A few weeks ago I talked in several posts about how asking the right questions about your ‘big’ money is YOUR BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY to make a real difference to living sustainably.
And I set you some challenges.
And did you get any response?
So far this year I have written to 4 banks, 2 superannuation funds and 1 investment fund.
In March, I wrote to 3 major Australian banks asking them not to invest in any new coal-fired power stations.
In May, I wrote to a smaller bank and an investment fund to which I was considering moving my funds. I wanted to know whether it finances fossil fuel-focussed business, operations or projects.
I also wrote to a church investment fund with which I was considering putting a term deposit…to see if any of its surplus liquidity investments support fossil fuel-focussed businesses, operations or projects.
And I wrote on the Facebook wall of one of the major Australian banks. I praised their pledge to lend $1 billion to new small businesses…and suggested it would be even better if they lent $1 billion for renewable energy and stopped funding developments that exploit fossil fuels and destroy our climate and local environments.
In June and July, I wrote to my superannuation funds. Again. (It’s been a few years, so I thought I’d try again.)
So far I have received several different responses.
The banks all responded within 1-3 days. (Except to my Facebook comment…)
I guess it was pretty easy for them to flick out a response pre-written by their public relations staff. In varying levels of bureaucratese, of course!
But it seems very hard for the banks to actually answer my questions.
And answering my questions about the climate change risks and carbon-intensity of my retirement savings has proven too hard for my superannuation funds. Again. So far…
Because many financial institutions and retirement many funds try to ignore such questions…or delay response in the hope you will forget about it.
Just like the banks hope that a bureaucratic response will fob you off.
But we can’t let them get away with that can we?
That’s why we need to give them a nudge. To get a response to our questions.
And actually answering our questions might be a big deal for them.
That’s because most funds are not used to members writing to them asking them questions about their investments.
But the superannuation/retirement funds will eventually respond, in one form or another. That’s because they have a fiduciary duty to consider environmental, social and governance risks in making investment decisions.
It just might take a while. Maybe they have to get over the shock of having someone ask pointed questions first! 😉
That’s why persisting with questions and sending reminders is so important.
And the local church investment fund? It responded pretty quickly…and candidly.
So candidly, in fact, that it shows it has a way to go in terms of understanding environmental risks. So…onward I go!
Please keep me posted with your efforts at asking your financial institutions about how sustainably they are investing your money.
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!