DivestFossilFuels pledges burst through 3billion with Australian Ethical and Hunter Hall sign on
Tuesday, 1 March 2016
Australian Ethical and Hunter Hall Investment Management have joined a host of Australian Foundations, Philanthropists and Super Funds from across the country pushing the pledges to the DivestFossilFuels project to in excess of AUD$3.1billion.
“The global divestment movement is growing apace and here in Australia we are seeing almost daily indications of its growing power and influence, it is increasingly clear that anyone, involved in any form of financial or investment activity, simply cannot ignore it - they do so at their peril,” Dr John McKinnon, Climate Advocacy Association said.
“When people are really serious and truly care about an issue, they will move their money to accord with their values and on divestment, moving their money they are.
“In just over a year the concept behind DivestFossilFuels in Australia has grown exponentially. $3.1billion is an extremely serious rejection of the fossil fuel industry and endorsement of the need for a low carbon future, with appropriate investment in the industries of the future, not of the past,” said McKinnon.
Ross Knowles and Dr John McKinnon established the Climate Advocacy Association to create DivestFossilFuels a platform for Australian philanthropists, Asset Managers, Universities, Super Funds, faith-based organisations and others to pledge to divest their shares and funds from “all direct investment in the prospecting, extraction, transport, sale and the burning of fossil fuels and maintain our investments as fossil fuel free.”
“We are thrilled to have such market leaders as Australian Ethical and Hunter Hall Investment Management, with a proven track record in this area, join the DivestFossilFuels project,” Dr McKinnon said.
“Australian Ethical is committed to a clean energy future, and achieving this relies on collaboration across the financial, corporate, government and community sectors. By pledging our $1.4 billion funds under management to the DivestFossilFuels campaign, we are part of a rapidly growing movement of companies that are taking a meaningful, public stand on this issue,” said Australian Ethical Managing Director Phil Vernon.
“Australian Ethical has never invested in coal or oil. We led divestment from the unconventional gas sector in 2011, and in 2015 we made the decision to exit our remaining limited exposure to conventional gas.”
“However, the great thing about the divest invest pledge is that it’s not just about avoiding the negative (moving money out of fossil fuels) - even more importantly is about mobilising capital to clean technology,” he said.
“The global warming challenge is extremely urgent, and emissions must be reduced dramatically, without delay. The urgency of addressing climate change also requires rapid adoption of renewable energy. There is no longer the option of a slow transition, or to transition to clean energy via lower-emissions fossil fuels. The time for clean energy is now.
“The investments we make at Australian Ethical, are part of the solution, not part of the problem. We invest in solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, and hydro renewable energy companies. We also invest heavily in energy efficiency because the efficient use of power is just as important as the supply of clean energy,” said Mr Vernon
Hunter Hall Investment Management stated: "we know from climate science that burning fossil fuels is having a powerful and accelerating impact on climate and the environment.”
“For this reason, we have always been underweight the fossil fuel sector. But the decision to end fossil fuel investments outright enables Hunter Hall to focus on a future with new opportunities,” they said.
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Dr John McKinnon (Spokesperson): John began his career in the finance industry. After holding several positions in funds management, asset consulting and superannuation consulting, John co-founded the Australian office of Grantham Mayo van Otterloo LLC in 1995. For the subsequent ten years he was responsible for GMOA’s Australian equity investments, which grew to approximately AUD 6 billion. Post 1997, John was the senior partner of the business, which, when he left in 2005, had over $10b in total funds under management, 23 staff, and revenues in excess of $40m.
Ross Knowles: Ross is Chairman of Ethinvest and was its co-founder in 1989. He is also Chairman of its subsidiary, Australian Impact Investments. He was the founding co-president of the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia, and was editor of the book Ethical Investment (CHOICE Books 1997). Ross is a keen environmentalist and has played a part in the protection of some significant Australian wilderness areas including Washpool National Park on the northern ranges of NSW and Yengo National Park north of Sydney.
About Australian Ethical: Australian Ethical is a fund manager with a difference – investing money in a way that aims to provide financial security for investors and positive, sustainable change for society and the environment.
The Australian Ethical Charter screens investments, and decides whether they are ethical based on 23 positive and negative elements. Australian Ethical was incorporated in 1986, listed on the ASX in 2002 and has more than $1 billion in funds under management across superannuation and managed funds.
Hunter Hall Investment Management is a specialist global and Australian equity investment manager and one of Australia’s largest dedicated ethical investment managers. We aim to create wealth for investors over time through careful and responsible investment in undervalued companies.
Formed in 1993, Hunter Hall is a funds management business built on superior long term investment performance with an ethical investment overlay. Hunter Hall's objective is to provide investors with superior returns over the medium to long term by investing in stocks that are in Hunter Hall's opinion undervalued. These are often undiscovered, under researched and out of favour companies.