ABOUT THE REPORT
The United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) entered into force in January 2021. The treaty makes nuclear weapons illegal, just like chemical and biological weapons, cluster munitions, and landmines – but many Australian super funds have not yet divested from companies that profit from nuclear weapons.
In 2021, Quit Nukes teamed up with the Australia Institute to analyse the exposure of key Australian super funds to nuclear weapons companies.
- What do super funds say about nuclear weapons: what are their policies?
- What do super funds actually do: what are their holdings?
- What do super fund members think about nuclear weapons?
We analysed the policies and practices of 22 funds that hold over 80% of all superannuation funds under management and represent over 80% of all superannuation members in Australia (excluding self-managed super funds).
- Most Australian super funds have holdings in nuclear weapons companies.
- Two funds say they exclude nuclear weapons, when in reality the PDS’ fine print indicates percentage materiality considerations and thresholds that allow considerable financing
- Nine funds highlight their exclusion of controversial weapons, but do not include nuclear weapons in the definition, so continue to invest in nuclear weapons companies
- Three funds exclude nuclear weapons from their “socially or environmentally responsible” options only
- Two funds claim to be nuclear weapons-free, but closer inspection reveals they allow producers in countries that are signed up to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), five of which are nuclear armed states, therefore excluding just a few
of the smaller manufacturers
- Members do not want their superannuation to support nuclear weapons companies
- Divestment from nuclear weapons companies is compatible with trustee fiduciary duty as it not expected to have any material impact on super fund returns to members