AustralianSuper is an Australian Superannuation fund headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria. It was established in 2006 through the merger of Australian Retirement Fund (ARF) and Superannuation Trust of Australia (STA). With approximately one in every ten Australian workers as member, AustraliaSuper has $232,762 million Assets Under Management.
In terms of female representation in leadership positions, AustralianSuper has a gender-balanced board of directors where five out of twelve members are women. In relation to its engagement approach, the pension fund has an environmental, social and governance (ESG) and Stewardship Policy where it describes how it integrates ESG factors across its portfolio through due diligence and ownership. Furthermore, AustralianSuper identified and prioritized its impacts through a materiality assessment process which included feedback collected through research, data review and interviews. On policy engagement, it discloses a list of trade associations of which it is a member and publishes the positions it takes in its lobbying and political engagement activities on sustainability themes.
AustralianSuper has set a target of net-zero financed emissions by 2050 and prioritizes the largest emissions contributors in its portfolios for its engagement on climate issues. It also engages with the latter on the alignment with the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, AustralianSuper discloses both the aggregate amount of investment devoted to energy projects and a related target to invest over USD 1 billion in the renewable energy sector by the end of 2022. Moreover, the pension fund publishes the absolute CO2 emissions in its Australian equities, international equities, and fixed-interest portfolios. To conclude, it provides evidence of how nature- and biodiversity-related impacts are included in its due diligence process and engagement agenda in its investments.
AustralianSuper discloses the proportion of its total direct operations workforce for each employee category by age group and gender. It provides various grievance mechanisms for all workers to raise human rights complaints or concerns. Furthermore, the pension fund has a publicly available policy statement that shows it is committed to respecting the health and safety of workers.
In terms of its approach to senior leadership accountability, the pension fund could assign responsibility for sustainability to the board and link the remuneration of its executive or management teams to sustainability performance criteria. Furthermore, AustralianSuper has an opportunity to commit to gender equality and women’s empowerment, disclose the proportion of women in senior leadership roles and how it addresses any gender pay gaps.
The pension fund could disclose interim emissions reduction targets at the group level, such as a 45% reduction in financed emissions by 2030. Moreover, AustralianSuper could align its investments in energy projects with internationally recognised frameworks and track progress towards the related target. Regarding nature and biodiversity, no evidence was found that the financial institution is committed to minimising its negative impacts or financing regenerative solutions. In addition, AustralianSuper discloses the revenue dependency of its investees towards extraction and energy-related activities and that it does not invest in directly owned reserves of coal, oil and gas. However, it could disclose its approach to fossil fuels that spans across the whole fossil fuel value chain and its assets under management, such as the total amount of finance it directs towards fuels.
AustralianSuper has an opportunity to publish publicly available policy statements committing it to respect human rights and prohibit bribery and corruption. Although it discloses that modern slavery risks are part of ESG integration in its financing activities, it also has an opportunity to describe a comprehensive process for identifying its human rights risks and impacts. Furthermore, there is no evidence that affected communities who may be adversely impacted by the financial institution are provided with channels to raise human rights complaints. To provide transparency on financial inclusivity, AustralianSuper can enhance its performance by disclosing the amount of finance directed towards low-income developing countries.