Super funds’ share voting flies against Paris climate commitments.
As the ANZ AGM nears this Thursday, the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) has revealed that almost all Australian superannuation funds contacted by their members refused to disclose their voting intentions for the first climate resolution in the world after the Paris COP21 climate talks.
The ‘Vote Your Super’ (www.VoteYourSuper.org) platform allowed thousands of Australian superannuation members to register their voting preference with over 95% voting for their superannuation fund to vote against ANZ.
However, giant Californian pension fund CalPERS announced they were going to support the resolution.
“It is incredible that CalPERS, one of the most advanced funds in the world, is prepared to challenge the ANZ board but Australia’s own superfunds don’t have the courage or commitment to act” said AODP Chair John Hewson.
“This is the first opportunity for Australia’s superfunds to show that their Paris commitments were more than hot air and so far none have declared their intention to their own members despite those members actively demanding answers” said AODP Chair John Hewson.
“Australian superfunds spent huge amounts of money flying their staff all the way to Paris to make commitments about supporting a 2 degree world but as soon as their own members want to hold them to account they refuse to reveal how they will clean up Australia’s dirtiest bank” said Hewson.
Over 150 Australian and New Zealand superfunds were contacted over the month-long voting period and funds in a further 16 countries overseas. The largest Australian shareholder in ANZ is NAB.
“Australia must break open the cosy relationships between banks who all own shares in each other” said Hewson. “Australians don’t like people using their savings to further their own comfortable existence – they should feel very uneasy about the risks from climate change and ANZ was the perfect way to start following the Paris accord.”
In an alarming trend following the email blitz that saw AGL back down under pressure from investors, the number of funds responding to their own members has actually decreased sharply with some superannuation funds actually having internet blacklisted the ‘votes’, preventing them from being received.
“It is abhorrent that funds are ignoring members on legitimate investment matters such as proxy voting. Members concerns must be taken into account when investing their retirement savings” Dr Hewson said.
That funds are deliberately configuring their IT systems to avoid receiving votes smacks of a ‘head in the sand’ attitude to both members and climate change; they’ve lumped both in the ‘too-hard’ basket.
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