The P8 Group, a sustainability-focused consortium of the world’s largest pension funds, in which Australian super funds are represented by HESTA and the Australian Council of Super Investors (ACSI), will urge world leaders to battle climate change through the Poznan Communiqué this December.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) in Poznan follows the road map drawn by the 2007 Bali UNCCC, at which 170 companies called for global, legally binding rules to confront climate change. Michael O’Sullivan, president of ACSI, said the P8 funds will demand that governments “bite the bullet” and enshrine a tough climate framework at the Poznan meeting. P8, an allusion to the G8 group of advanced economies, was established by the University of Cambridge Program for Industry (CPI) and the Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Groups on Climate Change (CLG). It consists of 10 pension and sovereign funds, including the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme, Dutch fund ABP, US pension plans CalPERS, CalSTRS, and AP7 of Sweden. Collectively, they hold US$2 trillion in funds under management. ACSI’s O’Sullivan was invited to represent its Australian super fund members at the first P8 Summit in November 2007. Anne-Marie Corboy, chief executives officer of HESTA, a fund that has built numerous sustainability processes into its operations, also attended. However Rob Fowler, executive manager of investments and governance, has since taken on this responsibility and attended the second meeting last July. The group is formulating an action plan that is expected to outline the scale of investment needed in businesses producing renewable energy and carbon dioxide reduction technologies if countries are to meet global targets for emissions cuts. “The group is looking at it. The investment case is there but the appropriate vehicles are not,” Corboy said. “Most of these investments will be under the private equity banner – they need to be analysed to see if they are appropriate.” The Poznan UNCCC is seen as the half-way mark between Bali and the Copenhagen conference in December 2009, at which a binding global agreement on climate change is sought. Meanwhile, HESTA has made an appointment to its executive ranks by assigning former manager of member education and advice, Ann Drohan, to the new position of executive manager of people and systems, which includes human resources and business sustainability. Her old role has been split into two. Debby Blakey, who formerly led the corporate superannuation division at accountancy firm Moore Stephens, and has also worked as a business development manager with Non-Government Schools Super for three years, has become manager of member advice, while Neil Saxton, member education manager, has been promoted to executive member education manager. Former senior technical analyst with Aviva, Corey Jones, has joined the fund as compliance manager, replacing Catherine McMahon, who recently became compliance and risk manager at Cbus. There are now eight members within HESTA’s executive team.

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