UniSuper fails to improve on inadequate climate plan.

7 May 2021

The last couple of weeks has seen some big developments on the UniSuper Divest campaign, with pressure mounting on the fund to dump all dirty fossil fuel investments.

As one of more than 12,500 members to join the original UniSuper Divest open letter, you have been instrumental in helping to build this campaign and delivering the progress so far, including divestment from thermal coal mining companies.

Members must ensure UniSuper can’t escape the mounting pressure. Use the form on this page to demand UniSuper responds with clear strategies and targets to exit all fossil fuel investments.

Recently, the NTEU—the trade union for the higher education and university sector—launched a campaign calling on UniSuper to ‘Stop Supercharging Climate Change’. The specific asks are complementary to those of our UniSuper Divest campaign. As the NTEU’s webpage states, Market Forces and the union are allies for climate justice, so we encourage supporters to sign their campaign petition as well.

Last week, a number of fossil fuel divestment and climate-related motions were put to a vote at a meeting of the UniSuper Consultative Committee. The most successful of these, calling for the fund to become completely fossil fuel free by 2030, received 35% support. Considering the fund lobbied hard against these motions, this represents a significant rebuke of UniSuper’s current approach to climate action and fossil fuel investments.

Groups on campuses have been instrumental in building support for fossil fuel divestment among the Consultative Committee, and are planning to follow up on this work. Keep an eye out for details of specific opportunities to get involved, which we will be sharing with you soon.

The final development I wanted to share with you is the increasing legal and regulatory commentary suggesting super funds should be exiting heavily climate risk-exposed sectors like fossil fuels.

A new legal opinion commissioned by Market Forces has found that, where climate-related financial risks facing a particular investment are too great, super funds should consider divestment. Regulator APRA has also released new draft climate risk guidance, suggesting super funds should consider developing plans and applying limits to manage exposure to sectors with high climate risks.

Use the form on this page to tell UniSuper to respond to the rapidly developing climate expectations by producing a plan to rapidly phase out all exposure to fossil fuels, starting with divestment of companies expanding the coal, oil and gas industries.


UniSuper: Respond to mounting divestment pressure

Send a message telling UniSuper to produce a clear plan to exit all fossil fuel investments

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About this campaign

UniSuper DIVEST is a project of Market Forces, supported by UniSuper members across Australia. The campaign is designed to support signatories to take ownership of the campaign and organise to share it widely among fellow UniSuper members. Together we will take this campaign into the media and right to the doors of UniSuper.

UniSuper DIVEST recognises and supports the important work of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) in pushing for climate action, including motions passed in October 2019 declaring a climate emergency and calling on UniSuper to divest from fossil fuels. This campaign supports these efforts and seeks to demonstrate widespread support for fossil fuel divestment among UniSuper members.

Market Forces’ research has identified the big Australian companies that are undermining climate action by expanding the scale of the fossil fuel industry and whose future is tied to worsening the climate crisis. These are the companies the open letter calls on UniSuper to divest from.

UniSuper should not be investing any of its members’ retirement savings in these climate-wrecking companies. While the fund offers investment options that exclude some fossil fuel investments, these options represent a tiny proportion of assets under management and require members to actively seek out and switch into them. Climate action is effectively quarantined to those niche options and the members that are able to find their way into them. Meanwhile UniSuper continues to invest billions of dollars in fossil fuels through mainstream investment options. UniSuper, as a whole, is still overwhelmingly backing companies that are driving us towards runaway climate change.

Learn more about UniSuper’s climate performance.

This campaign provides a platform for members to demand UniSuper divests from fossil fuel companies that are undermining the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

Market Forces is an affiliate project of Friends of the Earth Australia. Learn more at marketforces.org.au/about