UniSuper on climate chopping block

Market Forces has put UniSuper on the chopping block in a divestment campaign aimed at pressuring the fund to ditch shares in fossil fuel companies.

"UniSuper does not have fund-wide exclusions on fossil fuel investments of any kind. Instead, it claims to engage with investee companies in order to improve climate risk management," Market Forces said.

"However, UniSuper has failed to vote in favour of a single climate change-related shareholder resolution in Australia, based on the fund's disclosed proxy votes to 30 June 2019."

Investment information released by UniSuper shows across the fund 12% of its exposure is in companies involved in fossil fuels, equating to around $10 billion.

Market Forces' asset management campaigner Will van de Pol said: "While Australia's scientific and academic community work towards climate change solutions at this time of unprecedented bushfire crisis, their superfund is showing reckless disregard by investing their retirement savings in the companies causing the problem."

"Instead of paying lip-service, UniSuper can and must be at the vanguard of sustainable investment."

UniSuper has released number of updates on its climate change policy, most recently in November of last year.

The Climate risk and our investments report outlined that the fund encourages the companies it is invested in to meet the expectations of the Paris Agreement.

"We believe climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy will pose investment-related risks, which is why we've been identifying and considering these risks for over a decade as part of our investment management and decision making process," the report said.

"We've undertaken a number of studies, assessments and projects over the years to understand our exposure to climate risks and opportunities."

"We encourage the companies we invest in to set Paris Agreement aligned targets, which will decarbonise our investment portfolio over time."

In November last year Financial Standard reported that the funds exposure to fossil fuels actually increased to 12% from 8% 18 months prior.

Read more: UniSuperMarket ForcesParis AgreementWill van de Pol
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