Climate change

AustralianSuper has made a commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 in the investment portfolio. This is in line with international scientific consensus on reducing the economic and social impacts of climate change. It's consistent with our objective of helping members achieve their best possible retirement outcome.

Managing the transition to a net zero 2050 portfolio

Climate change is one of the most significant investment issues facing investors today. Climate related risks will impact all economies, asset classes and industries, as well as societies and the physical environment. Managing the investment portfolio to net zero by 2050 is in members’ best interests given the risk climate change presents to the Fund’s long-term investment performance.

On members’ behalf, we’re a large investor in all segments of the global economy and have large ownership stakes in many companies. Our actions enable us to have a large impact on the low carbon transition in the investment portfolio and the broader economy.

AustralianSuper supports the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees by 2100. Our net zero 2050 target is consistent with the scientific consensus of reductions required to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

AustralianSuper has a comprehensive plan and the transition to net zero 2050 is already well underway. The carbon intensity in the Australian and international shares portfolios has reduced by 44% between 2013 and 20191.

These activities include targeted and comprehensive direct company engagement, portfolio emissions analysis, our work as a founding member and previous chair of Climate Action 100+, active voting on shareholder resolutions and collaborations with other investors to amplify our impact.  

1. Source: S&P Global/Trucost ESG Analysis. Portfolio data at 30 June 2013, 30 September 2015–2019. Carbon to value invested: C02 emissions per $million

Making progress on reducing our carbon footprint

We monitor our progress towards net zero 2050 by measuring the carbon intensity of our investment portfolio. We have been measuring the carbon intensity of our Australian and international shares portfolio using an external carbon consultancy since 2013. Our equities portfolio has reduced its carbon intensity by 45% between 2013 and 2021. This analysis tracks the greenhouse gas emissions in our combined shares portfolio based on the value invested (AUD million). The equities portfolio represented around 45% of AustralianSuper’s total portfolio value as at 30 September 20212.

We are working towards measuring the carbon footprint of our other asset classes. So far, we have conducted internal carbon footprinting analysis (scope 1 and 2 emissions) of our Australian and international shares, property and infrastructure portfolios to identify the largest contributors to portfolio emissions in the investment portfolio.

2. Source: S&P Global/Trucost ESG Analysis, Australian and international shares portfolio data, 30 June 2013, 30 September 2015–2021. Carbon to value invested: C02 emissions per AUD million invested. Includes scope 1,2 and direct upstream scope 3 emissions.

One of the ways we are managing the transition to a low carbon economy is via engagement with our investments and collaboration with other investors as necessary to amplify our voice.

As a founding member of Climate Action 100+, we’re collaborating with more than 700 global investors representing over US$68 trillion in assets. The initiative seeks that the world’s largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters take action on climate change with regards to emissions reductions, governance and disclosure.

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