UniSuper’s climate risk report is due in the next month.
10 November 2020
Due to significant pressure from members, UniSuper has divested from dirty coal companies Whitehaven Coal and New Hope Group. But UniSuper is still invested in other dirty fossil fuels companies whose operations are incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement, including major oil and gas producers like Woodside, Santos, Origin, and Australia’s largest carbon polluter, AGL.
With UniSuper’s updated climate risk report coming out in the next month, you have an opportunity to influence their policy and let UniSuper know the consequences if the fund ignores your calls for divestment of all fossil fuels.
We have written a template email that you can edit and send to UniSuper using the form on this page. When customising your email, please be sure to add your own words to part 2 of the message, detailing the steps you will take if you are not satisfied with UniSuper’s policy. To make it easier we’ve listed some of the steps other UniSuper members are taking below.
UniSuper’s climate risk report (pre-launch)
Send a message telling UniSuper what you expect to see in its upcoming climate risk report.
This page contains factual information that is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product.
Some of the further steps other Unisuper members have been taking include:
Switching to one of UniSuper’s fossil fuel free options
Be sure to tell UniSuper exactly why you have switched and make the point that it shouldn’t be up to members to seek out and switch into a fossil fuel free option – that should be the default position for the entire fund.
Divest from UniSuper to a fossil fuel free superfund.
Meet with a UniSuper representative to voice your concerns
Each university elects up to four representatives to the UniSuper Consultative Committee to be ‘the voice of the members.’ This committee engages directly with the UniSuper board and is responsible for nominating four directors. They have a meeting coming up with the senior leadership of UniSuper on the 20th of November.
Make an official complaint to UniSuper
UniSuper takes complaints seriously and they are fed up to higher management. To make a complaint, visit this page here on the UniSuper website.
Commit to attending future UniSuper Divest actions
Actions keep the campaign front and centre, engage more potential supporters and allies, and demonstrate to UniSuper that members aren’t going away until they have a plan to divest from all fossil fuel projects.
Publishing an article in The Conversation or another news outlet
Articles are good at keeping the news current and keeping the pressure on UniSuper to divest. They also help build the narrative for why divestment is important, which educates other UniSuper fund members and captures the attention of the UniSuper staff and board.
Requesting a meeting with UniSuper executives or board members
Other UniSuper members have engaged the board by engaging their Vice Chancellor, or requested a meeting with one of the board members on their campus. You can see who is on the UniSuper board here.
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.
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