19th October, 2016
350 Aotearoa has called the NZ Super Fund’s climate focused investment standards that were announced today “underwhelming” due to a lack of clarity around the guidelines and their timeframes.
“These guidelines lack transparency regarding what actions will be taken, have no clear timeframe, and we have no way of knowing the extent of their divestment. That feels like a very underwhelming gesture to address the effects of the fossil fuel industry on millions of people,” said Niamh O’Flynn, Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa.
“Earlier this year New Zealanders were outraged about our money being invested in cluster bombs. New Zealanders want very clear lines in the sand about where our money goes. We care about how our money affects other people and our world. These guidelines are extremely vague, and don’t provide that clarity around concrete climate action that people have called for.”
The NZ Super Fund will implement a four-part strategy of carbon footprint reduction, analysis, engagement and searching for new investment opportunities. The strategy will be applied across the Fund’s entire portfolio.
The NZ Super Fund stated that they would not exclude the fossil fuel industry from their portfolio because “blanket exclusions rule out the possibility of engaging with firms in the sector that may be able to transition, and may have a role to play in transitioning to a low carbon economy.”
“The evidence tells us that shareholder engagement with the fossil fuel industry doesn’t work, and the science tells us that we must leave fossil fuels in the ground,” said O’Flynn. “These guidelines may have been good enough ten years ago, but they do not fit the reality of the world we’re in now. This is not what climate leadership looks like today.”
The Rockefeller Foundation engaged with the fossil fuel industry as shareholders for years with no results, despite their considerable financial and reputational significance. In 2014 the Foundation made the decision to fully divest from the fossil fuel industry because of its impact on the climate.
“New Zealanders hold strongly to our values, and vague lip-service to climate change action won’t cut it. We saw the investment landscape change overnight around munitions investments, and the same is going to have to happen for coal, oil and gas.”
Contact: Niamh O’Flynn