2021 REPORT

THE CASE FOR AUSTRALIAN SUPERANNUATION FUNDS TO BE NUCLEAR WEAPONS FREE

The Australia Institute and Quit Nukes have assessed the policy and practice of Australia’s most important super funds.

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. 

We asked:

  • 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).

KEY FINDINGS

  • Most Australian super funds have holdings in nuclear weapons producers 
  • 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
Strong returns from ethical funds show that divesting from nuclear weapons companies is not just the right thing to do - it is also the financially sound thing to do.
Ben Oquist
Executive Director, The Australia Institute

READ THE REPORT

Permission is granted for non-commercial  reproduction, copying, distribution, and transmission of this report or parts thereof so long as full credit is given to Quit Nukes and the Australia Institute, the text is not altered, transformed, or built upon; and for any reuse or distribution, these terms are made clear to others.

To cite this report: The Australia Institute and Quit Nukes (2021) Quit Nukes: The Case for Australian Superannuation Funds to be Nuclear Weapons Free

HAS YOUR FUND
QUIT NUKES?

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).

Click on your fund to read a summary of our findings. 

Want to know how your fund’s policy compares? 

 

TAKE ACTION : ASK YOUR SUPER FUND TO QUIT NUKES

Most Australians don’t want their super fund to invest in nuclear weapons companies, but many funds continue to manage holdings in these companies –  even funds that have policies to exclude illegal or controversial weapons.

Our latest report shows that funds can divest from nuclear weapons companies with negligible impact on returns to members. 

That’s good for members, good for funds, and good for the future of the planet. 

If you’re a member of a fund that continues to invest in the world’s worst weapons – take action today, and ask your fund to quit nukes. 

Looking for a nuclear weapon free super fund?

Visit the Quit Nukes Honour Roll to see the list of funds with outstanding policies and practices on nuclear weapons. 

We’ve made it easy for members to ask their funds to Quit Nukes.
 Just use the buttons below to send a message straight to the decision-makers at your fund.
Send THE funds who have decided to quit nukes a congratulatory note for doing the right thing.
JUST use the buttons below to send a message of thanks.