AustralianSuper sets ambitious net zero emissions by 2050 goal as the sector shifts.

Australia’s largest superannuation fund has joined other first movers in setting a net zero by 2050 emissions target across its investment portfolio.

AustralianSuper is the fifth Australian super fund this year to make a net zero commitment across its investment portfolio, marking a significant shift in the sector. In November 2020 the fund announced it would aim to achieve a net zero position ‘through direct company engagement and by working with other investors through initiatives like Climate Action 100+, the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative and Climate League 2030.’

The Net Zero Momentum Tracker has assessed the AustralianSuper commitment as ‘fully aligned’ when measured against the goals of the Paris Agreement. The fund joins HESTA, Rest, Cbus and UniSuper which the Momentum Tracker already assessed as being ‘fully aligned’. The Momentum Tracker is a ClimateWorks and Monash Sustainable Development Institute joint initiative to assess organisational climate commitments against the global ambition to limit temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius.

Our rating takes into account AustralianSuper’s indication of a net zero transition plan outlining how this target will be achieved. The fund has stated it will engage with companies and participate in collaborative initiatives to ensure businesses they invest in transition their operations and join the net zero pathway. AustralianSuper states it will require all companies in their portfolio to incorporate the transition to net zero by 2050 into their strategies. The fund also plans for its investments in renewables to increase over time and to keep measuring and reporting climate-related metrics. More detail from the fund about the transition pathway and short to medium-term portfolio emissions targets would add further clarity, as would more more detail on how the super fund plans to manage its investments in companies that do not intend to engage in the transition to net zero by 2050.

Highlights

  • Net zero 2050 carbon emissions target on AustralianSuper’s investment portfolio
  • Net zero transition plan detailing how this target will be achieved
  • Aim to achieve a net zero position through direct company engagement and by working with other investors through initiatives like Climate Action (CA) 100+, the Australian Industry Energy Transitions Initiative and Climate League 2030
  • Requires all companies in their portfolio to incorporate the transition to net zero by 2050 into their strategies

How we assess momentum to net zero:

Fully aligned: Net zero by 2050 target for all material emissions.

Closely aligned: Net zero by 2050 target for most, but not all material emissions.

Aligned aspiration/pathway: Net zero by 2050 aspiration, or an aligned interim target.

Partially aligned: Net zero by 2050 target for a small proportion of emissions.

Not aligned: Undertaking emissions reduction activities, but these are not sufficient to reach net zero by 2050.

No target: No emissions targets or activities have been disclosed.

Learn more about our assessment methodology

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