Eco Investor October 2014


Super Switch Compares Fossil Fuels in Super

Investors who want to know how exposed their superannuation fund is to fossil fuels or who want to compare super funds' fossil fuel exposure can use the new Super Switch service, which analyzes super fund exposure to the fossil fuel industry through Australian and international shares.

Super Switch has initially profiled 35 major super funds, which it says account for 74 per cent of funds under management in the sector. It ranks their known investments under a three tier system - Tier 1 is for fossil fuel companies; Tier 2 where diversified companies have fossil fuels as part of their business; and Tier 3 where companies such as banks provide essential services to the fossil fuel industry.

While Australian and international shares typically make up about half of a fund or option, there are other asset classes including private equity, infrastructure, bonds, fixed interest, cash, property and alternatives that Super Switch cannot cover. The greatest degree of exposure to fossil fuels is through shares but other asset classes can also have significant fossil fuel investments, as well as positive investments such as renewable energy.

Super Switch does not rank funds. It simply finds and publishes information on where super funds are exposed to fossil fuels. It does not claim to know all exposures by funds. Over time it intends to expand to cover other managed funds and other environmental issues.

Super Switch is an initiative of Market Forces, an affiliate of Friends of the Earth Australia, and was developed in partnership with Australia. It is an information and advocacy project, not a financial adviser, and says it operates without commercial motive and is motivated from concern for the environmental impacts created by fossil fuels. It has support from the Wallace Global Fund, a leader in the fossil fuel divestment movement.






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