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Most Aussie super funds invest in nuclear weapons: Here are 6 that don't

·3-min read
The world wants to de-nuclearise. Are we actually doing it? (Source: Getty)
The world wants to de-nuclearise. Are we actually doing it? (Source: Getty)

Millions of Australians’ retirement savings are invested in nuclear weapons companies, despite the majority of members believing funds shouldn’t invest in weapons.

The new research, from The Australia Institute and Quit Nukes, found that while many superannuation funds excluded “controversial weapons”, most did not include nuclear weapons in that definition.

Most Australian funds have investments in Airbus, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, which all produce nuclear weapons.

The researchers analysed the policies governing 80 per cent of all superannuation funds under management, excluding self-managed super funds.

They found just six funds excluded nuclear weapons from their entire portfolios:

  • Active Super

  • Australian Ethical

  • Christian Super

  • Crescent Wealth

  • Future Super

  • Verve Super

In addition, Energy Super, HESTA, LGIAsuper, UniSuper, and CareSuper excluded nuclear weapons from their ethical options.

 *Excluding DIY and ethical options. Including MySuper option. 
** Hostplus has committed to exclude nuclear weapons from all portfolios from 2022
(Source: Quit Nukes: The Case for Australian Superannuation Funds to be Nuclear Weapons Free)
*Excluding DIY and ethical options. Including MySuper option. ** Hostplus has committed to exclude nuclear weapons from all portfolios from 2022

(Source: Quit Nukes: The Case for Australian Superannuation Funds to be Nuclear Weapons Free)

Most (69 per cent) Australians believe their super fund should not invest in companies that produce nuclear weapons, while 78 per cent believe their funds should state whether they have exposure to nuclear weapons manufacturers.

Additionally, 69 per cent believe nuclear weapons should be categorised as “controversial weapons”, with only 10 per cent expecting they would not fall under that category.

“Australians have the right to know exactly how their money is being invested, but most major super funds do not tell their members about their investments,” The Australia Institute’s senior researcher, Bill Browne, said.

“Most Australians would have no idea that their retirement money is being used to finance nuclear weapons. It is incumbent upon all funds to invest in the future of Australians – and that future does not include nuclear weapons.”

The report comes nearly a year after the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons came into effect in January. This treaty made nuclear weapons illegal, along with landmines, chemical and biological weapons and cluster munitions.

Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, after US forces dropped nuclear weapons on 6 August 1945. The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are estimated to have killed as many as 226,000 people - mainly civilians. (Source: Getty)
Mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, after US forces dropped nuclear weapons on 6 August 1945. The attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki are estimated to have killed as many as 226,000 people - mainly civilians. (Source: Getty)

Quit Nukes co-director Dr Margaret Beavis said Australian super funds had the power to eliminate nuclear weapons by withdrawing funding.

“While there is big money invested in nuclear weapons companies, these investments are usually a tiny percentage of the whole funds under management,” Beavis said.

“There is no evidence to suggest that divestment will negatively impact returns.

“Some funds are making [the] change, including Hostplus, which recently decided to divest all nuclear weapons holdings by the end of January, 2022.”

However, other funds are lagging.

Australian Super - Australia’s largest fund - has nearly $1.5 billion invested in nuclear weapons companies, according to the research.

“Nuclear weapons are the most destructive weapons ever invented,” co-founder of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) associate professor Tilman Ruff, AO, and ICAN ambassador Melissa Parke said in the report.

‘They are by far the worst weapons of mass destruction, and pose the most acute existential threat to humankind, indeed to life on Earth.

“There is nothing prosperous, secure, sustainable, responsible or ethical about weapons poised to unleash - by accident or design - massive indiscriminate nuclear violence. They have no legitimate place in our world.”

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