You bring your own bags to the supermarket, you turn out lights when you exit the room, and hey, you maybe even have your own compost bin. You’re a certified eco-warrior doing your bit for the environment. Good on you! Same!
You show up to climate rallies and condemn legislators that continue to ignore climate change and choose fossil fuels over green energy alternatives like solar and wind, that ensure a better future for all Australians.
That’s you, but the same cannot be said for your money. Because unless you’re contributing to an ethical super fund, you may well be handing your money over in support of everything you hate.
Your super makes up part of your future — it’s your financial safety net for those later years in life post-retirement. But what good does it do to funnel your money away for Future You, when that money is used to actively worsen, not make better, the future you envision for yourself and your loved ones?
What you need, is to invest your money into ethical super funds that prioritise moral and socially responsible initiatives like renewable energy and recycling.
Kirstin Hunter, CEO at Future Super, says it’s likely that more of us would be doing this if they knew where their money was currently being invested.
“It’s hard to get angry about something you can’t see. Most funds actively hide what they’re investing in by not disclosing their holdings. They continue to invest heavily in fossil fuels despite knowing that everyday people want to see more action on climate change. They also don’t publish how they’re voting as a shareholder, meaning they could be voting against climate action within the companies they invest in, without telling their members.
“People have the right to choose where their money is going. To choose, they need to be able to see what their superfund is doing — both what it’s investing in and how it’s using its voting power as a shareholder. At Future Super, we publish our holdings and voting record so members can hold us to account for the future we’re creating with their superannuation.”
You may think your own individual contributions couldn’t possibly make a difference, but this state of mind is unhelpful, and as Hunter points out, incredibly incorrect.
“Superannuation is worth $3 trillion and is the largest pool of capital in the country.
To put the sheer scale of superannuation into perspective, the money sitting in Australia’s super would be enough to fund our transition to 100% renewable power ten times over.
“How your superannuation is invested during your working life matters — invested in the right places, it can create a future free from climate change and inequality. Or, it can be used to prop up failing industries like fossil fuels that are accelerating the effects of climate change.”
On the steps forward to ensuring a greener, more ethical future for ourselves in relation to super, we must interrogate where our money is being spent and find out more about our super funds and their values.
“Many funds greenwash their investing activity — a really simple way of testing this is to ask your fund how much money across their portfolio is invested in fossil fuels versus renewable energy,” she says.
Ultimately, you want to look out for funds that put their money where their mouths are. Funds that deliver transparency on action, outline their values clearly, and showcase exactly what they’ve done, and what they’re doing, to ensure a more ethical, climate-conscious future for Australia.
“At Future Super, we’re taking Australia closer to 100% renewable energy. Our members have helped fund the Chinchilla Solar Farm —Australia’s largest solar project — and Green Squares, a project that builds and finances rooftop solar for commercial buildings, like schools and hospitals.
“We only invest in companies with gender-diverse boards, and we don’t invest in companies or industries that drive social harm like gambling, armaments or live animal export. For the companies we do invest in, we use our power as a shareholder to vote for greater transparency, equality and sustainability.”