Commenting on the preliminary report published today by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) which collates the proxy voting records of Australia’s largest superannuation funds on climate related shareholder proposals between 2017 and 2019, Director of Climate and Environment, Dan Gocher said:
“The decline in support for climate change related shareholder proposals in Australia in 2019 is the exact opposite of what most members would expect their super funds to be doing in a time of climate crisis. Australian super funds should be taking every opportunity available to them to drive action.”
“While Australian companies are seen as global laggards on climate, Australian super funds routinely vote against reasonable shareholder proposals that seek improved disclosure or set emissions targets. These resolutions are designed to mitigate climate risk at the companies concerned.”
“Many funds will excuse their poor voting records on the grounds that they have access to company boards and executives, who are supposedly ‘listening’. Unfortunately, far too many funds confuse access with influence, and are failing to escalate their engagement with the companies in which they are invested to match the urgency of taking action on climate change.”
“The reluctance by super funds to escalate issues and create discomfort with companies must be overcome if we are to have any chance of addressing Australia’s appalling record on emissions.”
“The lack of disclosure by super funds continues to be an ongoing concern. Far too many funds are treating their members and the general public with contempt, by drip feeding them information. The larger the superannuation industry gets, the greater the responsibility funds have. Disclosure and transparency matters."