World News – US – History made as millennials win superannuation fund lawsuit for not doing enough on climate change


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A 25-year-old man from Brisbane successfully sued one of Australia’s largest super funds for its climate change management, forcing it to pledge net zero emissions for its investments here 2050

In 2018, Mark McVeigh filed a lawsuit against Rest, his pension fund, in Federal Court after she failed to provide him with information on how she was handling climate change risks

M McVeigh alleged that Rest violated the Superannuation Industry Act and the Corporations Act by failing to manage these risks – which could include falling fossil fuel companies in value or infrastructure damaged by extreme weather conditions

Super fund trustees are required by law to act with care, skill and diligence to act in the best interests of members – including managing risks material to its investment portfolio

In an 11am settlement reached today as the case adjourned, Rest agreed its directors have a duty to manage the financial risks of climate change

Since the case was settled out of court, the outcome does not carry the same weight as a legal precedent decided in court. But Mr. McVeigh, David Barnden, Head of Equity Generation Lawyers, said the case still sets an important precedent around the world

« This result is expected to represent a significant shift in the market’s willingness to tackle climate risk – a shift which should set a clear precedent for the industry in Australia, as well as for pension funds around the world, » said declared M Barnden

In a statement, Rest described the deal he made with Mr. McVeigh, and said: « The pensions sector is a cornerstone of the Australian economy – an economy which is exposed to the financial, physical and transitional impacts associated with climate change. »

In his press release, M Rest said that « climate change is a material, direct and current financial risk for the pension fund »

Rest went further and agreed to manage its investments so that they are responsible for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

He also agreed to immediately begin testing his investment strategies against various climate change scenarios, publicly disclose all of his holdings, and advocate for the companies he invests in to comply with the goals of the ‘Paris Agreement, which aims to stop global warming at 15C

This was the first time that an Australian pension fund was sued for not doing enough on climate change

« Today’s settlement gives me and the nearly 2 million Rest members reassurance that we need to know that our retirement savings will be invested responsibly in the face of the climate crisis, » said declared M McVeigh

« This is the first time that a large Australian superfund has agreed to settle a dispute over the material financial risk of climate change and what needs to be done to protect its members It is clear that the responsibility lies with the board members administration and that climate risk management cannot be delegated ”, he declared.

In his statement, Rest said, « Rest agrees with M McVeigh to continue to develop its management processes to address the financial risks of climate change on behalf of its members »

In another case, M Barnden is representing all young people around the world in a class action lawsuit against Australia’s Minister of the Environment, alleging that she failed in her duty of care to protect young people from climate change

M Barnden also represents Katta O’Donnell, 23, who is suing the Australian government for failing to disclose the risks climate change could have on government bonds

The news comes amid a wave of developments across the world, indicating increased action on climate change

Over the past month, China, Japan and South Korea have all announced targets to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of this century These three countries buy 75% of the thermal coal exported by Australia and nearly 60% of our exported gas

Australia’s third largest bank last week confirmed it would stop lending to thermal coal by 2030

In 2019, the ABC reported a leaked ANZ memo showing it would cut its thermal coal loans by around $ 700 billion by 2024

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AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

Retail employee retirement trust, finance, investment fund, pension, Australia, climate change

World news – United States – History made as a generation The case against the pension fund wins for not doing enough on climate change


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