Generational change is driving the move away from fossil fuel investments, with both superannuation funds and finance houses responding with targeted investment policies, The New Daily reports.
Clean energy lobby group Market Forces has launched a campaign to push industry super fund Hostplus to reduce its fossil fuel exposure after pressure from the fund’s young membership.
“Over the last year we have seen an uptick in Hostplus members using our website to call for divestment from fossil fuels,” said Market Forces asset-management campaigner Will van de Pol.
“They are mainly younger members who join Hostplus because their first jobs are in cafes and bars, and that demographic has pushed hard for real climate action around the world.”
The campaign targeted Hostplus’s investments in coal-powered generation and coal mining through stakes in companies like AGL, Origin and BHP.
Hostplus for its part said it was reviewing its options.
“We are actively considering a net-zero emissions target as part of a review of the Fund’s approach to climate-related risk management,” the fund said in a statement.
Although Mr van de Pol said Hostplus was lagging behind other industry funds on climate change, he said it compared favourably to other superannuation funds.
“The industry funds overall are moving at a faster pace than the large retail [for-profit] funds,” he said.
Pressure from younger demographics is also driving a move to carbon reduction in the exchange-traded fund (ETF) sector, said David Bassanese, chief economist with ETF group BetaShares.
“Back in 2016, there were just two ethical funds in the Australian ETF sector. Now there are 10 funds in the equity space, with more than $2.6 billion invested, and two new ethical bond funds, with $140 million invested,” Mr Bassanese said.