Super funds hoodwink members on climate stance

Australians are being hookwinked by their superannuation funds which have failed to live up to their pledges on climate, Market Forces believes.

The environmental finance campaigner's latest report found seven energy companies in the ASX300 explicitly refer to reserve replacement or exploration targets in their executives' bonus structures.  

The companies were AWE, FAR Ltd, Karoon Gas Australia, Oil Search, Santos, Senex Energy, and Sino Gas and Energy.

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Market Forces analyst and the report's author, Daniel Gocher, said: "Executive bonuses predicated on unearthing more fossil fuels when the world needs less shows the extent to which these companies' business model is broken. They are not just in a state of denial, but actively accelerating towards a brick wall".

The report said super funds, which hold about 20 per cent of the market capitalisation of all ASX-listed companies, are failing to challenge this business model, despite their state belief in engagement as a strategy for changing the behaviour of companies.

Three out of 80 disclosed examples of super funds voted against fossil fuel companies' remuneration packages that incentivise exploration, and none of these were explicit protests against reserves-based incentives, the report found.

Market Forces noted that only 10 of the biggest super funds disclosed enough information to analyse their voting record.

"There can be no more glaring example of the failure of superannuation funds to effectively engage with companies on climate change than their continued blind support for executive remuneration packages which expressly incentivise the expansion of fossil fuel reserves," Gocher said.

"At a minimum, we expect super funds to use the opportunity of voting against remuneration reports at the upcoming AGMs of AWE Ltd, Senex Energy, and Karoon Gas Australia to reject incentives for fossil fuel exploration, and encourage the implementation of sustainability metrics into remuneration packages."

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