REST super case to set climate risk precedent

  • In a world first, a 23 year old has filed legal action concerning the intersection of climate change risk and investments by an Australian industry superannuation fund.
  • Alleged breach by the $57 billion super fund of the fiduciary duties owed to members by failing to adequately consider climate change risks.
  • The case is likely to examine the standard of care required of superannuation fund trustees to identify and evaluate climate change as a financial investment risk.

This year, an important case — the first of its kind in the world — will be heard in the Federal Court of Australia involving the intersection of climate change risk and investments by an Australian superannuation fund.

It’s a case which may become a precedent that will affect trustees of super funds. But it will also concentrate the minds of company directors — and in particular, directors of trustee companies — on the growing chorus concern about climate change risk and their fiduciary responsibilities.

The case involves the Retail Employees Superannuation Trust (REST) with $57 billion under management and a member of the fund, Mark McVeigh, a 24-year-old University of Queensland ecology graduate from Brisbane.

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