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Vote with your super

You don’t need me to tell you how bad the bushfire crisis is in Australia. Maybe you’ve donated, maybe you’ve provided food, supplies or shelter. Maybe you’re wondering what, or what more you could do to help out during this crisis.

Comedian Celeste Barber has used her platform to raise tens of millions to help firefighters (go Celeste!). We don’t all have the social media reach of Celeste Barber, but we all have a superannuation account.

What does my super have to do with the bushfire crisis?

You’re invested in a bunch of different assets, like shares, through your super. Whether you’ve actively chosen these assets, or are just in a default fund, you’ve got skin in the game when it comes to the Australian economy,

Australian bushfire smoke in New Zealand
A recent picture of Australian bushfire smoke taken from Northland in New Zealand. Photo credit Zoe Baker.

By making a choice to divest from the likes of fossil fuels and putting your money into more ethical options, you’re choosing to support a more sustainable future for this country. According to the Responsible Investment Association of Australasia (RIAA), it’s a strategy that has seen $2 billion stripped from the tobacco industry thanks to divestment from super funds over the past five years.

Look, the next federal election in Australia is scheduled to happen in 2022 – though who knows what may happen to Scott Morrison in the short term. The Government has known for a long time that this crisis was coming, and they did nothing. The Garnaut Review, commissioned by Kevin Rudd (while in Opposition) was released in September 2008 and it clearly predicts exactly where we find ourselves today.

Garnaut Review p. 118

So, if you’re angry about what’s happening to this country and want to do SOMETHING, changing what you invest in within your super IS something.

Where do I start?

There are entire super funds that are all about responsible investing. A quick Google search will reveal them. They cut out everything, not just fossil fuels and tobacco but also weapons, live exports, detention camps, gambling and other nasty stuff. You can either choose to switch to one of these or you can choose the responsible investment option within the fund you’re already with. The RIAA has an excellent online tool that can help you find a fund or an investment option that aligns with your values.

This is by no means me telling you what to do, it’s just something I want to draw your attention to. Obviously, I suggest you do your own research first. I’ve happily switched to the sustainable option offered by my super fund, and it’s performed well – better than all the other investment options in fact.

Changing what you invest in through super is something you can do now – not just for your future, but the future of this country.

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