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Grace Palos

Chief Marketing Officer of Future Super

Future Super is an organisation that encourages Australians to take climate action with their super. The organisation is on a mission to show Australians the power their super has to build the foundation for a planet worth retiring to. In 2019, they diverted 62,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide alone and have moved over $658 million out of fossil fuels and into climate solutions.

Read Future Super’s inspiring story from our discussion with Grace, Future Super's Chief Marketing Officer, here.

Can you tell us a bit about Future Super? 

Future Super is a super fund that encourages people to take climate action with their super. Money is power, and at $3 trillion, the super industry has the ability to create a sustainable future without waiting on politics. We’re proving that consumers can both get better returns and create a better future for our planet through divesting from fossil fuels and investing in clean energy.

Why is Future Super taking climate action?

The superannuation industry is a $3 trillion industry. It represents the third-largest pool of capital Australians have. If 7.7 percent of this money was put into renewable energy, our transition to clean energy would be completely funded by 2030.

We’re on a mission to show Australians the power their super has to build the foundation for a planet worth retiring into.

Can you share your commitments to climate action?

To name just a few:

  • In 2019 alone, Future Super members collectively abated and avoided just over 62,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of:
    • Taking about 27,000 cars off the road.
    • Over 35,000 people holidaying locally rather than London and back via Singapore.
    • Nearly 60,000 people deciding to eat a plant-based diet.
  • We’re also helping Australians move their super out of fossil fuels and into climate solutions. As of June 30 this year, Future Super members have moved $658,575,436 of their super dollars toward building a future worth retiring into. For perspective, that's just over Beyonce's net worth.
  • In 2019, as shareholders, we voted on behalf of the Future Super Group to advance the ethical and environmental management of companies we invest in. We voted on 29 resolutions covering topics like: improving equity for women and minorities; setting more ambitious emissions or plastic reduction targets; and increasing transparency around the influence of business lobbying on politics.
  • Our investment portfolio doesn't include BP or Rio Tinto (unlike many super funds) — and we couldn't be happier, especially following the proposed and actual destruction of Aboriginal sacred sites in the Pilbara.

Is there a project Future Super is currently working on that you are excited about?

We’re exposed to the effects of climate change in our daily lives, but most people don’t understand the link between fossil fuels and superannuation. Our daily work is to show people the impact their super investments can have on climate change and building a future that’s worth retiring into.

What real-world opportunities have you uncovered from taking climate action today?

Not Business as Usual was a campaign that we led in solidarity with the school students across the world demanding for change at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

It’s not business as usual for the world's children to skip school to get adults to pay attention to the climate crisis, nor is it business as usual for citizens to strike to get governments to make meaningful commitments to climate action.

So, in September 2019, we started an alliance of companies publicly pledging to allow their employees to protest on the 20th September without fear of retribution. More than 6,000 businesses pledged to be part of the alliance, including leading B-Corps, Atlassian, Wikipedia and Domain. More than 150,000 Aussie employees became part of the 3 million people worldwide who marched in support of climate action.

What action would you like to see Australia take on climate change?

The Australian Government currently hands out billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded subsidies to corporations. The fossil fuel industry receives some of the biggest subsidies. $12 billion went to coal, oil and gas companies last year.

Now is the time for the Australian government to start divesting from the fossil fuel industry and investing those subsidies back into its people to safeguard our communities and planet. By divesting from climate-damaging industries and investing ethically, we can create a more sustainable and prosperous planet.

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