Millennials strike against coal-invested super funds

Pictured: Activist Greta Thunberg and students protesting climate inaction. Image: Getty
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg joins student environmental advocates for a strike against climate change outside the White House on September 13, 2019 in Washington, DC. The strike is part of Thunberg's six day visit to Washington ahead of the Global Climate Strikes on Friday September 20. (Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)

Millions of students and workers will take to the streets Friday to protest against mismanagement of climate change.

But the strike doesn’t end there: millennials are increasingly investing in environmentally friendly superannuation funds over those which invest in the coal and weapons industries, new research from super fund Zuper has revealed.

“In what is a true sign of the times, roughly half of all Zuper members choose to remove carbon-intensive fossil fuels from their super when joining. Over two thirds of our members also go the extra mile, adding at least one of our health, green or tech options to their super,” said Zuper chief Jess Ellerm.

“Green is our second most popular choice after tech.”

Why should I care about what my super fund is investing in?

Two-in-three Zuper members are younger than 35 - a group which Ellerm says is increasingly frustrated by climate inaction.

Zuper’s Green fund invests in global clean energy and water companies, with the underlying Exchange Traded Funds within it returning between 21 per cent and 34 per cent this year.

“As a result of climate change, growth trends like renewable energy and water are simply not going away. It’s a similar story in tech and health. Younger Australians should have the opportunity to benefit from those trends if they believe in them, and Zuper is a really accessible way for them to get involved now and start that wealth creation journey,” Ellerm said.

“You don’t necessarily have to leave work on Friday to show you believe in climate change - you can strike with your money by switching your super to be climate friendly. As our data shows, you’ll possibly increase your long term wealth in the process too."

This is backed up by Ben Squires, the chief investment officer at NGS Super.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, he said funds that take a long-term approach to investing and consider environmental and social risks are “more likely to deliver sustainable returns over the long terms” than those which discount climate risks.

“In addition, funds that advocate for positive change across the companies, industry bodies and governments can bring about positive societal outcomes in addition to reducing risks associated with poor environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices,” he said.

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