About Is My Super Fund Ethical
If you had $10,000 to invest right now, would you invest in dirty fossil fuel companies that directly contribute to climate change?
Better yet, would you give that money to organisations that sexually abuse children and help cover up cases of violence against women?
What about companies that killed 2 million children?
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Is My Super Fund Ethical helps you find the super funds whose ethical and moral values align with yours.
What is an ethical super fund?
An ethical super fund can be defined as a super fund whose corporate and investment value system aligns with yours. One way to define this value system is to use eight criteria:
1. An ethical super fund should be transparent about its investments
Put simply, it is your retirement savings that you are paying them to manage. You, therefore, have the right to know how they are investing it. Honesty and transparency are cornerstone values of an ethical company and an ethical management team.
Therefore, an ethical super fund should be honest and transparent about where your retirement savings are being invested.
2. An ethical super fund should NOT invest in fossil fuel companies.
In 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a study that said that if we don’t reduce rising temperatures starting now, by the year 2030, humankind would face a catastrophic end. The future would include rising sea levels that could displace 10 million people, droughts and brutal storms resulting in famine, disease, and the biggest refugee crisis known to man.
Therefore, an ethical super fund should not support and fund the fossil fuel industry that directly causes rising temperatures and climate change.
3. An ethical super fund should NOT invest in weapons and arms manufacturers.
The Syrian refugee crisis is the largest human displacement crisis of our time. From a pre-war population of 22 million, the UN identified 13.5 million as requiring humanitarian assistance.
Of the 5 million Syrian refugees outside the country, there are 1 million in Europe and a staggering 3.5 million in Turkey alone.
In the last 10 years, wars have killed 2 million children, disabled 5 million children, rendered 12 million children homeless, with more than 1 million orphaned or separated from their parents and some 10 million psychologically traumatised (source).
Therefore, an ethical super fund should fund the industry that promotes the death of children and the displacement of millions of people.
4. An ethical super fund should NOT invest in religious organisations.
In the last decade alone, religious organisations have:
- sexually abused over 10,000 children – some as young as 3 years old,
- covered up cases of rape and violence against women,
- supported and encouraged child marriage in the USA,
- discriminated against gay school children,
- opposed efforts to control climate change,
- opposed programmes to reduce bullying in schools,
- not paid taxes, which if they did, could end global poverty,
- received public funding to teach creationism as science in schools,
- killed more than 200,000 people in terrorist attacks globally, and
- promoted hate and discrimination against the LGBTQI community
None of these acts and practices can be counted as being ethical.
Therefore, an ethical super fund should not fund organisations that promote violence and discrimination against women, children and the LGBTQI community.
5. An ethical super fund should NOT invest in tobacco companies.
More than 50 people die every day in Australia from tobacco-related causes. The need for people to smoke comes from the addictive nature of one of its ingredients, nicotine. This is why, despite knowing the realities of tobacco and nicotine-addiction, most people find is incredibly difficult to quit.
Therefore, an ethical super fund should not fund companies that encourage addictive behaviour that result in death.
6. An ethical super fund should NOT invest in companies that profit from animal abuse and animal cruelty.
Cosmetic companies force animals to undergo experiments that is likely to cause them pain, suffering, distress and lasting harm. They do this so that they can legally protect themselves against negative effects of their cosmetics on humans.
There are perfectly viable alternatives to animal testing, so companies that continue animal testing are doing it for no reason other than apathy.
Meat farming is the leading cause of rising global temperatures. Animal agriculture has caused the loss of 50% of animal species and resulted in livestock accounting for 60% of mammals on the planet. At this rate the largest land animal, outside of those in zoos, will be cows.
Overfishing directly contributes to climate change by changing the ecological balance of the world’s oceans. In addition, large-scale commercial fishing kills dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and seabirds that become hooked or entangled in fishing gear, in what is known as “bycatch”.
An estimated 50 million sharks are killed every year as bycatch around the world. Australia accounts for 400-600 dead dolphins, whales, turtles and other mammals every year.
Therefore, an ethical super fund should fund companies that encourage profit from animal cruelty.
7. An ethical super fund should be clear about its pricing structure and not cost more than 1% of the portfolio.
This one’s a tricky one because there is no scientific basis for a 1% pricing.
But there is scientific evidence to demonstrate that banks use psychological tactics to pressure you buy their products and services. And there is scientific evidence that shows that less than 1 in a 1000 people read the fine print.
Having a clear pricing structure is a natural extension of the need to be honest and transparent. And the 1% is what I deem to be fair.
Therefore, an ethical super fund should be clear about its pricing structure and does not cost more than 1% of the value of the portfolio.
8. An ethical super fund should invest in renewable energy companies.
Renewable energy is the most important solution to climate change and must be encouraged if we have to have a shred of hope of avoiding the catastrophe that awaits us in 2040.
Renewable energy created half a million jobs in 2017 bringing the total number of people employed by renewable energy to 10 million.
While China and India lead the world in renewable energy production growth, there are 14,820 full-time jobs in renewable energy production in Australia. Of these, rooftop solar-related jobs lead in Queensland, while wind projects were responsible for job creation in NSW and South Australia.
Therefore, an ethical super fund should invest in companies working in the renewable energy sector.
If a super fund meets six of the eight criteria, it is deemed to be an ethical super fund.
If there is no publicly available information for a super fund, it would fail all eight criteria and therefore would not be considered an ethical super fund.
About Me: Prashant Rajkhowa
I worked as a TV journalist for a business news channel covering media, entertainment, personal tech, gaming and startups.
That’s when I got interested in personal finance.
I moved on to working as a Product Manager working on fintech apps.
I find the superannuation industry fascinating because of what it is – An opaque system where you’re expected to put in 10% of your salary every year and not ask any questions.
And then pay the fat cats to do as they please with my money, and not ask questions.
And all of this is fascinatingly legal.
The goal of this site is simple: Can I work through the quagmire that is the superannuation industry to find an ethical super fund that I would want to move my retirement savings to?