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Greens call on Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels

Russel Norman MP
Russel Norman MP
russel [dot] norman [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
"The Guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund are betting our money on a climate catastrophe."

The Green Party today called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (the Fund) to divest from fossil fuels, starting immediately with coal.

The call was accompanied with a new report, Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting from fossil fuels, which pulls together a significant number of resources to make the ethical and financial case for divesting from companies directly involved in the mining and production of coal, oil, and gas. The Fund currently has $676 million in fossil fuel companies, comprising of approximately 2 percent of the Fund's assets under management.

"The Guardians of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund are betting our money on a climate catastrophe," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

"The Guardians are meant to be investing for the long term, but by investing over $676 million into fossil fuel companies, they're hedging that the world will take no action on the climate — a world for our kids where it's not worth living to retirement age.

"It is now a well-established fact that if all the world's known reserves of coal, oil, and gas are burned, our climate is toast. At least three-quarters of these reserves will have to stay in the ground, wiping much of the current value of the fossil fuel sector.

"Getting out of fossil fuels is not only the right thing to do, it makes financial sense too."

The world's largest pension fund — Norway's $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund — began divesting from fossil fuels this week citing 'elevated levels of risk to our investments in the long term'. It joins a rapidly growing list of funds, banks, cities, universities, and churches that have divested from fossil fuels for ethical and financial reasons since 2011.

"The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is widely regarded as one of the most ethical funds in the world, having previously divested from nuclear weapons manufacturers, big tobacco, illegal munitions manufacturers, and Japanese whalers," said Dr Norman.

"Yet climate change is the ethical issue of our times. We can join together with a growing divestment movement around the world and put pressure where it matters — on polluting fossil fuel producers.

"Money released from divestment can be reinvested in the rapidly growing renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, helping to hasten the transition of our economy to a low-carbon future.

"This century will be the century of sustainability. The countries and the businesses that lead that shift to sustainability will dominate."

Link to report Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting from fossil fuels:
https://home.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/superannuation_fund_divestment_paper_february_2015_0.pdf

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