More Media Pressure On The Fossil Fuel Industry

Superannuation and fossil fuels

An Australian superannuation fund takes out a full page print ad to push fossil fuel-free super, while a major media outlet says it will no longer take ad cash from fossil fuel companies.

Superannuation can be a very confusing thing and for the climate-conscious poses an ethical dilemma – where funds invest. Among the funds offering an “ethical” approach is Future Super. It excludes investments in companies engaged in activities such as mining, burning or extracting fossil fuels and those that provide specific and significant services to the fossil fuel industry. Its investment activity includes renewable energy, recycling and resource conservation.

Last week, Future Super approached its members, stating it was taking out a full newspaper advertisement that would say: “We’re out of fossil fuels”. The Future Super team wanted a wall of member names printed behind it. Thousands gave their permission and below was the resulting ad (click for a larger view) published in The Age that highlights the opportunity for Australia’s $2.9 trillion in super to become a pretty hefty lever for positive change.

Future Super and fossil fuelsDisclosure: I’m a Future Super member and my name appears in the ad. Please don’t waste your time looking for it, I’m sure you have much more interesting and useful things to do :).

Future Super isn’t the only show in town when it comes to ethical funds and hopefully the ad gets more Australians thinking on the issue. If you’re concerned about how your super is invested, this article from Choice could be a good place to start learning more about ethical super, but note that it hasn’t been updated for a few years.

The Guardian Drops Fossil Fuel Advertising

The Guardian is a British daily newspaper that was founded in 1821 as The Manchester Guardian. These days it has a significant web presence (including an Australian edition) and does a lot of reporting on climate change and renewable energy. It’s had its tough times but is getting by; although that could be just a little more challenging now.

On Wednesday, the Guardian announced it will no longer accept advertising from oil and gas companies, saying it will be the first major global news organisation to put an outright ban in place on taking cash from companies that extract fossil fuels (it doesn’t mention if this also applies to coal). Effective immediately, the ban will apply to all the Guardian’s websites and apps, and the Guardian, Observer and Guardian Weekly print editions.

In its announcement, the Guardian highlighted the practice of some fossil fuel companies taking out ads to promote relatively small investments in renewable energy while continuing generate the vast majority of their revenue from fossil fuel extraction.

Other climate change related efforts by the Guardian include shifting the investment portfolio of the fund that supports it to exclude fossil fuel investments. In October last year it also pledged to reduce the Guardian’s emissions to net zero by 2030.

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