HESTA is the first Australian super fund to be certified by the Federal Department of Environment and Energy as Carbon Neutral for emissions produced from its business operations, a reflection of its long-term commitment to leadership in sustainability.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said the certification was fantastic.
“We’re passionate about championing long-term change for our members and want to lead by example in our approach to climate change, not only by being a responsible investor but also in how we advocate, and the action we take to reduce our environmental footprint,” Ms Blakey said.
“We understand our actions have a lasting effect, which is why over many years we’ve embedded carbon reduction initiatives across all of our business operations.”
Ms Blakey said HESTA has a focus through its corporate responsibility plan to be efficient, socially minded and achieve carbon neutrality in its operations.
“Sustainability is front-of-mind in everything we do as it’s a core part of how we create ongoing efficiencies that benefit members,” Ms Blakey said.
“Over time we have transitioned the way we operate to first and foremost look at ways to reduce our impact on the environment and then secondly analyse our direct and indirect emissions and work with our suppliers and partners to ensure they also operate sustainably,” Ms Blakey said.
“We want to create positive value for our members and the broader community while negating any negative impact on society and the environment.”
The fund has been measuring its carbon emissions since 2011 and has implemented numerous measures to reduce its footprint, including hybrid vehicles, waste separation, the use of technology, intelligent design of its offices and employee education.
HESTA carefully considers how it offsets its carbon footprint. It has purchased a limited number of certified offsets including in savanna burning projects that support Aboriginal employment in the Northern Kimberly region of Western Australia and tree planting initiatives in North-Western NSW and the Babinda rainforest.
“We want to lead through action, we’re doing this by focusing on the broader impact we can have on the world our members live in and retire into by aligning our investments and actions with seven strategic UN Sustainable Development Goals, including climate change,” Ms Blakey said.
The carbon neutral certification is granted by the Australian Government and is based on international standards and best practice carbon accounting. HESTA achieved the certification following a rigorous process including carbon accounting, independent auditing and public disclosure.
To attain the carbon neutral certification organisations must adhere to a strict criterion including calculating their carbon footprint, identifying opportunities to reduce emissions and offsetting remaining emissions by purchasing offset credits.
HESTA is at the forefront of the push for a low carbon future and is a member of the Investor Group on Climate Change and the Climate Action 100+ which push for improved climate change policy and action from governments and organisations around the globe.
HESTA is APHA's Diamond Sponsor