Former leader of Australian advocacy group GetUp and Australian Greens candidate Simon Sheikh is now in funds management.
Business Insider reported Sheikh’s career change in July but today his superannuation fund Future Super has officially launched.
Sheikh has poured about $50,000 of his own super into the fund, while the company’s executive director of operations, Adam Verwey, has tipped in $55,000.
The diversified fund will exclude fossil fuel investments from its portfolio with Sheikh arguing superannuation investments shouldn’t contribute to climate change or environmental degradation.
“Future Super gives Australians the option to move their superannuation savings away from fossil fuels and into socially responsible investments, to help build a world worth retiring in,” Sheikh said.
“The idea for Future Super stemmed from conversations with the many Australians who are increasingly frustrated by our government’s inaction on climate change.
“Future Super was created to give those Australians the opportunity to put their savings to work as part of the solution rather than contributing to the problem.”
Pointing to a research report released by The Australia Institute, Sheikh said a quarter of Australians are willing to move their super into a fund which doesn’t invest in coal or coal seam gas, estimating that potential investment pool is worth up to $247 billion.
“We think that will be divided up into a whole range of providers,” he said.
“We also expect there will be other fossil fuel free funds.
“In the coming years we think we can move more than a billion dollars out of existing super funds.
“Together we have the power to disrupt business-as-usual – to send a message to the big end of town that they must take climate risks seriously when they’re managing our money.”
The fund, which has been eight months in the making, will invest in property and fixed interest products and will run both positive and negative tests to determine other options.
“We’re in search of companies that look after people and the planet,” Sheikh said.
“Those types of companies actually perform better in the longer term.”
Future Super will also avoid investments in armaments, tobacco and gambling in favour of health care, renewable energy and recycling options as well as government bond products which aren’t being used to expand the mining sector, Verwey told Business Insider.
Also involved in the super fund is former JP Morgan VP Jemma Green and founder of Australian Ethical Investments James Their.