About

About Super Switch

Super Switch is about using our collective power as members of super funds to shift investment away from the dirty fossil fuel industry.

If your super fund invests in fossil fuels, then your retirement savings are being used to fund activities that cause climate change.

Super Switch allows you to see which super funds are exposed to companies that are part of the coal, oil and gas sectors. We also make contacting funds easy, so you can learn more about funds’ positions on fossil fuel investments.

If you find your fund’s investments don’t match up with your values, use your power as a member to call on them to divest from fossil fuels for the sake of our climate and environment.

The Issue

The world is rapidly running out of time to act on climate change. At the 2015 Paris climate talks, 195 nations agreed to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, effectively giving the world an extremely limited carbon budget to operate within.

The potential carbon emissions currently held in global fossil fuel reserves would blow this budget five times over, meaning that around 80% of the world’s known coal, oil and gas must remain in the ground if we can realistically hope to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The consequences for the fossil fuel industry and broader economy are clear – we need a rapid and comprehensive change to the way energy is produced and consumed, redirecting finance and investment away from fossil fuels and into renewables. Some analysts have recognised the financial risks posed by a ‘carbon bubble’, which is the notion that fossil fuel assets stand to become stranded in a carbon-constrained economy:

“As the world increasingly limits carbon emissions, and moves to alternative energy sources, investments in fossil fuels may take a huge hit.” – Paul Fisher, Bank of England Prudential Regulatory Authority

“Sooner rather than later, financial regulators must address the systemic risk associated with carbon-intensive activities in their economies.” – Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank

In addition to driving climate change, fossil fuels also pose a raft of immediate local environmental impacts. Critical habitat and biodiversity are being lost as forests are replaced with coal mines. The construction of major coal and gas ports is damaging iconic natural sites such as the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. And unacceptable risks are being posed by oil companies as they move into deeper water and more environmentally risky environments. We have every reason to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels.

What Super Funds Need to Do

For funds exposed to fossil fuels, we propose a four-step process to limit fossil fuel exposure:

  1. Disclose the value of fossil fuel exposed assets to their members and explain to members their plan to manage climate risk.
  2. Divest from pure play fossil fuel companies.
  3. Invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  4. Engage with diversified companies and companies providing critical support to the sector (e.g. engineering and finance). Engagement must be carried out in a manner that ensures satisfactory change is delivered by the company or punitive action is taken by the fund.

Super Switch is not:

Super Switch is here to help you see which funds are exposed to companies that are part of the coal, oil and gas sectors. Please note the following before making any decisions.

  • Super Switch is not a rating system. Super Switch researches and publishes super funds’ exposure to fossil fuels. While funds can be contrasted in terms of their fossil fuel and non-fossil fuel exposure, we do not apply subjective ratings on top of the information we provide.
  • Super Switch is not a commercial product. Super Switch is for information and environmental advocacy only and does not generate income for its owners. There is no commercial incentive to prioritise any fund over another.
  • Super Switch is not financial advice. Super Switch encourages super funds to move away from investment in the fossil fuel industry on moral and environmental grounds, and provides several actions people can take to help reach this goal. While there are a growing number of voices within the finance industry who argue for financial motivated fossil fuel divestment, we are not privileged to offer this advice or provide any other information on the financial aspects of a super fund’s performance.