What if I told you that there’s one billion dollars invested in oil & gas on your behalf? ACC are bankrolling the climate crisis.@NZGreens will continue putting pressure on the Finance Minister to use his powers to end that stupidity. Cheers to Rod Oram who’s added his voice: https://t.co/k32DTb6kAR— Chlöe Swarbrick (@_chloeswarbrick) December 8, 2019
There’s something particularly perverse about ACC funding industry that will cause so many health issues, but I guess it won’t be their problem because they only cover accidental injury and so it will be left to Health to pick up the pieces.
Rod Oram’s article addresses ACC’s dragging the chain in divestment by looking at their inadequate plan, and the problems of health.
ACC says: “Climate change, and reducing carbon emissions, is forefront in the minds of ACC and the business community both in New Zealand and overseas. ACC recognises this as a serious risk to the investment portfolio.”
But it offers platitudes not evidence of how it is managing that risk to its $44 billion of investments. The fund is meant to meet its Outstanding Claims Liability from clients suffering long-term or permanent disabilities. If the fund falls short, the Government will have to bail it out with higher ACC levies and/or funds from taxpayers.
While the Superannuation Fund is taking the lead on divestment, ACC’s response is,
In contrast, ACC espouses a simpler strategy on carbon. “If Parliament changed the law banning use of fossil fuels, ACC would stop investing in the production of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel producers would be added to our exclusion list,” ACC’s chair told the parliamentary select committee in August.
It’s not surprising that ACC’s Chair is Paula Rebstock, so perhaps also not surprising that ACC is missing proactive leadership on climate. The question remains whether the position is one of denialism or simply the desire to make some mon at the end of the world.
Oram points out that the government could give more direction to ACC, but won’t.
The Committee’s subsequent report on ACC’s policy said the Government had the power to give ACC greater guidance on its fossil fuel investments. But in response, the Government said it would not.
The case for strong government policies on the investment response to the climate emergency has been made many times by many regulators, most notably the Bank of England. In its most recent open letter on the subject in April, it wrote:
“Carbon emissions have to decline by 45 percent from 2010 levels over the next decade in order to reach net zero by 2050. This requires a massive reallocation of capital. If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist.
“The prime responsibility for climate policy will continue to sit with governments. And the private sector will determine the success of the adjustment. But as financial policymakers and prudential supervisors, we cannot ignore the obvious risks before our eyes.
Ball’s in your court Labour, time to step up on Ardern’s Nuclear Free Moment.