Following its 2019 report ‘Vote Like You Mean It’, the Australiasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) has collated the proxy voting records of Australia’s largest superannuation funds on climate change related shareholder proposals between 2017 and 2019.
ACCR intends to publish an analysis of Australian super funds’ voting on all shareholder proposals on environmental and social issues between 2017 and 2019 in March 2020.
50 largest super funds in Australia (publicly available proxy voting records)
135 climate change related shareholder proposals (26 in Australia)
5 countries: Australia, Canada, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States
3 calendar years: 2017, 2018 and 2019
In 2019, overall support for Australian shareholder proposals declined from an average of 19% in 2018 to 14.8%, which was consistent with the trend in the US (32.5% in 2018, 25.1% in 2019).
In 2019, the five most supportive funds in 2019 on all shareholders proposals globally were UniSuper, NGS Super, Cbus, Vision Super, HESTA (>10 votes).
Between 2017 and 2019, the five most supportive funds on all shareholder proposals were Local Government Super, HESTA, Vision Super, Mercer, Macquarie (>10 votes).
Many funds’ support for Australian shareholder proposals in Australia declined significantly between 2018 and 2019, for example:
Local Government Super supported 100% of Australian shareholder proposals in 2018 (5 of 5 votes), but supported just 20% of proposals in 2019 (2 of 10 votes);
Cbus supported 57% of Australian shareholder proposals in 2018 (4 of 7 votes), but supported just 9% of proposals in 2019 (1 of 11 votes).
AustralianSuper failed to support a single Australian shareholder proposal in 2019 (11 votes).
Cbus, First State Super, Mercer and MTAA Super supported just one Australian shareholder proposal in 2019 (11 votes each).
Between 2017-2019, most funds supported international shareholder proposals far more often than they did Australian shareholder proposals, for example:
UniSuper failed to support a single Australian shareholder proposal (16 votes), despite supporting 95% of international proposals (18 of 19 votes);
Macquarie supported just one Australian shareholder proposal (14 votes), despite supporting 66% of international proposals (35 of 53 votes).
10 of the 21 funds that disclosed their international voting record for 2019 do not hold at least one of the three oil majors BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil included in the analysis (these companies faced shareholder proposals in 2019), which raises the question whether funds are trying to limit their exposure.
16 of the 50 funds included in the analysis failed to disclose any voting records over the three years.
UniSuper significantly improved its disclosure in 2019.
Votes not disclosed are not included in aggregate percentages by fund
Several funds are yet to disclose voting records for the second half of 2019