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Super Fund should divest $140 million in high risk coal

Russel Norman MP
Russel Norman MP
russel [dot] norman [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)
The Super Fund’s investment in dirty coal is only worthwhile if they expect the world to do nothing to stop runaway climate change.

The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest their $140 million investment in coal companies that are vulnerable to becoming financially stranded according to a damning new report from Oxford University.

The Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University has identified the world's least efficient and most polluting 'subcritical' coal-fired power stations - assets vulnerable to becoming 'stranded'. The Super Fund has $140 million invested in companies identified in the report.

"The Green Party is calling on the New Zealand Super Fund to divest from the world's dirtiest coal companies in the wake of an Oxford University report on stranded assets," said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

"As of June 30, 2014 the Super Fund had investments in 30 of the 100 dirtiest coal power companies amounting to $140 million, or 0.5 percent of the $29 billion Fund.

"The Super Fund could easily divest from these companies today. Not only is there a strong ethical case to divest from the most polluting coal companies, there is also a growing financial case to divest as well.

"Oxford University has produced a strong case for investors to re-evaluate the financial risks of investing in companies that produce the dirtiest power in the world, fuelling climate change.

"The Super Fund's investment in dirty coal is only worthwhile if they expect the world to do nothing to stop runaway climate change. This is not a good long-term investment strategy.

"According to the International Energy Agency, a quarter of the world's dirtiest coal-fired power stations will need to be closed by 2020 to keep global temperature rises below 2°C."

The Green Party today lodged new legislation in the Member's ballot instructing public fund managers to divest from companies directly involved in the mining and production of fossil fuels within five years and requiring them to actively manage and reduce the climate-related risks of their remaining investments.

Link to Green Party divestment Member's Bill:
https://home.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/climate_change_divestment_from_fossil_fuels_bill.pdf

Link to Oxford University report:
http://bit.ly/1O4k8Kh

Background:
As of writing, over $67 billion in fossil fuel company stocks have been divested by 180 organisations. Storebrand, a $100 billion financial services group in Norway, divested in July 2014 from 13 coal and six oil sands companies to ensure "long-term stable returns" because these stocks will be "financially worthless" in the future. In September 2014, the $860 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced plans to divest from all its fossil fuel assets, amounting to 7 percent of its assets. In Australia, one of its biggest public sector pension funds, Local Government Super (LGS), announced in October 2014 its intention to sell its holdings in coal companies, saying that climate change is an "unarguable scientific reality" and a "very real investment risk". Last month, Norway's $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund - divested from 53 coal companies.

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