The first major Australian industry superannuation fund advised on Friday they were restricting thermal coal investment due to the growing risk of 'unburnable carbon' with the growing global push to limit global warming.
HESTA, the super fund for employees in health and community services, announced a progressive implementation of a restriction on investments in thermal coal, across all it's funds, not just it's ethical fund. HESTA has $29 billion under funds management with 785,000 members and 155,000 employers.
Anne-Marie Corboy, HESTA Chief Executive Officer, said that this was an increasing restriction as part of the Fund’s ongoing response to the increasing impact of climate change on its long-term investments. In a media statement she commented:
“This ‘unburnable carbon’ is likely to become an increasing risk in the medium to long term, especially for companies heavily invested in thermal coal, or those seeking to develop new long-term assets.
“HESTA is of the view that, new or expanded thermal coal assets face the highest risk of becoming stranded before the end of their useful life.
“It is not prudent, nor in the long-term interest of members, to invest in the expansion of these assets.
“The push to limit the impact of global warming requires economies to move to a lower-carbon intensive future and investors have an important role to play in this transition.
“HESTA believes that further investment in developing new, or expanding existing, thermal coal reserves is inconsistent with this imperative to reduce carbon emissions.”