Divestments

Vision Super only divests from products where we don’t believe engagement can reduce harm, or where we believe there is a long-term risk to our members’ money.

Vision Super only divests from products where we don’t believe engagement can reduce harm, or where we believe there is a long-term risk to our members’ money. In general, we believe corporate engagement is more effective in improving the way companies operate, reducing the environmental impact and increasing transparency. Vision Super is currently divested from:

Divestment illustration

Vision Super is currently partially divested from:

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1

Controversial weapons

Controversial weapons are ones that can have a severe impact on civilians, and are generally banned under international treaties. Land mines, cluster bombs and nuclear weapons are deemed to be particularly controversial because of their indiscriminate impacts on civilians and the disproportionate harm they cause in the case of land mines for many years after a conflict has ended.

Despite being widely considered to be controversial and often prohibited by international treaties, these weapons are still produced in some parts of the world. Vision Super avoids investing in any companies directly involved in the production or sale of these controversial weapons. We do not believe their harm can be reduced through engagement. 

2

Tobacco

According to the World Health Organisation, tobacco kills more than 8 million people every year globally and costs society an estimated USD $1.4 trillion annually in medical expenses. And according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), about 108 million children, or 70% of the children involved in child labour, are working in the agriculture sector, many of which are believed to be involved in the production of tobacco. Tobacco also directly harms workers – people involved in the harvesting of tobacco leaves are prone to acute nicotine poisoning, as they absorb nicotine through their skin while handling tobacco plants. This is particularly serious for children, who because of their smaller size are more at risk.

The deadly nature of this product and the human rights abuses common in this industry lead us to believe that the future profitability of tobacco faces material legislative, regulatory, and litigation risks. Tobacco also causes immense human suffering. That is why Vision Super has divested from tobacco producers and signed up to the tobacco free finance pledge. Taking the pledge has allowed Vision Super to become “verified tobacco free”, reinforcing our position as a values-based, superannuation fund.

For more information on the tobacco free finance pledge , visit  Tobacco free finance signatories

3

Tar/oil sands ​

Tar/oil sands are a combination of water, clay, sand and bitumen, which is a heavy, thick black oil. Tar sands can be mined to extract the oil-rich bitumen, which is then refined into oil. Tar sand deposits are mined because the bitumen in tar sands cannot be pumped from the ground in its natural state. Extracting tar/oil sands and converting it into a usable fuel is energy and water intensive. The process also creates toxic air, waste and water pollution.

Mining tar sands also generates a lot of dangerous carbon pollution because it is energy-intensive. The greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands extraction and processing are significantly larger than for conventional crude oil. Tar/oil sands mining encroaches on Indigenous lands and contaminates the environment and wildlife these communities depend on for their culture and way of life. Vision Super does not directly invest in tar/oil sands mining because we believe the harm it causes cannot be mitigated, and because we believe regulation will eventually catch up with the damage it does and therefore it will not be a good long-term investment. Other energy sources are much more economic and do not have the damaging effects of tar/oil sands. 

4

Thermal coal

Thermal coal is black coal used for electricity generation. Of all fossil fuels, coal emits the most carbon dioxide per unit of energy. There are numerous damaging environmental impacts of coal that occur through its mining, preparation, combustion, waste storage, and transport. Coal-fired power plants generate large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, which are the principal human cause of global warming and climate change. Air pollution from coal-fired power plants also includes sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and heavy metals, which lead to smog and acid rain. We need to be able to cool our houses without turning up the thermostat on the entire planet. Like with tar sands, we do not believe there is an economic case for investment, and believe the harm burning coal to make electricity generates cannot be mitigated. 

 

5

Oil and gas

Oil and natural gas are fossil fuels. Oil is refined to produce transport fuels, as well as oils used for heating, and the by-products from oil refining are used in the production of plastics and chemicals. Natural gas is used to supply power plants that generate electricity and is also used in the manufacturing and transport industries. Nearly all pesticides and many fertilisers are made from gas, oil or oil by-products. Most companies are factoring in phasing out these fossil fuels, recognising that we need to make significant progress in exiting these fossil fuels to avoid dangerous climate change. However, some companies have declared net zero targets by 2050, but are still intending to materially increase their production profiles over the 2020’s. We believe that during the transition to net zero carbon, there will be a large impact on exposed industries and companies, and there is a material risk that some oil and gas assets will become stranded assets and the asset values will have to be written down. Vision Super places limits on how much of the investment universe it is prepared to exclude in order to not risk constraining our range of potential investments. Within these limits Vision Super divests from oil and gas producers.

 

Divestments framework

Vision Super has a divestment framework that the Board uses to ensure we make decisions about whether to divest from particular products in a consistent and ethical way, and that doing so is in the long-term financial interests of our members.

As part of this framework, the Board will: 

  1. Clearly define what is being proposed for exclusion
  2. Assess materiality
  3. Define why the category of assets is being proposed for divestment. This will take into account the values of the Fund and community expectations
  4. Assess the practicality of excluding these investments from the Fund
  5. Determine under what circumstances the Fund would stop excluding a category of investments and what would need to change.

