24 February 2022
Responsible investing is a term that’s become increasingly commonplace. It covers a broad range of issues and is often referred to in a similar way as conscious investing, sustainable investing or ethical investing. When it comes to super, it’s important to understand what it means for your fund.
Super is all about the long term. Your fund’s job is to grow and protect your retirement savings over your working life by investing your super. But not all funds are equal. A good fund will focus on strong long-term results and also consider the global and social impacts of its investments.
For many people, a fund with a responsible investment mindset and the power to drive change is equally important as returns. Australian Super has the size and scale to make an impact. We can help you create your retirement nest egg, while also contributing to a more sustainable future.
Responsible investing at AustralianSuper
AustralianSuper is a responsible investor with an A+ rating1. We believe responsible investment is central to delivering the best investment returns for members. This means we consider every investment we make on behalf of members through an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lens. We don't pay profits or dividends to shareholders, so the money we make goes back into the fund.
To us, being a responsible investor involves 2 key elements:
- Integration – where we consider the ESG risks and opportunities of an investment before we commit to it, and make sure we pay the right price for that investment.
- Stewardship, or ownership, activities – this involves managing an asset the Fund holds a stake in as effectively as possible to make sure members get the best returns for the investment.
Andrew Gray leads the ESG and Stewardship focus for the Fund. He says it's important to remember that ESG principles cover all AustralianSuper investments.
‘We’re a members first organisation. We invest on members’ behalf to help them achieve their best financial position in retirement,’ says Andrew.
ESG priorities at AustralianSuper
Our investment team focuses on a range of ESG issues, including climate change, modern slavery and how company boards operate.
‘If we look at board participation as an example, as a large investor we often have a vote in company operations. We need to understand who’s on the board and how it works and make sure it’s effective,’ says Andrew.
‘Board effectiveness is our fundamental starting position – because we think if we get the right board members in place that's what will enable companies to manage their ESG matters better.’
By regularly engaging with companies and their boards we can advocate for improved performance on ESG issues. This helps to generate the best investment returns for members.*
Applying a responsible investment lens
The ESG issues AustralianSuper is currently focused on include:
- climate change,
- workplace practices,
- First Nations peoples,
- data privacy and security,
- plastics and the circular economy.
‘As a responsible investor we want to be really clear and transparent with what we do, we want to be upfront with the member,’ says Andrew.
‘Responsible investing is so broad, not everything in that umbrella is appropriate for AustralianSuper members.’
‘Ultimately the message is simple: responsible investment is central to delivering the best investment returns for members.’
1. The PRI assesses each
signatory annually. AustralianSuper achieved the highest possible rating of A+
for Overarching Approach to Responsible Investment and Governance and Listed
Equity-Active Ownership by the United Nation in the PRI Global Assessment
This may include general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision consider if the information is right for you and read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, available at australiansuper.com/pds or by calling 1300 300 273. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at australiansuper.com/TMD.
AustralianSuper Pty Ltd ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898.