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How to help the planet while you sleep

Growing consumer awareness and increased pressure from shareholders means a shift in investment behaviour, from international companies to Australian super funds.

The global trend toward impactful investing is incontrovertible and we’re consciously in the mix helping point consumers in the right direction. Driven by a rapidly changing market and a surge in populist sentiment, what used to be on the fringes of investing is now moving more and more mainstream. At the start of 2018, global sustainable investment reached $30.7 trillion across Europe, United States Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, a 34 percent increase in two years. 

If Greta Thunburg and her #climatestrike, coupled with her dressing down of the world leaders yeslterday at the United Nations General Assembly wasn’t a marker for you in society’s shift to the greatest of good….click out of this blog…..NOW!

The New York Times recently reported on top CEO’s of global companies such as Pepsi and Apple who are redefining the role of business within today’s increasingly sceptical society. They issued a statement “While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders …We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.” This hugely influential group of 200 chief executives have stated that they must also invest in their employees, protect the environment and deal fairly and ethically with their suppliers.

READ: Shareholder Value Is No Longer Everything, Top C.E.O.s Say (New York Times)

KLP, Norway’s largest pension fund, is pressuring investors, banks and agribusinesses operating in Brazil to take action on the ongoing fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest.

READ: Amazon fires: Norway’s largest pension fund wants action from companies, investors linked to Brazilian ag trade (Market Watch)

Back in Australia, evidence suggests that share funds managed “responsibly” – that is those investing using environmental, social and government (ESG) factors – have beaten the average returns of mainstream share funds over one, three, five and 10 years, with investors reporting a compounded growth rate of 13% annually.

“The hurdle that ethical funds have to overcome is the belief that, because of the sectors they invest in and the sectors they divert their investment away from, their returns on investment are ultimately lower than those who swallow their conscience and side with the super fund boasting higher investment returns. But, as has been shown, the renewables sector is growing rapidly, and as investment increases in ethical sectors of the economy, the argument that they do not perform will only get weaker. We are telling great stories, delivering to audiences and creating new customers. It’s a delight.”

Clive Burcham (CEO & Founder, The Conscience Organisation)

The reality is contrary to popular opinion: the average Australian with a super balance of $100,000 is over $8,200 worse off because of their super fund’s investment in fossil fuel companies over the previous 5 years.

Christian Super is a world leader in impact investing. Their investment options go beyond purely avoiding investment in unethical sectors and businesses. Instead, they actively invest in companies that work to reverse the harmful effects that unethical companies have on society and the environment.  

Christian Super works within the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) guidelines and is doing so while achieving profits on their investment. They currently have 28,000 members and more than $1.6 billion in funds under its management.

Cast your eye across recent news cycles and you will find some concerning global trends relating to the governance and cultural practices of some of the world’s largest financial services companies; banks charging fees for no service, planners taking fees from dead people, and staff false witnessing documents. It paints a dire picture. The major players in the banking, superannuation and financial services industries are being brought to heel.

Unscrupulous operation of financial institutions both here and abroad have brought widespread public condemnation and calls for sweeping changes in business practices and attitudes towards customers. The pursuit of short-term profit at the expense of honesty was at the core of a recent Australian Royal Commission’s findings into the Banking, Superannuation and Finance sectors. In short … the greed that leaders like Bernie Sanders, and Jacinda Arden talk strongly about.

Our investments need to meet our changing expectations as a society – we can’t cover our eyes when people’s welfare is directly challenged by the actions of business.

The community’s expectations around how society can engage in fair, equitable and sustainable investment practices have paved the way for the emergence and popularity of impact investment. In the case of Christian Super, social impact investments finance social services and infrastructure. The way they invest also falls in line with values put forward by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which is helping solve some of the world’s most prominent problems.

We, as an organisation that believes in projects with Conscience, have commenced this project with a broad strategic plan to raise awareness of Christian Super’s unique position in the marketplace. The communication guidelines outlined in the strategic plan will inform the creation of new content as we adapt it to the evolving nature of the project, based on audience engagement. We have been working on the optimisation of social media activity and the targeting of audiences ensuring continuity and fitful purpose in the delivery of future strategy and creative.

Australia has a timely, meaningful and sustained contribution to make in the global push to develop sustainable business practices and ethical living models. And this contribution can be made through an individual’s super fund.

As other super and investment funds continue to gamble recklessly with their members hard earned saving, without conscience or care, Christian Super will emerge as one of the leaders in ethical super investment and a pioneer of impact investment. Christian Super is ensured a sturdy foothold in this growing market and we’re excited to be a part of it.

With the future livelihood of society and the environment at stake, everyone has a responsibility to act ethically with their time and money to make significant steps in the right direction.  Superannuation funds like Christian Super give people the opportunity to make a positive impact with their retirement savings.

And finally, a big shout out to the people at Future Super who just ran their not business as usual campaign. It’s one of our most favourite. Hat Tip to you and the team.    

READ: Our Commitment (Business Roundtable)