350 Aotearoa Co-Director Erica Finnie said “New Zealanders should not be funding the climate crisis through levies to a public fund that is concerned with keeping citizens safe and healthy. Public money should be invested in the public good, not in fossil fuel companies that are directly responsible for the majority of global emissions and are causing climate change.”1
ACC aims to reduce the carbon intensity of the investment team’s global equity portfolio by at least 50% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels, as well as reducing its own corporate emissions at a 60% reduction in emissions by 2025 from 2019 levels.2
“ACC’s twofold approach to reduce corporate emissions alongside carbon-intensive investments is a great way to recognise the impact of its business model. Too many companies, namely our major Australian-owned banks in Aotearoa, focus on reducing corporate emissions that are a drop in the ocean compared with impacts of lending and investing billions of dollars to fossil fuel companies.” In 2019, ACC had nearly $1 billion invested in oil and gas production.
“350 Aotearoa calls for ACC to align with the new standard for default Kiwisaver funds that were announced in March this year, which sets a mandate for funds to exclude investments in fossil fuels by 2021.” 350 Aotearoa mobilised thousands of New Zealanders to call on the government to divest default Kiwisavers from fossil fuels through an open letter to Ministers and submitting on the proposed changes. Finnie described the announcement in March as “a win for citizens over corporate interests.”
“New Zealanders need our public funds like ACC and Superfund, and savings for our futures in Kiwisaver funds and our bank accounts, to set us on course towards a healthy, sustainable and liveable future. 350 Aotearoa will push for ACC to take a stronger stand and ensure not a cent more of our money goes toward fueling the climate crisis.”
The call for ACC to divest from fossil fuels fits with new global trends in the finance sector. Over 1237 institutions worth USD $14 trillion have now committed to policies black-listing coal, oil and gas companies.3 These include sovereign wealth funds, banks, global asset managers and insurance companies, cities, pension funds, health care organizations, universities, faith groups and foundations.
Finnie said “Fossil fuel companies are no longer morally acceptable or financially sensible to invest in. If ACC is serious in its support of New Zealand’s commitment to limit average temperature rise to less than 1.5°C, it must rapidly transition away from, and divest from fossil fuels that have no future in a low carbon future.”