Press Release

5 June, 2018

Simplicity Divestment Shows Turning Tide Against Fossil Fuel Industry

350 Aotearoa is congratulating KiwiSaver provider, Simplicity, on their decision to divest from fossil fuels, weapons, tobacco and pornorgaphy, calling it “an outstanding example of people using their power to push institutions like Simplicity to take action on climate change.”

Today Simplicity announced that it will be fully divesting all of its funds from fossil fuel companies, along with other unethical industries, after a two-year long KiwiSaver divestment campaign by 350 Aotearoa.

“Simplicity divesting from fossil fuels aligns with New Zealand’s move away from the industry primarily responsible for climate change. Nobody wants to see their retirement savings being used to wreck the future that they will be retiring into,” said Niamh O’Flynn, Executive Director of 350 Aotearoa.

In 2016, 350 Aotearoa led an open letter to Simplicity CEO, Sam Stubbs, calling for Simplicity to require Vanguard International to add fossil fuels to their list of excluded industries in the new ethical fund specific to New Zealand. Demand for this fund came in the wake of the media scandal that revealed that many mainstream New Zealand funds were invested in munitions, including cluster bombs.

Today’s announcement comes just a week after 350 Aotearoa released an updated version of their KiwiSaver ranking table, ‘Does your KiwiSaver Fund Climate Change?’, which had many members calling for Simplicity to commit to full fossil fuel divestment. 350 Aotearoa will be re-releasing a further updated version of this resource in the light of Simplicity’s announcement.

Last year the large NZ insurer, MAS, committed to becoming fossil fuel free, and the New Zealand SuperFund divested $950M of assets from the fossil fuel industry after a campaign, including an open letter from eleven civil society organisations, representing thousands of New Zealanders.

“Financial risk aside, investing in the fossil fuel industry is a huge reputational risk. Globally investors are waking up to the fact that people expect more ethics, accountability and action on climate change, with funds totalling $6.15 trillion USD divesting from fossil fuels. Simplicity is now the 890th institution to divest globally. The tide is turning against investors who prop up the fossil fuel industry.”