Good News And Bad News

Three months ago I wrote about how slowly the Steam locomotive wheelswheels of large, conservative organisations can turn, especially when responding to questions they’d rather not answer…or are just simply hard work for them.

And I mentioned how I had finally received a response from my main superannuation (retirement) fund.

Well, a short time ago I finally received a response from my other superannuation (retirement) fund.

It took a while.  Months.

First, when the fund started offering a ‘sustainable’ option, I asked questions about how it would work.  Things like:

  • How does the fund define ‘sustainable’?
  • How does it make decisions about investments for the ‘sustainable’ fund?
  • How is it handling climate change risks faced – and caused – by the fund’s portfolio?
  • What investments does it hold?

But that didn’t garner much.

Second, I tried the Market Forces or Are You The Vital Few approach that I have mentioned before.

Still nothing.

Third, I tried the direct approach again, chasing up my response to the Vital Few letter via e-mail.  That was met with a ‘holding response’.  You know the type of letter :

Thanks for your letter.  We’ve passed it on to the relevant area/It’s receiving attention and you should hear from us soon.

Fourth, another direct e-mail chasing up a response…but this time via the ‘Contact’ form on the fund’s website.  And I referred to a current news article that was relevant to my questions.

Fifth, I attended a meeting organised by the fund for members.

Now, in Australia, superannuation (retirement) funds  – unlike public companies – do not have to hold Annual General Meetings.  But one or two do, and I’m lucky that this particular fund is one of them.

So I went off…to find out:

  1. the answers to my questions about how the fund is managing my money to reduce its exposure and contribution to climate change risks while growing my funds
  2. why I hadn’t received a response to my queries.

And very interesting it was.

The meeting was packed with very keen members…and almost all of the questions were about sustainability!

We got quite a bit of information…which in turn generated new questions.

And when I got home, there was the response I had been waiting so many months for. 🙂

But, like the information proffered at the meeting, it raised as many questions as it answers.  And, of course, I am following them up.

And here’s why : so many organisations say they’re doing the right thing.  They may even say how they’re doing it…and perhaps even back that up by showing how well they rank in objectives compared with others.

But the problem is that almost all these organisations – and superannuation (retirement) funds in particular – do not put their nice words about sustainability into practice.  They don’t do things like:

  • screening out assets that are doing massive environmental damage
  • rewarding (with investment) those that working on making the world (and their business) much more environmentally (and economically) sustainable
  • asking hard questions of companies (through things like shareholder resolutions)
  • voting at shareholder meetings for resolutions and directors that will reduce the asset’s contribution to environmental damage and exposure to environmental and other consequential risks.

Unfortunately, that’s why we need to keep up the pressure on our superannuation (retirement) funds…even though are supposed to be acting in our best interests…because, at the moment, most of them aren’t. 🙁

Here’s a little video that explains why it’s important that superannuation (retirement) funds do reduce their exposure and contribution to climate change risks while growing our funds:

Have you tried asking your superannuation or retirement fund about being more sustainable?  Just leave your comments in the Reply box below …or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!