Tuesday 31 October, 2023: New analysis by Market Forces reveals Australia’s top 30 superannuation funds have backtracked on their support for climate action at the companies most responsible for expanding fossil fuels worldwide.
The research also finds only eight funds supported more than half of climate-related shareholder proposals that they voted on at the annual general meetings in 2022.
The four worst super funds failing on climate action, Commonwealth Bank Group Super, TelstraSuper, Hostplus and Mine Super, all voted against more than 70 per cent of climate proposals they took action on in 2022.
Brett Morgan, Superannuation Funds Campaigner, Market Forces, said:
“Super funds are going backwards on climate action at a time when they must be pulling out all the stops to bring companies into line with their climate commitments.
“Super funds have been telling their members for years they take climate action by voting at company annual general meetings, yet many funds are simply greenwashing while failing to support proposals for genuine emissions reduction.”
The research reveals that in 2022 funds including TelstraSuper, Mine Super and Australian Retirement Trust voted against climate proposals that have significant levels of support from other shareholders globally. One in five (20 per cent) votes by super funds did not support climate action proposals which had significant investor support.
The analysis finds that super funds were more likely to vote against climate action at companies on the Market Forces Climate Wreckers Index, a list of 190 companies around the world with the biggest fossil fuel expansion plans. This list includes Australia’s largest oil and gas producers Woodside Energy and Santos, as well as Whitehaven Coal.
In 2022, support for climate-related resolutions at Climate Wreckers companies dropped by 23 percentage points, compared with the previous year.
Out of the 10 largest funds included in the analysis, Rest and Hostplus failed to support a single proposal at companies on the Climate Wreckers list in 2022.
Mr Morgan said: “As bushfires rage across the country, Australia’s biggest super funds are failing to hold some of the world’s worst climate wrecking companies to account for their dangerous fossil fuel expansion plans.”
“Voting against the reckless fossil fuel expansion plans of companies like Woodside and Santos is essential for super funds with climate commitments, otherwise they are greenwashing.
“Super funds have the opportunity and the imperative to vote for climate action during the upcoming annual general meeting season and members will be watching.”
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Note to editors:
The analysis looked at superannuation fund votes at 194 companies between 2017-2022. The analysis found superannuation funds voted on climate-focussed resolutions at 76 companies in 2022. The analysis focussed on all companies whose shares are owned by the super funds and where shareholders had lodged climate resolutions.