‘Enlightened self interest’ was the topic of last month’s ASFA luncheon, a presentation by Louise O’Halloran of the Responsible Investment Association Australia. Louise has been personally trained by Al Gore to deliver his slide show on climate change, and the combination of dramatic graphs and Getty images – including a shocker of enslaved Brazilians mining pig iron – had the audience shivering, never mind that it’s supposed to be getting warmer.
But the most enlightening moment of “self-interest” came not during the presentation but in the following questioning period, with a pearler from host John Paul of Asset Super: “What I am most concerned about,” he told O’Halloran, “is that with all this talk about keeping the carbon footprint down and planes trying to lower their weight, why am I only allowed 15 kilos of carry-on luggage when a much heavier passenger, with much more ‘baggage’, is allowed to bring the same? When are they going to start weighing people to make it fair?”
At least we know that super fund executives are giving serious thought to all the implications of socially responsible investing: does this mean that luncheon schmoozing with BDMs will give way to fleeting catch-ups around the CBD jogging track or cycleway?