VicSuper creates climate change committee
Thursday, 24 March 2016 12:34pm

VicSuper has established a climate change and investments steering committee to form its strategy around managing climate change risk across the superannuation fund's investment portfolio.

In a letter to members, VicSuper chief executive Michael Dundon said the $15 billion fund's objective is "to establish a clear public position on climate change that is consistent with our business and investment objectives and activities, supplemented with transparent progress reporting."

In 2015, VicSuper provided members with an update on the first phase of its climate management and investments project. Dundon said since this time the fund has undertaken several activities to build on its understanding and approach to climate change risk.

He said a survey was sent out to thousands of VicSuper members seeking their views and the demand for an investment option that specifically addresses climate change. The fund then initiated research to review environmentally and socially responsible investment options.

"The survey results were integrated into this business case and we have just sent out an expanded member survey to collect more detailed information on member views. We are expecting to present our finding and recommendations to VicSuper's board in the first part of 2016," Dundon said.

VicSuper has also fulfilled its obligations as a signatory to the United Nations-backed Montreal Pledge by publishing the carbon intensity of the fund's equities portfolio on its website. Dundon said this information was also included on member benefit statements to "improve access and visibility of our performance."

Dundon added that the fund, in its latest annual report, published an update on how it's been working to address climate change and investment risks with the companies it invests in and the fund's investment managers.

VicSuper has demonstrated support for government action on climate change by signing the Investor Statement on Climate Change and writing to the G7 finance ministers in the lead up to the Paris conference on climate change.

"Following the Paris climate conference, we provided our board with an update on likely climate change scenarios and how these will impact on global economies. This helped to build on the work that we have undertaken over the last year to provide them with context on climate change and investments," Dundon said.

The new steering committee will be headed up by Dundon and will have representatives from the fund's investments, risk, corporate responsibility and marketing teams.

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