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QSuper’s approach to investing and climate change is a topic of interest to members. Below, we outline QSuper’s position, current actions underway and the choices that members can make now.
Like many institutional investors, QSuper invests in thousands of companies and other investment vehicles on its members’ behalf, through its own Investments team and a network of specialist advisers and fund managers.
During the many virtual events we host throughout the year such as the Annual Members’ Meeting, the Annual Investment Update and the regular seminars, members will sometimes raise questions regarding QSuper’s approach to investing and climate change.
QSuper will incorporate the carbon emissions targets of the Paris climate accord into a robust approach to investment decision making which will assess climate change risks and opportunities.
We believe that aiming for the Paris targets implies support for “net zero emissions” by 2050, an outcome necessary to meet an end-of-century cap on global warming. The Paris accord aims to keep the global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
"We see climate change risk as an investment risk that can impact the achievement of our investment objectives for our members. As a Board we believe that the transition to a low carbon world economy, as envisaged in the Paris agreement, is necessary to address and manage climate change.
"The transition to a low carbon economy poses a number of risks to businesses across the world and, as well as the physical risk obviously from climate change, that can impact assets that we invest in. So, our strategy is very much built around understanding those risks, understanding climate change risks and the focus of our climate change policy is to make the best possible investment decisions, using the best possible information around climate change risks and how they might impact our portfolio."
Walter Ivessa, QSuper Trustee
At the direction of the Board of Trustees, the QSuper Investments team has commenced an evidence-based program of work that will evaluate the climate change risk in our portfolio and consider ways to respond.
This work will entail:
Once the program of work is completed, the Board of Trustees will make an informed decision about the findings, including whether to set a target. QSuper has expanded its stewardship on climate change and governance through our memberships in the Investor Group on Climate Change, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, and the Climate Action 100+ initiative.
"Your fund is mindful of the rising investor activism and the need to balance desire for investment in sustainable industries with its obligation to invest for the sole purpose of maximising members’ interests.
"We are active in our stewardship program to encourage businesses we invest in, to both understand and act on their environmental impact.
"You can be assured that QSuper will step through this carefully, recognising your interests come first and recognising that sustainable investment is wise investment."
Charles Woodhouse, QSuper Chief Investment Officer
QSuper also recently brought in-house the investment management of the Socially Responsible investment option. This change was in response to our members’ requests for a more holistic socially responsible investment option that targets a positive impact on certain environmental and social issues, while avoiding investments that have a negative impact.
In late 2019 we surveyed more than 1600 current and previous members in the existing Socially Responsible option as well as a random sample of QSuper members – and non-members – which gave us a clear idea about the issues most important to many investors. This informed the development of our option.
The Socially Responsible option invests in assets such as clean energy, health care and education, and has minimal or no exposure to assets that have negative environmental or social impacts such as fossil fuels, gambling or adult entertainment.
Some of the benefits of bringing the investment management in-house include:
QSuper investment options
Annual Members Meeting Q&A
Investment strategy & philosophy
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For over 100 years, QSuper has been there for members – in the good times and the tough ones. As one of Australia’s largest and oldest superannuation funds, QSuper is here to grow our members’ super.
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