26 Oct 2016

Super Fund urged to fully divest from fossil fuels

2:26 pm on 26 October 2016

Environmental, health, union and church groups are calling on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to immediately divest from fossil fuels.

Smoke pollution

Photo: 123rf

In an open letter to the fund's chief executive, Adrian Orr, 11 groups - including Greenpeace, Oxfam, the Public Service Association and the Anglican Church - say climate change is not only a moral issue but a reality, and the Super Fund must act.

The Super Fund announced last week it would start pulling out of the biggest polluters, but would not be divesting from all fossil fuels.

At the time, Mr Orr said the fund preferred to engage with companies in order to influence their behaviour, over total divestment.

Some of the biggest polluters were actually part of the solution and were developing cleaner and renewable technologies, he said.

Climate change lobby group 350 Aotearoa executive director Niamh O'Flynn disagreed with that approach.

"I think New Zealanders would not be happy with partial divestment from munitions companies or nuclear weapons manufacturers and we feel the same way about fossil fuels. It's not ethical to invest in any industry that's destroying our planet.

"While the NZSF have made a step in the right direction, with the knowledge we have today, it is no longer possible to claim to be a responsible investor without also fully divesting from fossil fuels."

A Super Fund spokesperson said its climate change strategy was in line with current global best practice by institutional investors, and had been informed by the government and international policy on climate change.

The signing organisations are:

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