I switched my super in 5 minutes
Why it’s the most sustainable change I’ve made all year
In partnership with Future Super
By Jenny Ringland
You might be wondering what an article about superannuation is doing on a platform dedicated to small, sustainable change. After all, making our super work for us is usually at the top of a very long life admin list, filed away as one of those jobs that we’ll get to at some stage, in say the next six months or so.
Until recently I hadn’t thought about the impact my choice of super fund has on the environment. Many super funds invest in oil, tobacco and large manufacturing companies that aren’t transparent about their practices. Which means if you invest your super with these funds, you are supporting the growth of these industries and companies.
Switching your super, as it turns out, is one of the most powerful changes you can make in reducing your personal emissions. In fact, according to Future Super if 34 people with an average super balance of $30,000 switch to Future Super, that’s $1 million of super that was previously exposed to fossil fuel industries, diverted to climate solutions investment.
How easy is that? In the five minutes it takes to switch super funds, it’s possible to have a bigger impact on saving the environment, than, say, remembering to use a keep cup every day.
Making the switch
When it comes to superannuation I am a statistic. Up until recently I still had earnings scattered in multiple funds thanks to casual jobs worked during university. After having my first baby I decided consolidating my super would be part of my year long admin list. Eventually after baby number three I finally called my fund, which was the default fund at my very first journalism job and with their help put all my super in one place. But I didn’t ever consider what that default fund was using my contribution for.
Armed with the knowledge that by this one-off action of switching super funds I would be lowering my carbon footprint, I went online to Future Super where I’m met with calls to action like “Your super has the power to combat climate change’’ and “Future Super helps move your super out of fossil fuels and into climate solutions to make that vision for your future a reality’’. Making the connection between fossil fuels and super funds is truly like a light bulb moment.
I fill out the form – the first page is just personal details like email and phone number. Then there is the option of three investment options – there is one which promises zero fossil fuels with the highest investment in renewable energy projects, the second is zero fossil fuels, plus investments in renewable energy and social impact projects and the third is zero fossil fuels but no impact targets. Just divestment. I go for the first option – and get the prompt for my tax file number, which is trickier to locate than I would like, and then I’m done, I’ve successfully made the most impactful change I will make all year.