More Australians are embracing the idea of doing good while saving for retirement, but the devil, as always, is in the detail.
Especially for younger Australians, the idea of putting your super into something that makes the world better – or at least not actively worse – is an appealing pitch.
These funds promise either positive action to invest in areas such as clean energy, or to not invest in sectors such as the arms industry (or both), all while growing your retirement savings. A 2017 poll conducted by the Responsible Investment Association Australasia (RIAA) found 80% of Australians would be willing to switch funds so their money is invested according to their values, and that rises to 88% among those aged 18-34.
But putting the word “ethical” in the name of a fund does not in itself tell investors much.
Not everyone’s ethics are the same
Some funds will care about labour rights or gender parity, others have radically different priorities.
Christian Super will not invest in anything that provides intra-uterine devices, abortion medication, or stem cell research – in according with its ethics, which are disclosed on the RIAA site.
The cost of ethics
There is a lingering question around whether super is the most effective way to drive change.
In September, the head of Hostplus said divesting from coal was “a waste of time” – because those shares would just be bought by other people. Instead, he advocated putting direct pressure on governments.
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Super charge Your super
Super Rewards fuses ecommerce and tech with the goal of closing the 40% gender super gap between men and women. They are aiming to monetise the $2.2 trillion of unpaid work that women do. It’s cash rewards, for women, for super.
Launched in mid-October 2019
How does Super Rewards work?
You become a Super Rewards member. Then, when you shop, our retail partners will pay cash rewards into your super. It’s that easy. We’ve designed Super Rewards so that it blends seamlessly into your everyday life. Because that’s what you need. A solution that works effectively, easily, and in the background.
Super Rewards is targeted at women, but available to men and women.
Underfunded. Unsupported. Unaware.
•40% of single women enter retirement in poverty
•The fastest growing group of homeless people in Australia are women aged 55
•The value of the unpaid economy each year in Australia is $2.2 trillion, of which childcare alone is $345bn
•The cost of two children in full-time childcare is greater than the average woman’s salary
•The gender pay gap is still 21% by total remuneration, despite Equal Pay being legislated in 1969