy Inc||Cenovus Energy|
|Southwestern Energy||Indigo Natural Resources LLC||Southwestern Energy|
|Harbour Energy plc||Premier Oil plc||Harbour Energy plc|
|Coterra Energy Inc||Cimarex Energy||Coterra Energy Inc|
|ConocoPhillips||Concho Resources Inc||ConocoPhillips|
|WPX Energy Inc||Devon Energy||Devon Energy|
2. Super Funds profiled (including sources)
|Fund||Investment option profiled|
|Active||Super Accelerator-High Growth|
|ART||Lifecycle Balanced Pool|
|Aware Super||High Growth|
|BT Financial Group||Panorama|
|Colonial First State||FirstChoice Wholesale Growth|
|CommBank Group Super||Accumulate Plus – Balanced|
|Commonwealth Super Corp||PSS Default|
|IOOF||Balanced Investor Trust|
|Macquarie||Macquarie Superannuation Plan|
|Mine Super||High Growth|
|NGS Super||Diversified MySuper|
|OnePath||Smart Choice 1970s|
|Qantas Super||Growth / Glidepath: Altitude|
|Russell Investments||Goal Tracker|
|Spirit Super||Balanced (MySuper)|
|Vision Super||Balanced Growth|
3. Conglomerate Subsidiaries
Adani Total Gas
Bajaj Consumer Care
Bajaj Holdings & Investment
|China Resources||China Resources Power Holdings||
China Resources Land
China Resources Beer
China Resources Cement
China Resources MIXC Lifestyle
China Resources Pharmaceutical
China Resources Medical
China Resources Sanjiu
Mitsubishi Gas Chemical Co
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Mitsubishi HC Capital
PS Mitsubishi Construction
Mitsubishi Steel Manufacturing
Mitsubishi Research Institute
Sumitomo Heavy Industries
Sumitomo Metal Mining
Sumitomo Osaka Cement
|San Miguel||San Miguel Food and Beverage|
Tata Consumer Products
Tata Global Beverages
Sinopec Shanghai Petroleum
Sinopec Oilfield Services
|Sinopec Kantons Holdings|
1. The parent company, which appeared in the primary sources, was always included.
2. Subsidiaries in neither the included nor excluded columns were not found in any of the super funds analysed
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