Restricted security list

Vision Super maintains a list of companies that we consider to be prohibited investments. The list is reviewed regularly by the Vision Super Climate Action team and Investments team. We use ESG Research Provider MSCI to identify companies that are involved in controversial weapons production and the manufacture of tobacco. Where appropriate we supplement this with our internal research and company engagement. Discretion as to whether or not to prohibit investment in companies or entities lies entirely with the Vision Super Board. The list is reviewed annually and where new companies are identified we seek to divest our holdings within a reasonable timeframe.

The current Restricted security list is available here

The Vision Super ESG policy is available here

Read about our other sustainability initiatives here

Read our divestments article

Frequently asked questions

We’re required to have Target Market Determinations under the Treasury Laws Amendment (Design and Distribution Obligations and Product Intervention Powers) Act 2019.

This is to make sure we’re keeping members at the centre of our approach to the design and distribution of our financial products.

This legislation requires financial services product issuers to design products that are appropriate for the consumers in the target market and consistent with their objectives, financial situation, and needs.

A Target Market Determination is a document which describes who a product is appropriate for (target market), and any conditions around how the product can be distributed to customers. 

It also describes the events or circumstances where we may need to review the Target Market Determination for a financial product.

Cash investment options are generally a combination of money in the bank and money invested for a short time in money market securities, such as bank term deposits and bank bills.

If you are risk averse or working to a short timeframe, then a Cash option that typically provides stable, low risk returns may be suitable for you. This type of investment option will protect the value of your superannuation, but the returns will often be low compared with other investment options.

The risk associated with cash investments is generally minimal, although the returns are also minimal. Cash can be a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty, and occasionally you may wish to preserve capital by allocating some of your super to cash.

We recommend that you obtain financial advice before making any decisions about investing in our Cash option.

To book an appointment with a Vision Super financial planner, either call us or complete our online appointment form:

Go to the form to book an appointment online >

Call our Contact Centre on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Advice fees may apply, which will be discussed with you before any work is undertaken.

We don’t charge switching fees, so there is no impact on your super account balance from switching between investment options. However, if you have the right investment risk profile and your investments are matched up to your risk profile, you shouldn’t be needing to make switches regularly.

From time to time you should review your risk profile, maybe when you are first starting out in the workforce, are in the middle of your working life, a few years away from retirement and/or going into retirement. Otherwise the investments you have in superannuation should be a ‘set and forget’ strategy where you ride the ups and downs of the investments over a longer period.

You can switch investment options for some, or all, of your account balance, future contributions, or both. You can also nominate which investment option you would like your withdrawals to be made from.

You can switch between investment options by logging into our website, or the Vision Super app, or by sending us a completed Investment choice form. You can also call us, on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Investment switches are processed based on the unit prices of the relevant investment options declared on the next business day after we receive your switching request, unless there is a delay with processing due to abnormal market conditions or system failure.

Frequent switching between investment options and trying to second-guess the market can be risky, particularly for high-risk investment options designed to be held in the long-term (6-12 years). You should switch only after a thorough review of your long-term investment strategy.

We recommend that you obtain financial advice before making any decisions about switching between investment options.

To book an appointment with a Vision Super financial planner, either call us or complete our online appointment form:

Go to the form to book an appointment online >

Call our Contact Centre on 1300 300 820 (Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5pm).

Advice fees may apply, which will be discussed with you before any work is undertaken. For full details on advice costs, please refer to the Vision Super Fees and Costs guide.

Growth assets are higher risk but offer a higher potential return compared to defensive assets. They aim to grow the capital that’s invested and provide some income. Defensive assets are lower-risk investments which aim to protect the capital invested while providing an income.

The classification of assets into either growth or defensive has the advantage of simplicity, but it also has limitations when used as an indicator of risk. The classification does not capture diversification, which can have a larger impact on reducing the overall portfolio risk when assets are combined.

Another issue is that different people may have different classifications for the same asset type because there are no regulations governing this area and no clear guidance by the regulators on a standardised growth/defensive split. Classifications of growth or defensive assets may also change over time depending on market conditions and pricing.

We believe that there needs to be greater consistency and transparency in how super funds arrive at their growth/defensive mixes. But in the absence of regulations, there are going to be differences in practice and opinion. To avoid any potential misunderstandings, Vision Super does not publish the growth/defensive split of our investment options.

Compound interest is the interest that is earned on money that was previously earned as interest.

For example, if you have an investment of $100 that pays interest of 5% every year, then in the first year you will be paid interest of $5 over the year (5% of $100).

What happens in the next year? That’s where compounding comes in. You will not only earn interest on your initial $100 deposit, you will also earn interest on the $5 interest that you earned in the first year.

That means you will earn $5.25 in the second next year because your account balance is now $105, even though you didn’t make any deposits. This may not seem like much of an increase, but the effects of compounding becomes  more dramatic over long periods of time. After 30 years, your initial $100 investment would be worth $432.19, and that year you would be paid $21.61 in interest.

Each year your interest earnings will accelerate even more due to compound interest. This cycle leads to interest and account balances going up at an increasing rate, which is sometimes known as exponential growth.

Of course, if you’re borrowing money, compounding works against you. You owe interest on the money you have borrowed, and so your loan balance can then increase over time, even if you don’t borrow any more money.

Already a Vision Super member?

The great news is you can now open your pension account online through the secure site.

Not a Vision Super member?

You’ll just need to open a Vision Personal account first and then you can transfer across to a Vision Super pension.