29 November 2021
Our super funds have had a number of critical opportunities to force companies they invest in to step up on climate action over the past couple of months. Yet our new analysis finds they’ve been squandering these opportunities by voting against climate action. With more crucial climate votes coming up, we need your help to change that right now.
Next month, ANZ, NAB and Westpac all face shareholder votes urging them to stop funding expansion of the fossil fuel industry, consistent with the goal of net zero emissions by 2050. All funds should vote in favour of these resolutions, especially those with their own net zero commitments.
Take action, demanding your super fund vote for climate action on your behalf.
By investing our retirement savings in company shares, super funds get a say in how those companies are run. This includes voting on formal proposals at companies’ annual general meetings (AGMs).
We reviewed the voting records of the seven big super funds that have net zero commitments and also disclose their voting within days of an AGM. All but one of those funds voted against two or more key climate-related proposals in Australia since September.
In fact just 10 of the 32 votes identified were cast in favour of climate action. And given most funds haven’t even disclosed how they voted yet, climate voting records could be even worse across the broader superannuation sector.
We have a chance to turn this around in the next few weeks. But we need to speak up now, and tell our super funds to vote in favour of the climate-related shareholder resolutions coming up at the big banks’ AGMs.
|Fund||Net zero emissions commitment||Voting disclosure||AGL||Commonwealth Bank||Origin Energy||Whitehaven Coal||BHP||New Hope Corporation|
|Active Super||2050||Current||Not held||AGAINST||AGAINST||Not held||AGAINST||Not held|
|BT Super||2050 (Westpac)||Current||FOR||ABSTAIN||FOR||AGAINST||AGAINST||AGAINST|
|HESTA||2050||Current||FOR||AGAINST||FOR||Not held||AGAINST||Not held|
|NGS Super||Carbon neutral by 2030||Current||FOR||FOR||FOR||Not held||FOR||Not held|
|Telstra Super||2050||Current||SPLIT (against + abstain)||AGAINST||AGAINST||Not held||AGAINST||Not held|
Research scope & methodology
This study reviewed all top 40 super funds by assets under management (as per APRA fund-level stats, 2020, Trustee level), and identified seven that:
- Have made public commitments to the goals of net zero emissions or carbon neutrality; and
- Disclose proxy voting decisions within one week of an Australian annual general meeting.
These disclosures were reviewed to find how the 7 funds voted on each of the following shareholder proposals (calling for alignment with global climate goals) at AGMs in the second half of the 2021 calendar year:
- AGL – Paris goals and targets
- Commonwealth Bank – Transition Planning Disclosure
- Origin Energy – Paris-aligned capital expenditure
- Whitehaven Coal – Capital Protection
- BHP – Capital Protection
- New Hope Corporation – Capital Protection
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.
Market Forces does not receive funding from any super funds or other financial institutions.
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