350 Aotearoa is calling the news of the NZ Superannuation Fund, “an outstanding example of people-power pushing organisational leadership for New Zealand on climate change”. Today The NZ Superannuation Fund announced that it will be moving NZ$950 million away from companies with high exposure to the fossil fuel industry, after more than a year long NZ Super Fund divestment campaign by 350 Aotearoa.
“Divesting from fossil fuels shows real leadership. Nobody wants to see their retirement savings being used to wreck the future that they will be retiring into,” said Niamh O’Flynn, Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa.
In October 2016, 350 Aotearoa led an open letter from eleven* civil society organisations, representing thousands of New Zealanders, calling for the NZ Superannuation Fund to commit to divesting from fossil fuels.
Today’s announcement comes just days after Commonwealth Bank Australia’s shareholders filed a lawsuit against the bank for failing to adequately disclose the risk climate changes poses to its financial position.
“Financial risk aside, investing in the fossil fuel industry is a huge reputational risk. More and more investors are waking up to the fact that people expect more accountability and action on climate change.
“The tide is turning against investors who prop up the fossil fuel industry. We’ve seen that several times this year with large NZ insurer, MAS, becoming fossil free, and Auckland Council choosing to divest from fossil fuels hot on the heels of Otago and Canterbury Universities,” said O’Flynn.
“Some of the world’s worst polluters are vying for more fossil fuel development here in NZ, including Anadarko, Shell and StatOil. The Super Fund’s divestment decision sends a strong message to them that their time here is limited. Now it’s time for the government to step up and show the same kind of foresight. Any party that is serious about leading this country should look to follow in the Super Fund’s steps.”