This Aussie super fund will buy up a chunk of the Amazon rainforest when you join – to stop it being destroyed

Aerial image of the damage wrought by the Amazonian fires. (Photo by Victor Moriyama, Getty Images)
  • Australian Ethical has announced it will buy up 5 acres — or around 20,200 square metres — of the Amazon rainforest for every new and referring member to coincide with the global climate strike.
  • To do so, it will partner with Australian organisation HalfCut, which aims to buy and protects endangered forests around the world.
  • It comes after thousands of fires ignited in August, devastating the Amazon. Despite being a prominent issue, deforestation receives only 1.5% of funding to fight climate change.

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As thousands of fires ignited throughout the Amazon rainforest last month, people around the world watched on, as the ‘lungs of the earth’ turned emphysemic.

Most felt powerless to do anything to help. In fact, despite knowing the importance of safeguarding the world’s forests, the issue receives very little funding, according to sustainable superannuation fund Australian Ethical.

“Deforestation is escalating and while fires in the Amazon are drawing attention to the problem, there is still not enough money being invested to protect the world’s forests, despite their capacity to combat the climate crisis,” chief customer officer Allyson Lowbridge said in a release issued to Business Insider Australia.

“Out of the $US256 billion committed globally to mitigating climate change, only 1.5% goes to stopping deforestation, even though forests could help provide as much as a third of the solution.”

On Friday, the same day as people worldwide mobilise for the Global Climate Strike, Australian Ethical has announced it will protect five acres — around 20,200 square metres — of the Peruvian Amazon rainforest for every new and referring member it receives before 3 October.

To do so, Australian Ethical will work with HalfCut, an Australian organisation that buys and protects endangered rainforests globally.

“Half of the world’s forests are already gone and that is an absolute crisis. These forests have huge importance in fighting climate change by acting as carbon sinks to offset the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere,” HalfCut founder James Stanton-Cooke said in the same release.

“We want to empower people to take action on global deforestation by protecting the last remaining tropical rainforests and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with Australian Ethical to take our message to more people.”

With Australian superannuation funds collectively holding around $3 trillion, the opportunity for that money to be invested sustainably is enormous.

READ MORE: If you’re Australian, chances are your bank and super fund are helping make climate change worse – here’s how to find out

It’s also the overwhelming expectation of members. The Responsible Investment Association Australasia has previously found that 9 in 10 Australians expect their super to be invested ethically.

“Australians have realised the power of money to create change and that they don’t have to sacrifice investment performance to protect the planet and have a comfortable retirement,” Lowbridge said.

“We want to help people understand the difference they can make with their money and hope they will join us in this defining movement.”

On Friday, Australian Ethical will join more than 2000 Australian organisations, including the publisher of Business Insider Australia, to march for climate action. The movement appears to be growing.