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Superannuation Companies' Responses Over Fossil Fuel Investments

HESTA and Hostplus provide responses

UniSuper – no comment

AustralianSuper – no comment

CBUS - can’t comment

David Elia, CEO, Hostplus:

"Hostplus offers its members a variety of investment options including the Socially Responsible Investment Option, which excludes all companies that make a material amount of money from the most carbon intensive fossil fuels, being thermal coal, oil sands, coal-fired power and the conversion of coal to liquid fuels and feedstock. We define ‘material’ as 10 per cent or more of company’s coming from these fossil fuels.

This means the SRI Option does not invest in companies including South32, Whitehaven Coal, New Hope Corporation, Anglo American, Coal India, PT United Tractors and over 10 coal mining companies in China.

Hostplus prefers engagement with companies it invests in, rather than divestment.

The Balanced Option, which most of our members are invested in, does have exposure to fossil fuel companies.

Our ownership of shares in these companies gives us the ability to engage and influence. Selling our holdings would deprive us of this important right."

HESTA:

HESTA believes our best chance at managing the long-term financial risk of climate change is using our influence as a shareholder to drive companies to better understand, manage and reduce their carbon emissions.

Actively owning companies is the way we have a voice to push for change in a company’s behaviour, including the way they manage climate risk and transition to a low-carbon future. This allows us to more effectively drive long-term climate action and better protect our members’ investments.

Active ownership that involves engagement with companies and share voting can produce significant results. Today BP announced it aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. It is unlikely this commitment would have been made without sustained pressure from shareholders, including HESTA.

We also work with other global investors who care about climate change through Climate Action 100+ and together we push the world’s largest corporate emitters to cut their emissions.

Through our considerable investments in renewable energy and cleantech private equity HESTA is also supporting the transition our economy needs to make.

We understand there will be wide range of views among our more than 860,000 members. That’s why we provide HESTA members with an investment option, Eco Pool, which aims to be completely fossil fuel free.

Across all our investment options, HESTA has a strict ban on new thermal coal investments, as well as investments in tobacco and controversial weapons.