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6 Steps to Put the Pinch on Fossil Fuel Companies

Written by:

Michael Bones

6 February 2019

#Activism#Divestment#Environment#Renewable Energy

Fossil fuels are destroying the environment and playing a huge part in accelerating climate change. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help bring an end to the fossil fuel industry. Follow these 6 steps and play your part in helping secure a greener future.

1. Divest from fossil fuels

Across the world, investors big and small are divesting from fossil fuels.

But what does divestment mean exactly?

Divestment is when you remove any investment ties you have with a particular industry for social, financial, personal or political reasons. Selling shares, stocks and refusing to financially support a particular business or industry are all considered forms of divestment. It's the opposite of investing, and the best way for people to come together and let the money do the talking.

Pressuring big investors

It's not just individuals who can divest. Institutions like universities, super funds, religious organisations and even businesses invest their own money. As a customer or member of these institutions, you can pressure organisations to divest from fossil fuels as well.

Divestment has been successful in the past with campaigns as diverse as stopping tobacco advertising and ending violence in Darfur. And now, you can be part of worldwide movement to divest away from fossil fuels.

Join the divestment movement and switch to Future Super today. It only takes 5 minutes.

Reinvesting is key

Divesting doesn't mean the end of your investment strategy. Talking your money out of fossil fuels is only only the beginning – that cash can now be reinvested in good things like renewables energy, healthcare and social infrastructure. That way, you're not only taking investment away from polluters, you're also building a better future.

Renewables are key to protecting our future. Technologies like solar and wind power, as well as improved battery technology, will help build a cleaner world, reducing emissions and helping curb the effects of climate change.

Not sure where to start with investments in sustainable energy industry? Future Super invest in a number of leading renewable and efficient energy providers including Tesla, SunPower and First Solar.

2. End your support for the Big 4 banks

If you truly want to bring an end to fossil fuels and their harmful effects on the environment, it's not just the fossil energy companies you need to divest from.

As this chart shows, Australia's largest banks are heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry.

Source: Market Forces

While banks are slowly catching onto the mountain of evidence that shows people want to move away from coal, that doesn't mean they deserve your money.

It can seem tough to move your banking to another institution. The big 4 have a large presence across most of Australia, and it can sometimes seem like an inconvenience to use a more ethical banking institution.

But with the rise of internet banking, tap and go, ATM fee cuts and other financial tech, the playing field is quickly being levelled. Compare bank exposure to fossil fuels with this Market Forces web tool and find one that's better for you and the environment.

3. Change to a clean energy provider

Divesting is just one of the ways you put the pinch on fossil fuel companies. Your day-to-day energy needs, be they still the home or in the office, can also help drive cleaner energy solutions and put fossil fuel companies on notice.

For example, according to Canstar Blue, energy provider Powershop is the 'greenest’ energy provider in Australia. They have:

  • An emissions intensity of 0

  • Own only renewable energy assets (including two wind farms through parent company Meridian)

  • Promotion of Government accredited GreenPower

Diamond Energy is another top performing Green Energy provider. Beyond providing sustainable energy to their customers, Diamond Energy also offers a unique product called GridCredits100 that provides eligible customers with benefits for exporting energy back to the grid during periods of high demand.

There's also a number of community energy providers like Enova popping up all around the country. These organisations are community owned and committed to 100% renewable power.

4. Steer clear of dirty energy providers

Is it any surprise that just like Australia's big banks are the worst fossil fuel offenders, Australia's largest energy providers are also the dirtiest?

  • EnergyAustralia is the second biggest polluter in Australia.

  • Origin Energy is the 8th largest polluter in Australia.

  • AGL’s solar incentives are considerably more expensive and the company does not support Renewable Energy Targets

These 3 companies combine for a whopping 75% market share of energy in Australia. If Australia is serious about divestment from coal, we need to support more clean energy providers.

5. Produce your own renewables with solar

Already, many Australians are sticking it to big coal by going solar. With advancements in solar and battery storage technologies and 'back into the grid’ incentives, there's never been a better time to embrace this green energy technology.

With energy prices soaring, adopting a photovoltaic system that transforms sunlight into power for your home not only reduces energy bills, it tells big coal that you're no longer going to participate in dirty energy.

There are also government incentives for both solar and wind power. For the consumer, there's never been a better time to 'get off the grid’ and start producing your own power.

6. Switch your super to an ethical fund

Renewables and green energy are the way of the future. You can secure your piece and help move the world into a cleaner, more sustainable way of doing business by moving your superannuation away from funds that support fossil fuels and into an ethical portfolio.

At Future Super we achieve positive, ethical investment by first eliminating any investment that doesn't meet our strict criteria.

From this short list, our analysts create portfolios that offer competitive performance and positive benefits to people and the planet through sustainable business models.

We invest in companies like:

  • NeztDC: Australian data centre providers, their Melbourne 1 centre is home to Australia's largest privately owned rooftop PV solar array.

  • Tesla: The leader in electric car development and renewable energy storage with Powerwall.

  • Solar Income Fund: Investing in solar farms across Australia.

  • Teachers Mutual Bank: Committed to being fossil fuel free, they were voted one of the world's most ethical companies four years in a row, from 2014-2017.

Play your part in ending fossil fuels

Banks, super funds and big businesses that support fossil fuels are ignoring the dire reality of climate change. Over 80% of current fossil fuel reserves must to stay in the ground in order to halt global warming at 2 degrees, yet thousands of companies are choosing to ignore the facts and are continuing to support companies that mine this dangerous resource.

Join Future Super today and help fight back against fossil fuels. By making the switch to an ethical fund, you not only ensure your retirement nest egg grows within a high-performing portfolio of investments, but you support a cleaner future to retire to. Make the switch today.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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