In recent years there has been a greater increase in awareness about sustainability than there has been in the last few decades combined. No longer is sustainability considered a matter only for millennials and activists, now it has become everyone’s responsibility.
Sustainability means long-term thinking about how we better manage doing business and creating the momentum to encourage more and more people to opt into the future we’re working to create, invest in social and economic spending, and plan for the future. This requires vision and leadership, and above all, citizen engagement.
Furthermore, sustainable investing is also about investing in progress, and recognising that companies are solving the world’s biggest challenges.
The 2018 Australian energy consumption statistics showed an increase of 1.1%1, and while overall it’s gone up, the good news is Australia is now using around 20% less energy per person than at the start of this century. What’s more, this positive impact can be extended by making investment choices in superannuation that influence sustainability.
In the evolving world of investing, sustainability has well and truly arrived and is making a big impact. An impact that has been felt strongly among nine out of ten Australians who now expect their super to be invested responsibly and ethically2.
There has been unprecedented growth in ethical and responsible investing, both locally and globally. In Australia, responsible investments have more than quadrupled over the past three years2.
At Vision Super we’re not surprised by this. In the last five years we created the “Sustainable Balanced” investment option when superannuation funds and other investors appeared to pay little regard to environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations when formulating their core investment portfolios.
Vision Super has recently announced we are divesting from direct holdings in companies with material investments in tobacco, tar sands and in thermal coal production. You can find more about our approach on our website here and here.
Sustainable investing is often used as a broad term encompassing a range of investment approaches. At its heart it’s about ensuring long-term success – of an investment, a company, returns – and the broader systems that support that investment.
While we take the time out to make sure our super is sustainably invested, it’s important to regularly assess whether we are doing everything we can to live responsibly too. Three of the top ten tips for living sustainably according to Sustainability Victoria are:
1. Reduce your food waste
The average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year. Food thrown into your garbage bin ends up in landfill and breaks down in a way that can create greenhouse gasses.
2. Go paper free
Reduce the paper clutter in your home and save some trees by going paper free. Almost everything from your phone bill to your credit card statement can be viewed online. Contact your banks, utility providers and other service providers to go paperless. You can also change your preference to “digital” when you log in online to change how you receive your Vision Super statements. And while you’re at it, switch to recycled toilet paper.
3. Use a reusable cup like a KeepCups
Australians consume more than an estimated 1.2 billion takeaway hot drink cups every year3. Sadly, these cups, which are made from virgin materials rather than recycled paper, cannot be put in your kerbside or workplace recycling bins. Take a cup with your or have your drink to stay.
Vision Super believes that a sustainable approach to investing and living are vital to the long-term protection of the planet and will have a positive impact on the value of our investments. We are committed to incorporating consideration of ESG issues into our decision making, and to ensuring that our own business is a responsible user of finite resources.
1 2018 Australian Energy Statistics, https://www.energy.gov.au/sites/default/files/australian_energy_update_2018.pdf
2 RIAA “From values to riches” November 2017 https://responsibleinvestment.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/From-values-to-riches-Charting-consumer-attitudes-and-demand-for-responsible-investing-in-Australia-2017.pdf