Wednesday 14 September: UniSuper’s new climate risk report reveals the mega fund has continued quietly selling down its investments in Australia’s largest gas producer, Woodside, and to a lesser extent, fellow climate-wrecking oil and gas expander, Santos.
Despite mergers and share price changes that would have seen UniSuper’s exposure to these companies increase substantially over the past year had the fund held onto its shares, UniSuper’s exposure to Woodside has marginally increased, while Santos has remained flat.
UniSuper reports it will consider ‘divestment’, especially where a lack of action is of concern to us and there is no viable decarbonisation pathway’.
Will van de Pol, Asset Management Campaigner, Market Forces said:
“Following the money, it’s clear UniSuper sees no viable decarbonisation pathway for Woodside, and may be starting to think the same of Santos.
“While this divestment progress is some further reward for the efforts of the more than 15,000 UniSuper members who have been calling on the fund to stop investing in companies expanding fossil fuels, it’s still far too slow and far too quiet.
“UniSuper must loudly and proudly divest from all companies that are undermining global climate goals by expanding the fossil fuel industry.”
Last month, in response to members’ demands to fully divest from Santos and all other companies pursuing new and expanded coal, oil and gas projects, UniSuper said: ‘we actively engage with companies to improve Environment Social and Governance practice and reporting. We believe engagement is better than divestment’.
Yet in releasing this latest climate report, UniSuper has said it does not hold enough stock to engage with Santos.
“If UniSuper can’t engage with Santos, and won’t divest its remaining holdings, how can the fund live up to its claim of alignment with the Paris Agreement and manage climate risk while Santos is pouring billions into new oil and gas projects?,” said Mr van de Pol.
Market Forces is very concerned with UniSuper’s new fossil fuel exposure limit as outlined in its Climate Risk report, that would allow the fund to increase investment exposure to the sector to 7 per cent, two and a half times its current level.
“It is inexplicable that UniSuper is giving itself leeway to massively increase fossil fuel investments, given the fund’s continued sale of its Woodside and Santos shares, and a public statement last year that it was “unlikely” to actively make new investments in oil and gas,” said Mr van de Pol.
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