Super Fund backs coal while the world rushes to dump it

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund has been increasing its investment in the world’s dirtiest coal companies over the last three years despite large declines in their value as the world dumps coal to save the climate, the Green Party said today.

New analysis from the Parliamentary Library shows that the Superannuation Fund (the Fund) has increased the value of its investments in the world’s twenty dirtiest† coal companies from $29 million at June 30, 2011 to $36 million at June 30, 2014. The Fund has increased its exposure to these companies while the average (unweighted) stock price of these companies has declined by 31 percent.

“While the world moves to get out of coal to save the climate, the Superannuation Fund is moving in the opposite direction, exposing the Fund to a greater investment in coal, even as the value of the shares declines,” said Green Party finance spokesperson Dr Russel Norman.

“Overall, the Fund made a return of 39 percent from June 2011 to June 2014, which was a great result for the people of New Zealand. But the Fund’s dirtiest coal company shares, on average, lost 31 percent of their value over this period. As the world finally moves on climate change, coal companies are in even more trouble.

“The Fund is not just investing in any old coal company; it has increased its investments in the twenty dirtiest coal companies in the world over the last three years, companies that are amongst the biggest individual contributors to climate change.

“The Fund currently has $140 million of coal investments in total – a tiny fraction of its total investments now valued at $29 billion – so getting out of coal would be painless for the Fund but hugely valuable for the planet.”

The Norwegian Parliament instructed its $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell its stakes in companies that generate more than 30 percent of their output or revenues from coal-related activities last week.

“Norway began divesting from coal companies earlier this year citing ‘elevated levels of risk to [their] investments in the long term’. They join a rapidly growing list of funds, banks, cities, universities, and churches that have divested from coal for ethical and financial reasons since 2011,” said Dr Norman.

“Money released from divestment can be reinvested in the rapidly growing renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, helping to hasten the transition of our economy to a smart, low-carbon future.”

†As ranked by the Carbon Underground 200

Parliamentary Library analysis.

Note: Over this same time period, June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2014, the Dow Jones Coal Index has declined 66 percent while the Clean Tech Index has increased 40 percent.

Green Party divestment backgrounder:
Making money from a climate catastrophe: The case for divesting from fossil fuels

Latest Energy and Resources Announcements

Story

Labour’s energy policy shows progress, but more action needed to protect the planet

The Green Party says Labour’s energy policy is a step in the right direction, but the Greens would go further and faster to meaningfully tackle the...
Read More

Story

Stronger Green voice needed next term to stop more mining on or under conservation land

The Green Party is strongly opposed to MBIE’s decision to grant mining permits under public conservation land in the Coromandel.
Read More

Story

Low-emissions options for heavy transport a step closer

Getting low-emission trucks on the road is a step closer with investment in infrastructure to support hydrogen vehicles, the Energy and Resources M...
Read More

Clean Energy Plan

The Green Party has always been clear that climate change needs to be tackled now, and we’ve done more in the last three years than the past 30 yea...
Read More

2020

Clean energy

We know we need to go further and faster on climate action, which is why we’re proposing a plan to kick-start the transition to end the use of foss...
READ MORE

Policy

Energy Policy

A just transition to a sustainable economy means using affordable, clean fuels and creating new jobs in clean energy industries. Greening the energ...
See More

Latest Superannuation Announcements

Policy

Prohibition of Investment of Public Funds in Fossil Fuels Bill

This Member’s Bill sets out the Green Party’s plan to move Aotearoa New Zealand towards a safe climate future, by divesting all public funds from f...
See More

Story

Super Fund tilts towards clean energy

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund’s commitment to invest NZ$540 million in clean energy is its clearest signal yet that they are taking climate c...
Read More

Story

Greens call on Super Fund to divest from fossil fuels

The Green Party today called on the New Zealand Superannuation Fund (the Fund) to divest from fossil fuels, starting immediately with coal
Read More

Latest Cimate change Announcements

Policy

Prohibition of Investment of Public Funds in Fossil Fuels Bill

This Member’s Bill sets out the Green Party’s plan to move Aotearoa New Zealand towards a safe climate future, by divesting all public funds from f...
See More

Story

Flicking the switch on a clean powered public service

Our Government’s programme to upgrade infrastructure and modernise the economy will help more communities to be part of the solution to climate cha...
Read More

Story

New resource for schools to increase awareness and understanding of climate change

A new Ministry of Education resource available for schools in 2020 will increase awareness and understanding of climate change, Education Minister ...
Read More

Story

Leading architect of Zero Carbon Bill honoured

It’s great to see ordinary New Zealanders doing extraordinary things, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw today said in response to the news tha...
Read More