Corporate super fund sets net zero target

A major corporate superannuation fund has joined the ranks of super funds announcing plans to achieve net zero greenhouse carbon emissions by 2050.

The $22 billion corporate fund has announced goals that will reduce current greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030, in line with the fund's objective of helping to provide a secure financial future for members, said Chris Davies, TelstraSuper CEO.

"Climate change is a systemic risk that needs to be pro-actively measured and managed to help provide a secure future for our current and future members," Davies said. "As a large investor, we can influence what the future looks like while proactively managing risk in our portfolios, and we take that very seriously."

Over the next 12 months, TelstraSuper has flagged steps that it will take including targeting specific investments in low carbon opportunities, reviewing passive listed equity benchmarks, measuring baseline emissions and disclosing to members the first quantitative report of the listed equities greenhouse gas emissions, and enhancing guidelines for external manager assessment and mandates to incorporate climate change expectations and climate metrics

As part of the plan, the fund will look to boost its investment in opportunities that are expected to do well from the transition to a net zero emissions world, Davies said.

"We already invest in a range of clean energy infrastructure such as wind and solar electricity generators around the world," Davies said. "We're looking to build on this and will be targeting specific investments in low carbon opportunities."

TelstraSuper has also commenced measuring its organisational greenhouse gas footprint, in line with international and Australian best practice accounting standards.

"We are committed to being part of the solution to climate change so will reduce emissions where possible and offset the remainder of our footprint to become carbon neutral," Davies said. "We've recently sought certification under the Australian Government's Climate Active program and are awaiting the outcome."

Telstra has a defined Climate Change Plan and is a member of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) as well as the Climate Action 100+ initiative. Recently, Climate Action 100+ released its first benchmark of the targeted companies with which its members are engaging. The benchmark report noted that the world's largest greenhouse gas emitters have a long way to go on delivering on net-zero emissions promises.

A number of superannuation funds have set net zero targets, including the $12.8 billion NGS Super, which has set a target of carbon neutrality by 2030.

Read more: TelstraSuperChris DaviesNGS Super