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Australian Retirement Trust targets 43% emission intensity reduction by 2030 across specified asset classes with launch of its Net Zero 2050 Roadmap

Media release - 22 September 2023

Australian Retirement Trust (ART), one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, has taken a further step in its commitment to a Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions investment portfolio by 2050 with the launch of its Net Zero 2050 Roadmap (Roadmap).

The release of the Fund’s Roadmap follows the commitment to a net zero greenhouse gas emissions investment portfolio by 2050, which was adopted shortly after the Fund’s merger in 2022.

ART’s Head of Sustainable Investments, Nicole Bradford, said that the Roadmap outlines how ART currently plans to transition its investment portfolio and accelerate actions towards a net zero greenhouse gas emissions investment portfolio by 2050.

“As one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, Australian Retirement Trust’s Net Zero 2050 Roadmap takes a long-term view that aims to be pragmatic, measured and actionable, to help manage climate risk while safe-guarding and growing the retirement savings of our members to help them retire well, with confidence,” Ms Bradford said.

“Our Roadmap is led by guiding principles which recognise, most importantly, Australian Retirement Trust’s legal duty to our members.

“A key principle of our Roadmap is that we cannot achieve a net zero greenhouse gas emissions investment portfolio by 2050 alone. We take seriously our role as an investor and have outlined activities which aim to support our emissions reduction targets by engaging with key stakeholders and encouraging investee companies to achieve real-world emission reductions towards a low carbon economy.

“Achieving a Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions investment portfolio by 2050 is going to take a combination of emissions reductions and capital for investments that support decarbonisation. Australian Retirement Trust has set a number of targets across a range of activities that will help guide us to our Net Zero 2050 goal,” said Ms Bradford.

ART’s Chief Investment Officer, Ian Patrick, said the Fund’s Roadmap put members at its centre in what it aims to achieve.

“At Australian Retirement Trust, our vision is to be Australia’s most chosen and trusted retirement partner. We aim to be a top-performing fund that delivers and advocates for what matters most to our more than 2.3 million members, as well as our people and the communities in which we operate,” Mr Patrick said.

“The risks posed by climate change are some of the most significant of our time. Our members put their trust in ART to look after their retirement outcomes, and our Net Zero 2050 Roadmap aims to ensure that we have the guardrails to help us deliver on this commitment through our investments.

“ART takes our responsibilities as a leading global investor and to our members seriously, and we’re proud to launch our Roadmap. Our roadmap acknowledges our part in the transition towards a net zero economy, and we believe the industry’s ongoing collaborative approach to help address this challenge is preferable to trying to address this individually.

“Harnessing capital as a collective, with a unified voice, may add to the pace and help achieve the sizeable shift required to solve some of the challenges we as investors – and our society more broadly – are facing,” said Mr Patrick.

Key elements of the roadmap include:

  • A target of a Net Zero greenhouse gas emission investment portfolio by 2050, aligned with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C. ART’s net zero target refers to the Scope 3 category 15 (investments) emissions*.
  • Interim targets of 43% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030 (against the FY21 baseline) (covering listed equities, infrastructure and real estate asset classes) in relation to scope 3 category 15 (investments) emissions.
  • A target of engaging with 100% of ‘priority companies’ within our listed equities portfolio by 2030 (‘priority companies’ are those investee companies that together contribute 70% of financed emissions). This target proposes to include formal objectives, timeframes and escalation measures for direct engagements. As at 30 June 2022, ART engaged with 74% of its priority companies in the listed equities portfolio either directly, through collaborative initiatives or through service providers.
  • A target of portfolio alignment with 50% of our ‘priority companies’ to be ‘net zero’ or ‘aligned’ to a net zero pathway within listed equities by 2030.
  • In future, proposed adoption of a target for investments in climate-related opportunities.