Retirement Fund Puts Climate Change Pressure on Australia’s 200 Largest Enterprises

Directors of companies that appear to be “too slow” on climate change will face increased pressure from Australia’s largest retirement fund.

The Australian Council of Aging Investors (ACSI), consisting of 37 aging companies, recommends members to vote against the re-election of directors who are deemed to be inadequate in tackling climate change. ..

ACSI will contact the board of directors of ASX200, Australia’s 200 largest publicly traded company.

The move also follows the release of the book Awakened Capital Dictatorship: How Political Justice Perceived Large Businesses, detailing how social justice is now pervading the corporate sector. I will.

ACSI votes against directors and promotes the annual “Say on Climate” vote, giving members the opportunity to comment on the progress of the company’s climate change initiative at the Annual Meeting (AGM). doing.

“Climate change risk is deeply embedded in the financial system and affects all sectors and asset classes,” she said. “For long-term investors, this poses a serious challenge to long-term value creation for the entire investment portfolio,” said Louise Davidson, CEO of ACSI. In the statement..

Davidson argued that some companies did not accept advice on climate change, and said they were responding too late in some cases.

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October 22, 2012, power lines in Melbourne, Australia. (Quinn Rooney / Getty Images)

“In order to raise the focus of investing companies on climate-related risks, ACSI may encourage members to vote against the re-election of directors,” she said.

“ACSI and its members are constructively involved with the company, but if the company does not meet the expectations of investors, it will take action. Our members do not hesitate to take this responsibility.”

This group was founded in 2001 to provide “strong and collective views” on environmental, social and governance issues.The· ACSI board It is made up of executives from aging companies such as Australian Supermarkets, REST, Host Plus, Aware Supermarkets and HESTA.

According to ACSI, its members (individuals and institutions) own about 10% of all ASX200 companies, and their value is over $ 1 trillion.

Major energy companies Woodside, Santos, Rio Tinto and Oil Search have already agreed to host a “Sayon Climate” vote at the 2022 Annual Shareholders’ Meeting.

Cyan Hassy, ​​a researcher at the Institute of Public Affairs, a free market think tank, said Australia’s “overnight deindustrialization” would not affect global emissions.

“ACSI and its affiliated industry aging fund are promoting abstract emission targets that do not affect the climate, but destroy the work of mainstream Australians and undermine Australia’s lifestyle,” he said. I told the Epoch Times.

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Chinese workers are commuting as a storm of smoke from a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi Province, China, on November 25, 2015. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)

“Destroying the work of members who are forced to cut wages by superfunds is not acting in the best interests of those members,” he added. “This is the latest example of an urban elite who sacrifices mainstream Australians and imposes their interests.”

Sam Kennard, CEO of Kennard’s Storage, said this is another reason why many business owners avoid listing their company on the stock exchange.

“There is a general view that being on the list is unbearably painful,” he told The Epoch Times. “Too many analysts and activists are trying to influence listed companies on governance and social causes.”

“The scrutiny and short-term financial period imposed by investors and stakeholders is a significant burden. Instead, private sectors can continue to do business without distraction.”

Stephen Soukup, author of The Dictatorship of Woke Capital: How Political Correctness Captured Big Business, outlines how Marxist leftist ideas began to steadily penetrate the US corporate sector in the 1970s and gradually evolved and expanded over the decades. Did.

“In the last decade or so, new versions of socially responsible investing, which have adopted ESG, an acronym for environmental, social and corporate governance, have begun to become somewhat aggressive and have become more and more aggressive over time. He told the Epoch Times “Crossroad” program.

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Protesters will be seen during the Extinction Rebellion protest in Brisbane on Thursday, April 22, 2021. (AAP image / Darren England)

“This has become a kind of de facto way to achieve social goals within this community of professional investors who have moved significantly to the left over the last quarter century,” he said.

Investors often seek to change or influence the company through pressure at shareholder meetings and threats to lose further investment in the company. As a result, directors feel compelled to adopt policies to address issues such as gender equality and climate change.

For example, last year, ANZ, one of Australia’s “Big Four”, vowed to end its investment in thermal mines and power plants by 2030 in response to climate change.

In the case of ACSI, it is unclear whether 10% collective ownership of the major ASX200 companies is sufficient to shake executives, especially if it conflicts with the interests of other shareholders.

The move is backed by last week’s climate summit, as major industrialized nations have promised new emission targets to be achieved by 2030.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has avoided setting new goals, saying he is already on track to reach the goals established under the Kyoto Protocol in 2020 and the Paris Agreement in 2030.