The first super fund to stop investing in tobacco

Sydney, 3 March 2021: Active Super an industry leader in responsible investment, is marking 20 years since becoming the first Australian super fund to stop investing in tobacco.

In 2001 Active Super divested all of its holdings in tobacco, establishing the super fund as a pioneer in responsible investment.

The exclusion of tobacco in investment portfolios is considered a fundamental step when it comes to responsible investment and underscores Active Supers’ strong commitment towards achieving a tobacco-free world. 

Phil Stockwell, Active Super Chief Executive, says that along with the direct health effects on those who choose to smoke and the associated health costs to society, there are other factors to consider when it comes to the tobacco industry.

“There are the obvious detrimental impacts such as passive smoking and litter from discarded cigarettes, but there are also human rights issues associated with growing tobacco,” Mr Stockwell says. 

“Active Super was a pioneer when it came to excluding tobacco companies from its investment portfolios and we haven’t been investing in companies that manufacture tobacco or tobacco products for 20 years.

“Our investments meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and we measure our impact against this framework. ‘Good health and wellbeing’ is one of these goals and we believe being tobacco free helps achieve this.”

Active Super is one of more than 160 signatories to the Tobacco-Free Finance Pledge. The signatories, which together manage or advise on assets worth more than US$11 trillion, are committed to implement tobacco-free finance policies.

Moya Yip, Active Super Head of Responsible Investment, says: “Active Super is a proud supporter of tobacco-free portfolios and the fund was founded on responsible investment principles which remain at the core of what we do. “We invest responsibly and have done so effectively and successfully for many years. Responsible investment is in our DNA and we incorporate ESG and active ownership strategies into our investment approach. 

“We believe responsible investment underpins better fund performance,” Ms Yip says. Active Super is carbon neutral and in 2021 received the SuperRatings Infinity Award for a record seventh time. The accolade is a prestigious award, recognising the super fund most committed to environmental and ethical responsibilities.