Aware Super has announced that its investment in renewable energy and low-carbon technologies and projects has topped $1 billion as it is responding to the risks and opportunities of climate change.
The super fund said that emissions in its listed equities portfolio were 45% lower than they were at 31 December, 2019, with a further 5% reduction since late 2020, and significantly exceeded the fund’s target for a 30% reduction by 2023.
At the same time, Aware Super also achieved a 63% reduction in emissions in its listed equities portfolio across its socially responsible investment (SRI) options over the past financial year, partially thanks to excluding the supply chain to the fossil fuel industry from these options.
Aware Super’s chief executive officer, Deanne Stewart said while the fund had made some pleasing progress, there was still more work to do to achieve its goal to reduce emissions across its entire portfolio by 45% by 2030 in line with the Paris Agreement targets, on the way to net zero by 2050.
“We are the custodians of $150 billion in members’ retirement savings, and we take our obligation to safeguard these savings and deliver the best possible long-term returns incredibly seriously,” Stewart said.
“Taking decisive action now and responding to the risks of climate change makes good business sense and as a long-term investor, is critical to ensuring that we deliver for our members for decades to come. We know that failing to act now, could have disastrous consequences in the future.”
Some of the assets Aware Super invested in over the past 12 months include:
- An investment, announced last week, in Generate Capital – a San Francisco-based company that owns, operates and finances sustainable infrastructure including solar, energy storage and waste management systems;
- A 10% stake in Terra-Gen, a US renewable energy platform with more than 1,600 megawatts (MW) of operating assets across wind, geothermal, solar, and battery storage technologies and more than 3,000 MW of projects under development;
- BNP Paribas’ $140 million equity-linked green bonds which are linked to the first forward-looking climate index in Australia, the Australian Climate Transition Index (ACT Index).
- An $80 million commitment to the Adamantem Capital Fund II, which requires the development and implementation of detailed emissions-reduction strategies for each investment;
- A stake in Perfect Power Solutions, a US-based company developing battery storage projects in New York; and,
- An investment, alongside Lendlease, in a US property portfolio that has achieved net zero emissions, in part through certified offsets generated by a renewable energy business. Aware Super has also recently acquired a large stake in Tilt Renewables’ Australian assets through QIC’s investment in Powering Australia Renewables (PowAR).