The decision by one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds to adopt a 2030 emissions target and an escalation framework puts big polluters on notice that climate inaction will have consequences at board level, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

Australian Retirement Trust’s Net Zero 2050 roadmap outlines the company’s approach to investing in an era of rapid climate change. In the roadmap, ART commits to:

  • Adopt a target to reduce the emissions intensity of its investments (shares, infrastructure, real estate) by 43% by 2030 without the use of offsets.
  • Adopt a timebound escalation framework to put pressure on the companies it invests in to reduce their emissions.
  • Give board members annual training on climate change and link key staff remuneration to climate change performance.
  • Vote on all climate-related shareholder resolutions in 2024 and adopt an oil and gas policy by next year.

“One of Australia’s largest superannuation funds adopting a 2030 emissions target and an escalation framework sends a message to big polluters that climate inaction will have consequences at board level,” said ACF’s corporate campaigner Jonathan Moylan.

“This is genuine progress, but the surging nature of the climate crisis demands bolder commitments from such a powerful player.

“Given the progress ART has made in strengthening its climate change governance this year, including appointing Guy Debelle to the board and doubling the size of its sustainability team, it’s disappointing the company has not aimed higher than 43% by 2030.

“ART has not provided much detail about its principles for the escalation framework, or how ART will assess companies’ alignment with its framework.

“A growing number of Australians want their superannuation funds to be protecting their retirement years from the impacts of the climate crisis.”

ART has acknowledged it needs to tackle biodiversity risks, but has not addressed that in this roadmap.

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