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Green super funds: sustainable fund options in Australia

Alex Ritchie avatar
Alex Ritchie
- 3 min read
Green super funds: sustainable fund options in Australia

One of the simplest ways to support a cause is through your wallet, and this is also true of how you choose to invest your superannuation nest egg. 

If you’re looking for more ways you can make ethical financial choices and choose to support sustainable initiatives, it may be worth considering how your superannuation fund is investing your retirement nest egg.

A green superannuation fund, like an ethical super fund, may be one that supports sustainable investments in one of two ways:

  • Through ‘green’ investments, such as investing in net-zero initiatives, renewable energy companies and more.
  • By not investing in, or not having companies that invest in fossil fuels and other non-sustainable industries as customers.

Over four in five Australians expect that their money in super, banks and other investments is being invested responsibly and ethically. However, it is likely not the case as millions of Australians may have never investigated exactly how and where their superannuation fund makes its investment choices.  

So, who are the major green superannuation funds in Australia? And how do you tell if your current fund is making green investments? 

Leading green super funds in Australia

  1. Australian Ethical Balanced
  2. Aware Super Diversified Socially Responsible Investment
  3. Catholic Super Positive IMPACT
  4. Cruelty Free Super Growth
  5. Future Super Balanced Impact
  6. UniSuper Sustainable Balanced
  7. Verve Super Balanced

Source: MarketForces.org.au - alphabetical order 

How these funds are classified as ‘green’ 

According to MarketForces, when it comes to green super funds you may want to consider options that are not invested in companies that undermine climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

To help Australians determine which superannuation funds are considered green, it has categorised superannuation funds into three categories:

  • Whether it has a coal exclusion policy
  • Whether it has an oil and gas exclusion policy
  • Its exposure to the ‘Climate Wreckers Index’

MarketForces created the Climate Wreckers Index to help identify the biggest supporters of non-sustainable companies. This Index is made up of 180 publicly-listed global companies with the greatest plans to expand the scale of the fossil fuel industry. It then quantifies a super funds’ percentage of listed equities that support these companies.

Of the Australian superannuation funds, the providers above had both comprehensive coal, oil, and gas exclusion policies, and had a zero exposure to the Climate Wreckers Index.

What to consider when choosing a new super fund

If you’re considering making the switch to a new superannuation fund, it’s worthwhile comparing other key factors to ensure you’re getting the best option for your retirement goals. This includes:

  • Investment performance – The performance of the super fund will be the driving factor influencing your super balance over the life of your career. Keep in mind that past performance isn't necessarily an indicator of future performance. However, it’s still worthwhile taking note of, especially if your fund has thrived in challenging economic times.  
  • Fees – As there is no way to predict the future performance of a fund, it’s worthwhile looking at what you can tangibly calculate: the fees. Some of the fees you may be charged by your super fund include administration fees, investment fees, switching fees and insurance premiums.
  • Insurance options – Your superannuation fund may offer you life insurance, total and permanent disability insurance, and income protection insurance. If these are important to you, consider if your preferred super fund can meet these needs.
  • Customer service - Some funds may offer services such as financial advice. Keep in mind that these services typically come with an additional cost.

Compare super funds

Product database updated 23 Jul, 2024

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Peter Terlato before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.