How Australians are investing in war and weapons through their super (unless you’re a Verve member)
Right now, the conflict in Ukraine may feel very far away but in the last few weeks, it’s become clear that many everyday Australians may be inadvertently fuelling this war through their personal super balances.
How? Well, you may be shocked to know that some of Australia’s largest super funds are currently invested in fossil fuel companies that are either directly or indirectly linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime. This means the profits from these companies can be used to fund the Russian military, their weapons, and their war crimes against innocent Ukrainians.
On top of that, many Australians are also investing in weapon companies, including military weapons that are also likely to be linked to the conflict.
It’s not exactly how we imagine using our retirement savings, is it?
How exactly Australian super funds are investing in Russia and the Putin regime
Market Forces has named and shamed numerous financial institutions, including superannuation funds, that are investing Aussie dollars into Russian oil and gas companies. Fossil fuels are the backbone of Russia’s economy, and the Putin government owns a significant proportion of the stocks. Most notably, the state owns half of the stakes in a gas company called Gazprom. As if the contribution these companies are making to irreversible climate change wasn’t enough, the cash profits are now fuelling a war.
Let’s be real: investments in Russia were negligent even prior to the country’s invasion into Ukraine. Russia has made little effort to comply with the Paris Agreement and continuously shrugs off any responsibilities to cutting its contribution to climate change. And at Verve in 2022, we believe there is no place for investing in fossil fuels full stop.
How Verve avoids investments in any war or weapons
Verve has never – and will never – invest in fossil fuels, which means we’re not invested in many of Russia’s largest companies by default. Oil and gas, mining, defense, and machine-building make up the majority of Russia’s leading companies. We’re also not invested in any of the companies listed on the Russian stock exchange, or in companies that are founded, led, or majority-owned by any Russians on the sanction list.
We don’t just avoid investments that are linked to fossil fuels, we actively avoid investing in weapons, too. This includes any industry that is involved in the funding, production, or transportation of weapons.
Some of the companies that we are invested in do undertake business in Russia, however since the war broke out, and since sanctions have been applied, many of these companies are pulling out of the country. For instance, we are invested in Netflix, and Netflix has recently announced its suspension of services in Russia. Crucially, our investors continue to monitor how the companies we are invested in engage with Russia and will engage with anyone who isn’t acting inline with our values.
Why this is particularly important to us as a super fund tailored for women
Women and children are the majority of war refugees. As outlined in this Unite for Sight report, war is found to increase the threat of sexual violence against women, while cases of domestic violence are found to spike in post-war environments.
What to do if you’re concerned about your investments fuelling Russia’s war on Ukraine
First thing’s first: you have every right to know where your money is being invested. Whether you’re concerned about investments through your bank, super, or share portfolio, you are within your rights to know exactly where your money is going. A list of investments should be available on each company’s website but if in doubt, contact them directly.
You can check a full list of Verve Super investments here.
You may also want to seek out ways to divert your dollars towards businesses that are actively donating to help Ukrainian refugees or communities that have been displaced within the country.
Here are a couple of organisations that are assisting with the emergency in Ukraine that you could also donate to:
If you’re a Verve Super member and have any questions about your investments, you can chat with our team today.
This blog is published by Verve Superannuation Pty Ltd (ABN 65 628 675 169, AFS Representative No. 001268903), which is a Corporate Authorised Representative of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956, AFSL 238184), as the Sub-Promoter of Verve Super.
Verve Superannuation Pty Ltd and True Oak Investments Ltd are not licensed to provide personal financial advice. The information contained in this blog, including any financial guidance, is general in nature. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to ensure that your financial decisions are suited to your unique circumstances.
You should also read the Product Disclosure Statement, Additional Information Booklet, Insurance Guide, Target Market Determination and Financial Services Guide before making a decision to acquire, hold or continue to hold an interest in Verve Super. When considering financial returns, past performance is not indicative of future performance.