21 February 2023
Now that super funds are required to disclose their investments to members every six months, we are able to track over time which funds have the highest proportion of their members’ retirement savings invested in climate-wrecking oil and gas companies like Santos and Woodside. For the first time, we’ve combined our analysis of these two companies to find out which super funds are the biggest enablers of Santos and Woodside’s oil and gas expansion plans.
Building on our analysis from April and October last year, we have looked at the latest available investment holdings of the default (or largest) investment options of Australia’s biggest super funds, and discovered exactly how much of members’ money these funds are investing in Australia’s two biggest oil and gas companies, Santos and Woodside. Despite many of these super funds claiming to support the Paris climate goals and net zero emissions by 2050, all are still investing in these two climate-wrecking companies, both of which have oil and gas expansion plans that are incompatible with the very climate goals these super funds claim to support.
Tell your super fund to get your retirement savings out climate-wrecking oil and gas expansion
Based on these holdings disclosures, we’ve identified the three biggest enablers of Santos and Woodside’s climate-wrecking oil and gas expansion plans:
- Colonial First State
Out of Australia’s biggest 15 super funds, these are the top three most exposed to Santos and Woodside (combined), as a proportion of Australian share investments in their default or largest investment options. This means that with a balance of $100,000, members of Equipsuper’s MySuper option, for example, would have more than $1,500 of their retirement savings invested in these two climate wreckers alone!
Equipsuper, Colonial First State and Rest have set net zero by 2050 emissions reduction targets, as have many of Australia’s biggest super funds. Yet as the UN High-Level Expert Group on net zero commitments has recently made clear: “Non-state actors cannot claim to be net zero while continuing to build or invest in new fossil fuel supply… net zero is entirely incompatible with continued investment in fossil fuels.”
Any super fund which has a net zero target and / or claims to support the Paris climate goals is undermining these commitments by remaining invested in the likes of Santos and Woodside. As more and more members become increasingly concerned about greenwashing, Australia’s corporate regulator is currently investigating a number of super funds for allegedly overstating their green credentials and Santos is currently facing a Federal Court action, alleging the company engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct relating to net zero claims.
Super funds need to divest from these climate wreckers or face further scrutiny for failing to live up to their climate claims.
Combined investment exposure to Santos and Woodside of Australia’s biggest super funds by assets under management
|wdt_ID||Fund||Option name||Combined Santos and Woodside investment (AUD)||Combined Santos and Woodside exposure (% Australian listed equities)||$ invested with $100k balance|
|2||Commonwealth Super Corp||PSS Default||203,493,702||N/A*||885|
|3||Australian Retirement Trust||Balanced Pool||492,738,875||4.45%||1,076|
|4||Aware Super||High Growth||475,598,657||4.10%||912|
|7||BT Financial Group||BT Panorama^||220,310,637||5.52%||477|
|9||Colonial First State||FirstChoice Wholesale Growth||35,602,096||6.49%||1,479|
|14||OnePath (now owned by Insignia)||ANZ Smart Choice 1970s||67,212,997||4.60%||1,326|
Source: See more information section below. Holdings disclosures effective 30 June 2022.
* Commonwealth Super Corp does not distinguish between Australian listed equities and International listed equities in its holdings disclosures.
^ BT has included Woodside in the ‘listed infrastructure’ asset class in its 30 June 2022 portfolio holdings disclosure for the BT Panorama option. We have assumed this is in fact a listed equity asset as it is in the other funds analysed here. The value of the Woodside investment has also been added to the total value of Australian listed equities disclosed for this option.
For more information on super funds’ investments in climate-wrecking oil and gas companies, check out our Santos and Woodside web pages.
Methodology & scope
The scope of our analysis covers the default (or largest) investment options of Australia’s biggest 15 super funds by assets under management (AUM), according to APRA’s June 2022 fund-level superannuation statistics, Table 1 and Table 2. Where mergers between super funds have occurred since June 2022, the single merged entity is listed on the table and occupies only one position on the table, unless the merged funds remain as standalone brands with standalone policies.
We identified each fund’s combined investment exposure to Santos and Woodside, as a proportion of its total allocation to Australian listed equities in its default (or largest, by AUM) investment option as at 30 June 2022. We also identified each fund’s combined investment exposure to Santos and Woodside, as a proportion of the total assets in the relevant investment option. This figure was used to calculate the $ invested on a $100,000 balance.
BT Financial Group’s ‘BT Panorama’ investment option categorised ‘Woodside Energy Group Ltd’ as ‘listed infrastructure’ in its 30 June 2022 portfolio holdings disclosure. We have assumed this is in fact a listed equity asset as it is for all other funds analysed here. The value of the Woodside investment has also been added to the total value of Australian listed equities disclosed by BT.
Portfolio holdings disclosures for funds as at 30 June 2022 were sourced from each fund’s website (see below).
Portfolio holdings disclosures
The information provided by Market Forces does not constitute financial advice. The information is presented in order to inform people motivated by environmental concerns and take actions based on those concerns. Market Forces is organising data for environmental ends.
The information and actions provided by Market Forces do not account for any individual’s personal objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be used, relied upon, or treated as a substitute for specific professional advice.
Market Forces recommends all users obtain their own independent professional advice before making any decision relating to their particular requirements or circumstances. Switching super funds may have unintended financial consequences.
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